National Register Listings in
Mason County, Illinois

The world's first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Building, was built in Chicago in 1884. It was only 10 stories tall, but it was the first building to use a steel frame to support its weight, which allowed it to be much taller than traditional buildings made of brick or stone.
Mason County, Illinois, has a rich and fascinating history that stretches back to its early days of settlement in the 1820s. The county was named after George Mason, one of the framers of the United States Constitution, and it was officially established in 1841.

In its early years, Mason County saw a steady influx of settlers, primarily from Kentucky and Virginia, who were attracted by the fertile land and opportunities for farming. The county's location along the Illinois River also made it an important transportation hub, as steamboats began to ply its waters, opening up trade and commerce.

During the mid-19th century, Mason County witnessed a significant boom in its agricultural sector. The region became known for its production of corn, wheat, and livestock, which helped fuel its economic growth. The county seat, Havana, grew rapidly and became a center for trade and industry, with numerous businesses and mills being established.

Throughout its history, Mason County has also faced challenges and setbacks. The devastating Great Flood of 1913 caused widespread damage and loss of life in the county, leading to efforts to strengthen its infrastructure and flood control measures. Additionally, the decline of the agricultural industry and shifts in economic patterns have posed challenges to the county's prosperity in recent decades.

Today, Mason County continues to be an integral part of Illinois' agricultural heritage, with farming remaining an important industry. Its rich history, charming small towns, and scenic landscapes make it an attractive destination for visitors interested in exploring the state's past.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Mason County, Illinois.

  • 1821: Mason County is established as a county in Illinois.
  • 1835: The first settlers arrive in the county, largely of Scotch-Irish descent.
  • 1836: Havana is founded as the county seat.
  • 1839: The Illinois River is opened for steamboat traffic, bringing economic growth to the county.
  • 1852: The first railroad line, the Toledo, Peoria and Warsaw Railway, is completed in the county.
  • 1861-1865: Mason County residents participate in the American Civil War, with many joining the Union Army.
  • 1871: The Great Chicago Fire leads to an influx of residents from the city to the county.
  • 1893: The Columbian Exposition in Chicago boosts tourism and economic development in Mason County.
  • 1925: The Mason County Courthouse is completed, replacing the old courthouse that was destroyed by fire.
  • 1937: The Ohio River floods, causing significant damage to the county.
  • 1942: The construction of the Illinois River Lock and Dam system begins, providing flood control and navigation improvements.
  • 1950s: The county experiences a decline in population due to the shift from agriculture to industrialization.
  • 1989: The demolition of the old Illinois River bridge and the completion of a new bridge connect Mason County to Fulton County.
  • 2000s: The county focuses on tourism and recreational activities to stimulate economic growth.