National Register Listings in
Putnam County, Illinois

Illinois is the birthplace of several famous people, including former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Enrico Fermi, and writer Ernest Hemingway.
Putnam County, located in north-central Illinois, has a rich history that dates back to the early 19th century. It was established on January 25, 1825, and named after Israel Putnam, a Revolutionary War general. The region was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Potawatomi and Ottawa.

The first European settlers arrived in the area in the 1820s, primarily attracted by its fertile soil and strategic location along the Illinois River. They established small farming communities, with agriculture becoming the backbone of the local economy. The development of steamboat transportation along the river brought further growth and prosperity to the county.

During the mid-19th century, Putnam County experienced a significant influx of immigrants, especially from Ireland and Germany. These new settlers, along with local residents, played a crucial role in establishing a number of townships and villages, including Hennepin, Granville, and Magnolia. The construction of railroads, such as the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad, further stimulated economic growth and brought improved connectivity to the county.

In the early 20th century, Putnam County faced numerous challenges, including the Great Depression and declining agricultural productivity. However, the county managed to weather these difficult times and adapt to changing circumstances. Today, Putnam County remains a primarily rural and agricultural area, known for its scenic beauty, small-town charm, and close-knit community spirit.

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

  • 1825 - Putnam County is established
  • 1830 - County seat is established in Hennepin
  • 1832 - Black Hawk War occurs, affecting the county
  • 1837 - County's first post office is established
  • 1844 - Completion of the Illinois & Michigan Canal boosts county's economy
  • 1848 - Putnam County's first newspaper, "The Hennepin Gazette," is published
  • 1858 - County's first courthouse is completed
  • 1861 - Civil War begins, with many county residents joining the Union Army
  • 1875 - Second county courthouse is completed
  • 1908 - Illinois River floods, causing significant damage to the county
  • 1929 - Great Depression begins, impacting the county's economy
  • 1942 - Construction of the Marshall Training Base brings economic opportunities
  • 1977 - Construction of the Illinois Waterway Lock and Dam system is completed
  • 1993 - Major flooding occurs along the Illinois River
  • 2012 - County celebrates its 187th anniversary