In 2017, National Day Calendar® began celebrating each state in the order they entered the union starting the week of Independence Day and ending with Hawaii. We highlight a small part of each states’ history, foods and the people who make up the state. Many states have their own state celebrations, and National Day Calendar’s observances in no way replace them. There’s so much more to explore, we can’t help but celebrate our beautiful country even more!
NATIONAL ILLINOIS DAY
On December 7th, National Illinois Day recognizes the Land of Lincoln, home to the Windy City, and fertile prairies.
As the 21st state to join the United States, Illinois’s distinct political, industrial, agricultural and population densities create an intriguing contrast to other states.
When farmers began to settle on the Illinois prairie, they found the thick soil challenging to sow. One Vermont blacksmith made the work easier with the invention of the steel plow that cut sod more efficiently than previous tools. John Deere plow was born.
Railroads and shipping lines grew with farms in the rich prairies as settlers spread across the state. Chicago’s proximity to Lake Michigan has made it a major hub for transportation of goods across the country.
With the invention of the combustion engine, more reliable public highways became a national goal. U.S. Route 66 would become the iconic ribbon from Chicago to Los Angeles. Officially established in 1926, portions of the route were created from already existing roads.
Illinois completed the first leg of Route 66 during an era when Prohibition was in full swing. A paved roadway gave illegal transportation of spirits a bootleg up and the state a reputation that has become legendary for this era.
While Ronald Reagan was the only president born in Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant and Barack Obama all called Illinois home.
Traveling around the state, we will glimpse the wonders of nature or the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright. From tours of his architecture in Oak Park to Starved Rock State Park and Horseshoe Mound, Illinois offers urban and outdoor enjoyment.
HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL ILLINOIS DAY
Join National Day Calendar as we recognize Illinois’ history and pioneering spirit. Uncover hidden treasures and explore all Illinois highways and byways! Use #NationalIllinoisDay to share on social media.
Black Hawk (Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak) led a series of actions against the U.S. disputing the Treaty of St. Louis and their settlement of the Northwest Territory.
Suffragist, civic leader and president of the Hull-House Association, Louise DeKoven Bowen advocated for both women and children throughout her life.
As co-founder of Hull House in Chicago, Addams led the country in developing settlement houses. The facilities offered education, social services, and more to those in need. As a peace activist, in 1931 Addams became the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
The daughter of a prosperous Chicago businessman, Mary Victoria Leiter would marry George Curzon, heir to the Barony of Scarsdale.
As the first licensed female architect in history, Marion Mahony left her mark all across the Midwest and worked alongside Frank Lloyd Wright.
Animation pioneer and entrepreneur, Walt Disney took his chances and with his brother launched an enterprise on the image of a mouse.
The 40th president of the United States served two terms from 1981 to 1989. The president survived an assassination attempt two months into his first term. Reagan’s second term was highlight by the end of the Cold War.
One half of an ice cream shop, Burt Baskins along with his brother-in-law Irvin Robbins began making cold hard cash from 21 flavors and franchises around the world.
Martin Cooper led the Motorola team that developed the modern mobile phone. In 1973, he placed the first cellular call on a DynaTAC phone in New York City.
Lorraine Hansberry wrote the award-winning Broadway play A Raisin in the Sun.
First lady and wife of the 44th President, Michelle Obama is a graduate of Harvard Law School. She was the first African-American first lady.
For a complete list of Illinois State and National Parks & Historic Sites visit www.dnr.illinois.gov and www.nps.gov. Check out a few of the featured sites around the state below.
Mississippi Palisades State Park – Savanna
Illinois and Michigan Canal State Trail – Northwestern Illinois
Weldon Springs State Park – Clinton
Illinois Caverns – Waterloo
Trail of Tears State Forest – Jonesboro
Postville Courthouse State Historic Site – Lincoln
Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site – Petersburg
Wood River Camp Dubois – Wood River
Elijah P. Lovejoy Monument – Alton
Original Historic Route 66 Brick Road – Auburn
Blackhawk War Monument – Kent
Illinois State Museum – Springfield
Field Museum of Natural History – Chicago
Adler Planetarium – Chicago
Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center – Skokie
McLean County Museum History – Bloomington
Route 66 Association Hall of Fame and Museum – Pontiac
Morton Arboretum – Lisle
The Awaking Muse – Schaumburg
Gold Pyramid – Wadsworth
Rockmen Guardians – Rockford
Popeye Character Trail – Chester
Gemini Giant – Wilmington