History of Annawan
The Village of Annawan, a community of approximately 900 residents, is located at the intersections of Illinois Rt. 6 and Illinois Rt. 78 and adjacent to Interstate 80.
Daniel Morton came to the area in 1846 and built the first log cabin. Gilbert Morton was the first child born here that year to Daniel and his wife Sarah. The following year a schoolhouse was built on the Morton property. The land the Morton's found was a swampy marsh to the north with higher ground to the south. Mud Creek meandered through the area and Green River paralleled the current Interstate 80 to the north.
In 1850 a survey of the right-of-way for the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad was made through Henry County. The selected route passed through the area inhabited by the Morton's and a few fellow pioneer families. In 1853, when the railroad was almost complete, Charles Atkinson and James Grant, owners of the land adjoining the railroad, plotted the Village of Annawan. The Village of Annawan, which some say was named after a Winnebago Indian Chief, was born.
At the turn of the twentieth century, a new channel of Green River was developed, drainage ditches were completed and tile installed. This allowed the marsh north of Annawan to become productive farmland. The village now was surrounded with some of the most fertile soil in Henry County. In 1953 the town was largely dependent on the farm community. The average family farm consisted of 160 to 240 acres. Farmers were diversified, producing high yielding crops of corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, and hay. In addition, most farmers owned a herd of stock cows, milked dairy cows and raised hogs and chickens.
As the railroad was the basis for the birth of Annawan, the major interstate highway system has perpetuated its growth during the past four decades. In 1963, the seven-mile stretch of Interstate 80 between Atkinson and Annawan was opened for traffic. In 1964, Governor Kerner dedicated the final section of interstate between Annawan and Ladd. With the opening of the interstate, construction near the interchange began. In 1975, Route 78 near the south edge of Annawan to the interstate was widened into a four-lane highway. With the inclusion of Route 6, the town was becoming the "Chief Crossroads of Illinois" as proclaimed by the Annawan Booster Club.
Today there is a renewed interest in development near Interstate 80. A Holiday Inn Express, a convention-banquet facility, a new gas station and a retirement village have been built. A proposed ethanol plant is in the works and should be in production by 2007.
Annawan has made great progress over the past fifty years. As the railroad and interstate have been instrumental in our development, education and technology will play important roles in our future. Annawan Unit District 226 is considered one of the best in Western Illinois. The community's focus on growth and development are helping to ensure the Town of Annawan is well prepared for the future.
- Excerpts from the Remember When Sesquicentennial 1853-2003 book
Mayors Of Annawan
FH Slater - James Bice - SC Carpenter - WS Knowlton - Elmer Fitzkee - John Lamont - JP Paine
Dr. W H Webster - Dr Robert White - Seth Moo - CH Mason - OW Nowell - George Dow - Hugh White
Dr. J.M. Young - Edward Doubler - Charles Verdick - Robert Pont - Arthur Quaife - Raymond Bollengier
Henry Nowers - Wilbur Hodgett - Dennis DeSplinter