Staunton - Community Timeline

By nwlsn
  • Founding

    John Wood Arrives in the area (blacksmith from Virginia)
  • First Mill Built

    Richard Chapman builds first mill in Staunton (saves trips to St. Louis)
  • First Schoolhouse built

    First schoolhouse built (William Wilcox taught for $2 a student)
  • First General Store Opens

    Stephen Hicks opens first general store
  • First Plat in Village

    David Hendershot plats the first section of a village
  • First Physican Arrives

    Luke Coons becomes first physician in Staunton
  • First Post Office Opens

    First Post Office (William Bonner is first Postmaster) Important addition because it brought in people and trade. Staunton goes from a subsistent farm community to a trade-based one.
  • Period: to

    German immigrants arrive (first family in 1846)

    Mostly from Germany in the mid-1800’s (first German family in 1846)
  • Lutheran Church established

    Lutheran Church established in 1847 (first school building in 1881, though some instruction took place before that time)
  • Staunton becomes Incorporated Village

    Staunton becomes an incorporated village
    Unincorporated village from 1830-1859
  • Catholic church established

    Catholic Church established in 1867 (first school building in 1904, though some instruction took place before that time)
  • First coal shaft opens

    Henry Voge opens first coal mine in 1869 (“The Gin Shaft”)
  • Period: to

    Coal mining characterized city for nearly a centuary

    Coal Mining characterized the city for nearly a century
    Two large mounds of slag that rise from prairie farmland on the outskirts of Staunton tell much about the history and the present status of the small city. The size of the piles indicates many years of deep shaft coal production, while the weeded erosions indicate the tipples have been idle for years. Mining started here shortly before the Civil War. It ended shortly before World War II. When the shafts were operating, they provided most of
  • Railroad Arrives

    Railroad arrives! (drastic change on the community and the nation)
  • Period: to

    Irish immigration

    Irish immigration in the 1870’s
  • Royal Gem Mill built

    Royal Gem Mill built
    Tallest building ever erected here. Won a gold medal for “Jack Frost Flower” at Paris World Exposition (1875)
  • Staunton Star Times begins publication

    Staunton Star Times begins publication
  • Lutheran schoo built

    Lutheran Church established in 1847 (first school building in 1881, though some instruction took place before that time)
  • Staunton becomes a city

    Staunton becomes a city
    Achieved a population of 2209 in 1890 (sufficient enough to apply for “City” status)
    F.E. Godfrey serves as first mayor
  • Staunton High School begun

  • Period: to

    Staunton begings to resemble current city

    Early 1900’s: Staunton starts to look like what we recognize today
    Staunton continued to grow in the twentieth century. Many of the buildings that make up what is now downtown Staunton were built around the turn of the century. Note: A few years ago, the community began a series of ornaments depicting historic buildings in Staunton. The first and oldest building in this series was the Gauer Building.
  • Period: to

    Italian immigration

    Italian immigration in the early 1900’s
  • Illinois Traction Systems passes through Staunton

    Illinois Traction System passes through Staunton
  • Catholic school started

    Catholic Church established in 1867 (first school building in 1904, though some instruction took place before that time)
  • Staunton achieves population of 5,049

    Staunton achieves a population of 5049 (biggest city in Macoupin County at that time). Note: Although these numbers prove that Staunton was prospering, some had predicted that it would be three times this size by 1912. A real estate ad taken from the Staunton Star-Times on October 14, 1907 urges citizens to buy land quickly, as “Staunton will become a city of 15,000 people in five years’ time and every lot in McKinley Addition will double or triple in value”. (source 2) Although a good marketin
  • WW I - Superpatriotism

    World War I Observers generally recognized that during the spring and summer of 1917 the American people, at least in the Midwest, were not fervent supporters of the war. And as the United States rushed towards open hostility, even President Woodrow Wilson remarked on the “apparent apathy in the Middle West”. (Source 4)
    In Staunton, the area’s first organized opposition to the war emerged, as well as some of the first riots in support of U.S. intervention. During two evenings in early 1918, the
  • Staunton Public Library established

    Staunton Public Library established (first Librarian was Bess Kirkwood)
  • Labor Temple built

    The Labor Temple was built in 1914 by the Local Miners Union. The front doors of this fine structure opened onto an attractive lobby with a wide stairway to the second floor on the right and a ticket office centered between two entrances to a large auditorium which had a sloping floor, aisles between three sections of comfortable seats and in front a large, well-arranged stage. This auditorium had the first air conditioning system to be found anywhere within thirty-five miles of Staunton. From T
  • Staunton Local 755 becomes largest in state

    Staunton Local 755 becomes largest coal miners’ union in the state
  • Staunton Country Club established

    Staunton Country Club established
  • Staunton Volunteer Fire Department established

    Staunton Volunteer Fire Department established
  • Winning Football Team

    Staunton football team goes 10-0 (including state record 233-0 victory over Gillespie)
  • Staunton high school built

    Staunton High School built
  • Staunton's population reaches all-time high of 6,600

    Staunton’s population (unofficially) reaches 6600 (all-time high)
  • Lake Staunton built

    Lake Staunton (“The Rezzy”) built for $230,000
  • Period: to

    WPA Projects, Armed Forces and Commuter workforce

    Great Depression and World War II WPA projects
    Library Mural “Going to Work”. Note: This mural, along with several others in Illinois, was the subject of a documentary film about art done under federal sponsorship during the Great Depression. The film, which was tentatively titled Silver Lining, was sponsored by the Illinois Bicentennial Commission and the Illinois Arts Council. (Source 5)
    Many joined the Armed Forces
    Staunton becomes a commuter work force (as it is today)
  • Hospital Assn organized

    Community Memorial Hospital Association organized (building dedicated in 1951)
  • Last mine closes

    Last mine closes in 1951
  • Last passenger train comes through Staunton

    Illinois Traction System runs its last passenger train through Staunton
  • I-55 built (demise of Route 66)

    Interstate 55 built through Staunton (led to the decline of Route 66)
  • Period: to

    Stauton celebrates 100th Anniversary

    Staunton celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of Village incorporation
    The Centennial Celebration lasted from June 28 through July 4, 1959, and included games, a parade, and concessions. One interesting happening was the “Judging of the Beards”, or the “Brothers of the Brush” contest, in which members of the community grew long beards to show respect and to honor those of past generations. (source 1) Note: My Grandpa actually ran this contest, and ironically, since he was a barber, it probabl
  • City Complex built

    City Complex built (Library, City Clerk’s Office, Police Station)
  • Staunton celebrates 100th year of charter

    Staunton celebrates the one hundredth anniversary of City Charter (less lavish than 1959 celebration)
  • Staunton wins BB title

    Staunton wins IHSA Class A basketball title
  • Livingston schools annexed to Staunton

    Livingston schools are annexed into the Staunton School District
  • Staunton celebrates Sesquicentennial

    Staunton celebrates its Sesquicentennial (150 years)
  • Mayoral view of community

    Staunton Today by Mayor John Willmon As our logo states, “Staunton – What small towns used to be” remains true. We are a caring, loving, helpful and the friendliest town, we believe, in America. Our people are hard working, industrious and compassionate. We are there for each other in times of need. Volunteerism is alive and strong in Staunton. The citizens of Staunton are its greatest commodity. We have blended our past with our future. We have a vision of being the small town with a bright fu