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Family Fun

Historical Architecture

Knox County Country Roads

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2016 First Place Winner
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"Wolf Covered Bridge"
Taken By Melissa Peterson


Information For:
Brooke McClaskey
PO Box 421
Elmwood, IL


The Town Square will be the center of activity throughout the weekends of the Knox County Scenic Drive Weekends


Town Square

Second Weekend Event:

Historical Information:


Lorado Taft

Sculptor Taft“Lorado Taft was a sculptor, writer, & educator born in Elmwood, Il on April 29, 1860. His father was a professor of geology at the Illinois Industrial University (later renamed the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). After being homeschooled by his parents, Taft earned his bachelor's degree (1879) and master's degree (1880) at Illinois Industrial University.

After his master's degree, he left for Paris to study sculpture, attending the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts from 1880 to 1883, where he studied with, Jean-Marie Bonnassieux and Jules Thomas.

His record there was outstanding; he was cited as top man in his studio and twice exhibited at the Salon.
Upon returning to the United States in 1886, Taft settled in Chicago. He taught at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago until 1929. In addition to work in clay and plaster, Taft taught his students marble carving, and had them work on group projects. He also lectured at the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois.


Museum Lincoln Pioneer

His greatest works include The Fountain of the Great Lakes (1913), installed at the Art Institute, and Fountain of Time (1922), which is located at the west end of the Midway Plaisance.

Fountain of Time


Phelps Barn

Phelps Barn Cross

“Built in 1845 on the farm of Elmwood’s founder, William J. Phelps, this barn was a stop on the Underground Railroad.

When a carved-out cross in the gable was backlit at night, it provided a signal to runaway slaves that it was safe to seek refuge or continue on their journey. The cross is still lighted today.”

Information from http://www.peoriamagazines.com/ibi/2016/feb/buildings-significance


The Palace Theatre

Palace Theatre


The Palace Theater in downtown Elmwood, IL is a historical landmark. Not in the ‘here’s-our-certificate-of-authenticity’ sense of the word. But in the minds of those who grew up here, who came of age here… it most certainly IS a landmark.
The theater was built by Lafayette Dalton around 1913 and ‘re-opened’ in 1914 under the management of M.H. Phares. The theater is still showing films today and is run by a committee of residents from Elmwood.

Information provided by http://elmwoodpalace.com/history/





Morrison & Mary Wiley Library


 “The origins of the library in Elmwood are difficult to trace:  only fragmentary references appear in available records.  Apparently the idea began in the 1850's and 1860's when several women's organizations set up an informal exchange among themselves, contributing their own books as a revolving collection.  It has been impossible to learn the names of those responsible for the original plan or those who first conceived expanding the program for public benefit.

The Elmwood Chronicle stated on April 19, 1867:  The Elmwood Library will be found in the office of the Chronicle and books may be obtained at all hours from 7 in the morning to 6 at night.


The library is completely funded by cash rent from the farm land left to the library in the name of Morrison & Mary Wiley.  The library doesn't receive tax money.”

The library frequently hosts reading programs & free activities for all ages.
For this information and more on the library please visit http://www.elmwoodpubliclibrary.org/history.html


Elmwood High School

Old High School

Our original High School still stands and is currently being used as apartments. It was in use from 1872-1920 when the new building was school was built.

Attention Vendors:
Space Available in the Town Square
call (309)265-1897 or Click Here to send an email.

Other Historical Buildings in Elmwood


Gabriel & Graham - 1896

Neptune Fire Station

Neptune Fire Station Bell

Coffee Mural

The America's Cup Coffee brand originated in Peoria, Illinois in 1868. The name was inspired by the America's Cup trophy that sailors competed for. The brand was owned by the Oakford & Fahnestock Company. In 1958, the A. S. Oxford Company sold the brand. The brand is still in the marketplace. This photograph was taken in 2013 by Earl Leatherberry.”


Elm Haven

EH Gardens

Elm Haven

Elm Haven was once a Railway Hospital. Today it has been repurposed into a retirement facility.