National Register Listing in
Stark County, Illinois

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The Illinois State Fair, which takes place annually in Springfield, is one of the oldest state fairs in the United States. The fair was first held in 1853 and features a variety of agricultural displays, carnival rides, and live entertainment.
Stark County, located in central Illinois, has a rich and storied history. The area was initially inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Kickapoo and Potawatomi. The first European settlers arrived in the early 19th century, with Jonathan Taylor founding the first permanent settlement in 1828. The county was officially established in 1839 and named after General John Stark, a hero of the American Revolutionary War.

In its early years, Stark County was primarily an agricultural community, with farmers taking advantage of the fertile soil and natural resources. The county experienced growth and development as more settlers arrived, constructing homes, churches, schools, and businesses. The rise of the railroads in the late 19th century further stimulated progress in the county, connecting Stark County to larger cities and economic centers.

The 20th century brought various changes to Stark County. Improved transportation, such as the construction of paved roads, allowed for easier movement of goods and people. The Great Depression in the 1930s brought economic challenges to the area, but with the support of federal programs, the county slowly recovered. Stark County played its part during World War II, with its residents contributing to the war effort both on the home front and in the military.

Today, Stark County remains primarily a rural county with a small population. Agriculture remains a significant industry, with farmers continuing to cultivate crops and raise livestock. The county also attracts visitors with its natural attractions, such as wildlife areas and parks. Despite its small size and relatively low population, Stark County holds a proud history and continues to thrive as part of the great state of Illinois.

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

  • 1825 - Stark County is established.
  • 1831 - The first permanent settlers arrive in Stark County.
  • 1836 - The first schoolhouse is built in the county.
  • 1841 - The county's first newspaper, the Stark County News, is established.
  • 1855 - The county's first courthouse is constructed in Toulon.
  • 1861-1865 - Stark County residents actively participate in the American Civil War.
  • 1871 - The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad reaches Stark County, fostering economic growth.
  • 1900 - The population of Stark County reaches a peak at over 18,000 residents.
  • 1930 - The Great Depression greatly affects the county's economy.
  • 1942-1945 - Many soldiers from Stark County serve in World War II.
  • 1963 - The Starved Rock State Park is created, partly in Stark County.
  • 2000 - The population of Stark County declines to about 6,000 residents.
  • 2019 - Stark County celebrates its 194th anniversary.