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The famous Route 66, one of the first highways in the U.S., passed through Illinois. The highway, which stretched from Chicago to Santa Monica, California, was a popular route for tourists and truckers and played an important role in American culture and history.
White County is located in the southeastern part of Illinois and has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Shawnee and Wyandot. In the late 1700s, the first European settlers began to arrive, primarily of English and Scottish descent.

The county was officially established in 1815 and was named after Captain Leonard White, a prominent early settler. During its early years, agriculture played a central role in the county's economy, with corn, wheat, and livestock being the main commodities. The county also saw the establishment of various towns and villages, including Carmi, which became the county seat.

In the mid-1800s, the discovery of coal in White County transformed the region. This led to a population boom as coal miners flocked to the area in search of work. Coal mining became a major industry, and the county's economy was heavily dependent on it for many years.

Throughout the 20th century, White County experienced economic ups and downs. The decline of the coal industry in the 1950s and 1960s resulted in a significant population decrease. However, the county has since diversified its economy, with agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, and tourism becoming important sectors.

Today, White County is known for its scenic beauty, including the Shawnee National Forest, and its rich history. It continues to be a primarily rural area, with a population that appreciates its small-town charm and natural surroundings.

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

  • 1818 - White County was established by the Illinois General Assembly.
  • 1839 - The county seat was moved from Carmi to New Haven.
  • 1839 - The New Haven Academy was founded to provide education in the county.
  • 1861-1865 - White County residents served in the American Civil War.
  • 1875 - The county seat was relocated back to Carmi.
  • 1881 - The Southern Illinois Normal College (later Southern Illinois University) was established in Carbondale.
  • 1925 - The First National Bank building in Carmi was built and still stands today as a historic landmark.
  • 1937 - The Edward F. Dunnebacke Fish and Wildlife Area was established in the county.
  • 1953 - The Beulah Land overpass was constructed and served as a landmark on Route 1.
  • 1988 - The last remaining covered bridge in the county, the Mill Shoals Bridge, was destroyed by a tornado.