The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 was one of the most devastating fires in U.S. history. The fire destroyed much of the city, including over 17,000 buildings and left more than 100,000 people homeless. The fire started in a barn owned by Patrick and Catherine O'Leary, but the cause of the fire is still debated to this day.
Vermilion County, Illinois has a rich and diverse history dating back to its establishment in 1826. The area was once inhabited by indigenous tribes, including the Kickapoo, Piankashaw, and Wea. The first European settlers arrived in the late 1700s, attracted by the fertile lands and abundant waterways.

The county's location along the Wabash River played a significant role in its early development. The river served as a crucial transportation route, enabling trade and communication with neighboring communities. Additionally, the presence of coal and mineral-rich lands led to the rapid growth of the mining industry in the mid-19th century. This further fueled the county's economic expansion and attracted settlers from around the country.

The county witnessed its fair share of historical events during the Civil War era. Many residents enlisted in the Union Army, contributing to the war effort. Vermilion County also served as a stop on the Underground Railroad, with several stations providing shelter and assistance to escaped slaves seeking freedom.

As the 20th century began, Vermilion County experienced significant industrial growth. The area became known for its manufacturing and agriculture sectors, which produced a variety of goods, including farm equipment, textiles, and food products. The county's largest city, Danville, became a hub for manufacturing and commerce, contributing to the region's economic prosperity.

Today, Vermilion County remains an important agricultural and industrial center in Illinois. The area's historical significance, natural beauty, and vibrant community continue to attract visitors and residents alike, making it a place with a proud heritage and promising future.

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

  • 1819 - Vermilion County is established by the Illinois General Assembly.
  • 1826 - The first permanent settlement, known as Franklin, is established.
  • 1830 - Danville is founded and becomes the county seat.
  • 1851 - Completion of the Wabash and Erie Canal boosts economic development in the county.
  • 1861-1865 - Vermilion County contributes to the Union war effort during the American Civil War.
  • 1870s - The coal mining industry experiences rapid growth in Vermilion County.
  • 1942-1945 - World War II leads to increased industrial production and employment in the county.
  • 1972 - The Vermilion County Museum is established to preserve local history.
  • 1990s - The decline of coal mining impacts the economy of Vermilion County.
  • 2000 - The Kickapoo State Park is opened, providing recreational opportunities for residents and visitors.
  • Present - Vermilion County continues to focus on diversifying its economy and promoting tourism.