Elizabeth History

Elizabeth History

The Village of Elizabeth is located in the center of the rolling hill country of northwestern Illinois.  Lead mining attracted early white settlers to the area, a development which resulted in the Black Hawk War of 1832, when native Sac and Fox warriors attacked the Apple River Fort. 

Legend has it that three women, all named Elizabeth, stood shoulder-to-shoulder with their husbands, successfully defending the fort.  In their honor, what had been known as the Apple River Settlement was re-named Elizabeth.

The village today is home to five museums, numerous gift shops, the largest antique mall in northwestern Illinois, and the Apple River Fort State Historic Site.

Explore the 1876 Banwarth House, filled with period furnishings.  Take a sentimental journey back in time at the Chicago Great Western Railway Depot Museum, focusing on the railroads of northwestern Illinois and the now-abandoned Winston Tunnel (at the time of its construction in 1888, the longest in the state of Illinois).

Discover local history at the Elizabeth History Museum.  Better understand the Black Hawk War at the Apple River Fort Interpretive Center.  (Elizabeth is the site of the last Native American attack east of the Mississippi River.)  Broaden your knowledge of the universe at the Earth & Space Science Museum with astronomy programs and displays of fossils and meteorites.

Elizabeth has been described as the "undiscovered treasure" of northwestern Illinois.

by Gerald Speer, Museum Curator
Elizabeth Historical Society

2010 Governor's Home Town award
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