The Illinois State Capitol building, located in Springfield, is home to the world's largest collection of stained glass windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany. The windows were installed in the Capitol between 1885 and 1917 and depict scenes from Illinois history.
McLean County, Illinois, situated in the central part of the state, has a rich history dating back to the early 19th century. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Kickapoo and Pottawatomi. In the early 1800s, European settlers began to arrive, establishing the first permanent settlements in the county.

In 1830, McLean County was officially established and named in honor of Judge John McLean, a U.S. Supreme Court justice. As the county developed, Bloomington, now the county seat, emerged as a prominent center of commerce and culture. The town's strategic location along the Illinois Central Railroad further contributed to its growth.

During the mid-1800s, McLean County experienced rapid development, with agriculture playing a crucial role in its economy. The invention of the grain reaper by Cyrus McCormick revolutionized farming practices, and McLean County became known as the "Prairie State's Breadbasket." The county's fertile soil allowed for the cultivation of corn, wheat, soybeans, and other crops, contributing to its prosperity.

In the 20th century, McLean County continued to evolve, embracing technological advancements and diversifying its economy. The county became home to several major manufacturing plants, including those of the Caterpillar Inc., further fueling its economic growth. Today, McLean County is a thriving community with a strong agricultural base, a vibrant downtown area, and a diverse economy that includes industries such as healthcare, education, and information technology.

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

  • 1830: McLean County is established and named after John McLean, a prominent Illinois pioneer and U.S. Senator.
  • 1831: The first settlers arrive in the area, mainly farmers from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia.
  • 1837: Bloomington is chosen as the county seat.
  • 1841: The first courthouse is built in Bloomington.
  • 1847: The Illinois Central Railroad reaches Bloomington, boosting the local economy and population.
  • 1861-1865: McLean County sends soldiers to fight in the American Civil War.
  • 1909: McLean County's first automobile is registered.
  • 1935: The first radio station, WJBC, begins broadcasting in Bloomington.
  • 1948: Illinois State University (then called Illinois State Normal University) moves to Normal, becoming a major presence in the county.
  • 1990: The population of McLean County surpasses 150,000.