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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 Park State Park and Horseshoe Mound, Illinois offers urban and outdoor enjoyment.

Official Illinois

State Capital – Springfield
State Nickname – The Prairie State
State Motto – Virtute et armis
State Bird – Northern Cardinal
State Amphibian – Eastern Tiger Salamander
State Flower – Violet
State Animal – White tailed deer
State Fish – Bluegill
State Pie – Pumpkin pie
State Fossil – Tully Monster
State Mineral – Fluorite
State Tree – White Oak
State Song – Illinois
State Artifact – Pirogue

The Flavor of Illinois

Italian Beef Sandwhiches
Deep Dish Pizza
Chicago style Hot dog
Corn on the cob
Chicago style Popcorn

HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalIllinoisDay

Discover and recognize Illinois’ history and pioneering spirit. Uncover hidden treasures and explore all Illinois highways and byways! Use #NationalIllinoisDay to share on social media.

Art and History

For a complete list of Illinois State and National Parks & Historic Sites visit and  Check out a few of the featured sites around the state below.

Lewis & Clark

Mormon Pioneer


Mississippi Palisades State Park – Savanna

Illinois and Michigan Canal State Trail – Northwestern Illinois

Weldon Springs State Park – Clinton

Illinois Caverns – Waterloo


Cave-in-Rock State Park

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

Hidden Treasures

The Awaking Muse – Schaumburg
Gold Pyramid – Wadsworth
Rockmen Guardians – Rockford
Popeye Character Trail – Chester
Gemini Giant – Wilmington

Famous People

Black Hawk – Sauk Indian Chief – (1767 – October 3, 1838)

Louise DeKoven Bowen – Suffragist – ( February 26, 1859 – November 9, 1953)

Mary Curzon – Baroness – (May 27, 1870 – July 18, 1906)

Marion Mahony Griffin – Architect – (February 14, 1871 – August 10, 1961)

Walt Disney – Entrepreneur -(December 5, 1901 – December 5 1966)

Ronald Reagan – President – (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004)

Burt Baskin – Entrepreneur – (December 17, 1913 – December 24, 1967)

Burt Baskin
Co founder Baskin Robbins

Martin Cooper – Inventor – (December 26, 1928 – )

Lorraine Hansberry – Playwright – (May 19, 1930 – January 12, 1965)

Michelle Obama – First Lady – (January 17, 1964 -)

Jane Addams (1860-1935)


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