The World's Columbian Exposition, also known as the Chicago World's Fair, was held in Chicago in 1893. The fair was held to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World, and it attracted over 27 million visitors from around the world.

Franklin County, Illinois has a rich history dating back to the early 1800s. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, such as the Shawnee, who utilized the land for hunting and gathering. In the early 1800s, pioneers began to settle in the region, attracted by the fertile soil and abundant natural resources. The county was established on January 2, 1818, and named after Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.

During the 19th century, Franklin County experienced significant growth and development. Coal was discovered in the area, which led to the establishment of numerous coal mines. The coal industry played a vital role in the county's economy, attracting many immigrants from Europe and contributing to the population boom. The county also became an important railway hub, connecting various cities and facilitating the transportation of coal and other goods.

The early 20th century brought both opportunities and challenges for Franklin County. The coal industry continued to thrive, with numerous mining operations employing a large portion of the local workforce. However, the Great Depression in the 1930s hit the county hard, causing economic hardship for many residents. The county persevered through these difficult times and experienced a resurgence after World War II, as industry and manufacturing began to diversify, offering new job opportunities.

In recent years, Franklin County has focused on diversifying its economy to reduce reliance on coal. Agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, and tourism have emerged as important sectors. The county is also known for its beautiful natural landscapes, including Rend Lake, which attracts visitors for boating, fishing, and other recreational activities. Overall, Franklin County continues to evolve, maintaining a balance between preserving its rich history and embracing new opportunities for growth and prosperity.

  • 1818 - Franklin County is established
  • 1831 - The first post office, called Brownington, is established
  • 1839 - The county seat is moved from Brownington to Benton
  • 1861-1865 - Franklin County actively supports the Union during the Civil War
  • 1888 - The Illinois Central Railroad is completed in the county
  • 1925 - Franklin County experiences a major coal mining boom
  • 1934 - The Zeigler Coal Company Massacre occurs, resulting in multiple deaths
  • 1967 - The Rend Lake Reservoir is completed, providing a source of water and recreation
  • 2009 - The Franklin County Courthouse is added to the National Register of Historic Places