Palestine is a great place to work & live!
Get info on the Rodeo, Wine & Art Fest and other events held throughout the year.
Visit these area businesses.
Visit these area businesses.

Local industries & demographics.
Health-Care & Emegency Medical Services
Palestine Community Unit School District #3 News & Info including Sports & Academics. New School Construction updates.

Historical information and Heritage Trail



It is said that French explorer Jean LaMotte first gazed upon this region in 1678. He gave it the name Palestine, as it reminded him of the biblical land of milk and honey.

Chartered in 1811, Palestine is one of the oldest towns in the state of Illinois. Over the years many interesting events have shaped the course of Palestine history. The community will celebrate its Bicentennial throughout 2011.

Early Native Americans indigenous to the area were Mound Builders. Several burial mound sites left by these early Americans are still visible today.

The local Indian tribes traded with and were friendly toward French settlers who arrived in the late 1700s. It was not until the unsettled times of the War of 1812 that Indian hostilities began and the building of Fort LaMotte, and later Fort Foot were necessary. Both forts afforded the growing number of settlers protection from renegade Indian bands.

Palestine was selected as the seat of the newly formed Crawford County in 1818. Soon a courthouse, jail and land grant office were constructed.

The U.S. Land Office was an effective drawing card for the area, bringing people from far and wide to Palestine. Probably the most notable visitor was 21-year old Abraham Lincoln. He and his family spent several days in Palestine while enroute to the Springfield area. It is notable that Lincoln made some of his earliest political contacts in Palestine, many whom he remained friends with throughout his career.

The following year Robert Kinzie purchased 102.29 acres of land for $127.68 through Palestine's land office. That acreage, originally acquired for $1.25 an acre is today the nucleus of the city of Chicago.

The village of Palestine quickly became a profitable, as well as fashionable place to live and work, sporting a busy river port, a grain mill, unique entertainment venues and a variety of shops and services.

In the 1870s trains became a common site, bringing increased traffic and trade to the area. Soon Palestine possessed a depot, roundhouse and a busy train yard.

Palestine was home to early aviation pioneers the Flying Rousch Brothers, as well as Amy (Auntie) Gogin, the first female to own and operate a business in Illinois. Another famed local was Elizabeth Reed, who after poisoning her husband in 1844, set fire to the Palestine jail and later became the first woman ever executed and the only woman ever hung in Illinois.

- Related Links -
Palestine Preservation Projects Society
Fort LaMotte
IL GenWeb Palestine History
Central Wabash Archaeology Chapter

These links will take the viewer to websites outside
and we are not responsible for their content.

Collection of Vintage Palestine Photos
Vintage Palestine Photos

Pioneer City Heritage Trail
Pioneer City Heritage Trail
a hiking, cycling, and/or auto trail

View Historical Markers
Historical Markers

Fife Opera House

Fort LaMotte

Palestine's Historic Main Street is home to one of the largest concentration of "Meskers" in the state with 15 storefronts featuring the famous Mesker facades.
Visit for more information.


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