Experience Henry County Heritage
Day One you will take a walk in the footsteps of Henry County’s Swedish Immigrants. The journey begins in Andover with a stop to see educational museums that highlight the first community in Henry County. You will then travel to Bishop Hill to experience this national historic landmark through its preserved museums. While you’re here take time to explore the artisan and antique shops and Swedish delicacies at the village restaurants.
Day One-Morning -
Andover Historical Museum & Grounds- Built in 1861 by Eric Berglof, the home of August Rehnstom served as a temporary haven for Swedich Immigrants in the 1860′s. The home now contains memorabilia of early life in Andover. It also houses a historic marker denotin the first post office in Henry Count, which is located in Andover Colony, May of 1837.
Jenny Lind Chapel- The Chapel is named after the world famous opera.
star, Jenny Lind, the “Swedish Nightingale”, who contributed to its construction in 1850. The Jenny Lind Chapel is a memorial to Swedish settlers who came to America in 1849 to found a branch of the Swedish Lutheran Church under the leadership of Pastor Lars Paul Esbjorn. He Later became the first president of Augustana college.
American Woman’s League Chapter House- Built by the American Womem’s League in 1911, it is one of the 38 homes in 16 states and is one of the nine built in the State of Illinois. the Chapter houses were built as a Refuge for abused women, became social, educational, and cultural centers for their members and were meant to enable women to acquire some business skills.
Day One-Afternoon -
Bishop Hill 1854 Steeple Building- A 14 minute video presentation is shown highlighting the Colony descendants who speak about the Orginal Colony, its reasons for coming into existence, dissolution and growing up in Colony life.
Bishop Hill Museum - The remarkable record of Bishop Hill Colony life painted by Olof Krans is exhibited in this structure. Krans, a nationally recognized folks artist, painted his memories of growing up during Bishop Hill’s communal era. Bishop Hill State Historic Site’s Archives are also located in this building.
1848 Colony Church- One of the oldest buildings in Bishop Hill, a gambrel roofed building with two stories and a brick basement. The church has a total of 20 rooms used for family living space they all open on center corridors. The Sanctuary is located on the second floor and the pews are made wit native walnut and turned maple spindles. Services were conducted with women and children seating on the east side and men on the west.
1852 Bjorklund Hotel- This historic building received its first addition in 1857 and transformed the structure into a U-shape featuring a barroom and kitchen on the first floor and hotel keeper quarter above. in 1861, a third story with hotel rooms, ballroom and tower were added. The hotel showcases many fine decorative details: spatter painted walls, painted wood graining on trim, doors, and floors. Many orginal pieces of furniture adorn the rooms and hallways.
Step-On Guide will join the bus and provide historical discussion on the use of the Colony buildings, period technology and economic climate surrounding the Civil War time period. They will also share many unknown facts about the Colony.
After touring the historic sites, visitors will ride east on Main Street and the Colony history lesson continues and concludes at the Bishop Hill Street (north/south st.) and Main. Visitors will be dropped off at the 1853 Colony Store where they will be able to continue shopping for a favorite collectible item or delicious baked good treat hot from the oven.
Architectural Delight Design Tour
Day Two enjoy a scenic architectural tour in Henry County. In the morning you will travel to various locations around Kewanee. You will visit Robert & Marcella Richards Museum, Woodland Palace where you will experience green before its time, and then you will be off to Ryan’s Round Barn. The afternoon part of the tour will take you to Cambridge to visit Heritage Village Historical Park. You will end your day touring Geneseo’s Historical Museum. The visit will include witnessing the “underground hiding hole” and a visit to the Lincoln Connection Room. Enjoy your visit!!
Day Two-Morning -
Robert & Marcella Richards Museum- Located in the historic 1868 Butterwick Building the museum is home to the Kewanee Historical Society. The museum features displays on the industries that built Kewanee. View the “Lincold lantern” that helped Abraham Lincoln find his way from Toulon to Kewanee in 1858.
Woodland Palace at Historic Francis Park- This unique house was built in 1889 by Fred Francis, a Leonardo da Vinci-like man. A windmill was the sole source of power for the house, in the solarium the air changed every 60 seconds and automatic doors were installed to keep pests and the insects out. (A nominal fee is charged for a tour.)
Ryan’s Round Barn- Built in 1910 to house Dr. Laurence P. Tyan’s 50-head herd of Black Angus Show Cattle. It is located at Johnson Sauk Trail State Recreation Area, where it remains in excellent condition today. It has a farm museum on the main floor with many unusual features.
Day Two-Afternoon -
Heritage Village Historical Park- The park includes a display of several historical buildings in a park-like setting. This park currently houses the 1843 Courthouse and the 1860s Sheriff’s Horse Barn. The most recent addition is the 1910 Train Depot Station. The park is being used for educational purposes for future generations of Cambridge. It is maintained by members of the Historical Society. It is located across from Memorial Park.
Geneseo Historical Museum- Built in 1855, this 27-room Italianate mansion is now home to the museum. Geneseoans have had a dedicated interest in preserving Geneseo’s history since March 1972 when the museum was first established.
After being housed for 25 years in rental property, the Geneseo Historical Association purchased a home of its own November 1, 1996 and opened it to public June, 1998.