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Information For:
Yates City
Janet Windish

Yates City was established in 1857,
but settlers started arriving as early as 1834.


Gazebo Park

Communty Center

Yates City Community Center

Shopping at it's best during the Knox County Scenic Drive
Find Unique and Handcrafted items as well as delicious food

Harvest Home Park







Harvest Home Park (See Sidebar)



Depot Past Depot Now

Yates City Depot Museum

Once a thriving center of transportation, now a museum.

From the past:

"In the matter of the railroad depot, Yates City is head and shoulders above Timwood. They have a neat, commodious and comfortable passenger building and it is a real pleasure to be obliged to loaf in the waiting room for an hour or two."

Hotel Hotel Now

American Hotel Built in 1906 by the Keitlingers

Their Grand Opening was huge hosting many people that came in by train. They had a full buffet and an Orchestra from Peoria.

Hazel Bantz Tompkins remembers that Mr. Kightlinger ran the American Hotel across the street from the depot. It was a busy place with ten to twelve trains entering Yates City daily. The sales persons regularly stayed there, renting a horse and buggy from the Livery Stable. They would then travel through the countryside, visiting the stores in Ebnwood, Farmington, Williamsfield, etc. and return to the Yates City Hotel for lodging.



Location of 1st Murder in Knox County, Illinois

The location of the brutal murder of 29 year old Mrs. Adelia M. Mathews on August 5th, 1872. Following a trail and a bizarre series of events over a period of seven months John Marion Osborne was the first and only hanging in Knox County on March 14th, 1873.


Yates City Bank

Yates City Bank

The Bank of Yates City was established in 1871.  The Bank served individuals, local small businesses, and agriculture in this area.  This same commitment has remained strong through the many ensuing years. 

A competing second bank was formed as a locally owned private bank in 1889.  It was known as the Peoples Bank.  In 1906, the two banks merged retaining the name Bank of Yates City and continuing to operate as a private bank.  The owners of both banks were pioneers in this community. 

We are very proud of the Bank of Yates City and the fact that it has withstood the test of time. It has survived the great national panic of this nation in 1871, as well as the Great Depression of the 1930's and through it all, has continued to provide excellent services.  These services no doubt have been improved by the experience gained through the economic trials of the last 140 years. It is one of the oldest continuing banks in central Illinois today still operating as a locally owned independent bank. 


Yates City Cemetary


A walk through the cemetery gives you a sense of history of this small town.

Attention Vendors:
Space Available at the Community Center for the Scenic Drive Weekend. Janet Windish at
309-299-6915 Email:janeric@mymctc.net





Harvest Home Celebration

The first Harvest Home was held in 1886 and A.H. McKeighan was the man who started it. In those days travel was by horse and buggy, and it was a big picnic. Everyone brought their lunch in a picnic basket, and the first thing they did on arriving to town was to find a nice grassy spot and spread out a tablecloth to spread the food out on. And the livery stable did a big business feeding and caring for all the horses!

In later years the hotels and restaurants fed the people and when even that proved inadequate, the churches began serving dinners and suppers.

In 1905 there was a crowd of an estimated 12,000. The CB&Q Railroad put on special cars to the trains that came at eight o’clock in the morning, one from Peoria and one from Canton. Two more trains arrived from Galesburg about noon. The band would meet the trains and play all the way uptown to the park (the one with the Gazebo), where the Harvest Home was held.  Before that, it had been in the place where the schoolhouse now is, but when the school was built all the trees had been cut down, so there was no longer any shade there.

The park on Main Street was always crowded, as the space was limited. It was voted on in 1936, the year before the 50th Harvest Home that if enough money was made T THE Harvest Home to do something definite with the profits. There was enough money that the land was acquired to be the Harvest Home Park, and that was how it came into existence.

The first merry-go-round, or swing, as it was called, was a four seated swing seat propelled by a horse who traveled in a circle around a pole. Late on there was a steam Merry-Go-Round which did a big business. The tickets cost 5 cents a ride and one year took in $400.00 a great sum for the time.

There were always good programs, games for the children, and other amusements , including fireworks. Fireworks always pleased the crowd.  Balloon ascensions was often one of the big afternoon attractions. There was one where a man was shot from a cannon. At another a man or woman preformed a trapeze act. These attractions became so common they were discontinued. Programs have also contained girl singers, flag drills and various acts put on by school children, with the help of their teachers.

The celebrations were halted during the years of the World War II

Harvest Home Celebrations are still held annually in the month of August.


Other Historical Events

May 1968

Armed Robery inspires talk of new day Bonnie and Clyde. A man and woman robbed the Yates City bank of $21,500. The woman had a sawedoff shitgun and the man ppointed a revolver at the employees. No one was hurt, just scared.