Abraham Lincoln, one of the most famous presidents in U.S. history, spent much of his early political career in Illinois. He served in the Illinois state legislature and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois in 1846.
Peoria County, Illinois has a rich history that dates back to the Native American tribes that once inhabited the region. The area was first explored by Europeans in the late 17th century, with French explorers navigating the Illinois River and establishing trade relationships with the local tribes. In the early 19th century, the United States government began to establish settlements in the area, leading to the founding of Peoria County in 1825.

During the mid-19th century, Peoria County experienced rapid growth and development, thanks in part to its strategic location along the Illinois River. The arrival of the railroad in the 1850s further fueled its growth, making Peoria County an important transportation hub for the region. This period saw the establishment of industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, and distilleries, which contributed to the county's economic prosperity.

By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Peoria County had become a prominent industrial center. The county's economy continued to thrive, primarily due to the distilling, brewing, and manufacturing industries. The county's largest employer at the time was the whiskey producer Hiram Walker & Sons, which played a significant role in shaping Peoria County's identity.

In the late 20th century, Peoria County faced economic challenges as the manufacturing industry declined across the United States. However, the county has since diversified its economy and focused on sectors such as healthcare, education, and technology. Today, Peoria County remains a vibrant and diverse community, with a mix of urban and rural areas, and a population that continues to embrace its rich history while striving for a prosperous future.

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

  • 1690 - French explorers first documented the presence of Native American tribes in the area.
  • 1813 - Fort Clark, a military post, was built by the United States Army.
  • 1825 - Peoria County was established as part of the Illinois Territory.
  • 1831 - The city of Peoria became the county seat.
  • 1844 - The Galena and Chicago Union Railroad reached Peoria, stimulating economic growth.
  • 1850 - The population of Peoria County exceeded 19,000.
  • 1860 - Peoria became the largest city in Illinois, outside of Chicago.
  • 1920 - The Ku Klux Klan gained influence in Peoria County.
  • 1933 - The Caterpillar Tractor Company was founded in Peoria, becoming a major employer.
  • 1947 - The Illinois River flooded, causing significant damage to Peoria and surrounding areas.
  • 1979 - The Peoria Riverfront Museum opened, showcasing art, science, and history.
  • 2010 - The population of Peoria County reached approximately 186,000.