The first televised presidential debate in history was held in Illinois in 1960 between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. The debate was held at the studios of CBS in Chicago and was watched by an estimated 70 million people.
Johnson County, Illinois has a rich history that spans centuries. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, such as the Shawnee and the Illinois. European settlement began in the early 1800s, with the establishment of small farming communities. The county was officially organized in 1812 and was named after a prominent political figure, Richard M. Johnson.

In the mid-19th century, Johnson County experienced a boom in population and economic growth, thanks to the construction of railroads that connected the area to major cities. The county became a hub for trade and agriculture, with corn and wheat being the primary crops. The prosperity brought about an increase in infrastructure development, including the construction of schools, churches, and businesses.

The late 19th and early 20th century saw significant changes in Johnson County, as the focus shifted from agriculture to coal mining. The county had rich coal reserves, which attracted mining companies and brought in a wave of immigrants, particularly from Eastern Europe. The coal industry boomed, providing jobs and contributing to the local economy. However, this period also witnessed labor strife and strikes as mine workers sought better conditions and wages.

In recent years, Johnson County has diversified its economy with the growth of industries such as manufacturing and healthcare. The county continues to preserve its historical roots and landmarks, such as the Johnson County Courthouse and various historic sites. Today, Johnson County is a close-knit community that celebrates its heritage while adapting to the changing times.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Johnson County, Illinois.

  • 1812 - Johnson County is established as part of the Illinois Territory.
  • 1818 - Illinois becomes a state and Johnson County is officially included within its boundaries.
  • 1834 - Vienna is designated as the county seat of Johnson County.
  • 1840 - The population of Johnson County reaches 3,673.
  • 1854 - The Illinois Central Railroad is completed, enhancing transportation and opening up new opportunities for the county.
  • 1865 - The Civil War ends, bringing relief to Johnson County which saw many of its residents enlist in the Union Army.
  • 1918 - The Great Flu Pandemic hits Johnson County, causing significant loss of life.
  • 1925 - The Ohio River flood devastates Johnson County, causing extensive damage to homes, businesses, and infrastructure.
  • 1930 - Construction of the Ferne Clyffe State Park begins, providing a recreational area for locals and visitors.
  • 1940 - The population of Johnson County reaches its peak at 9,857.
  • 2009 - The historic Tunnel Hill State Trail is established, attracting outdoor enthusiasts and boosting tourism in the county.
  • 2018 - Johnson County celebrates its bicentennial anniversary since its establishment.