Knox County Historical Sites, Inc.

Dedicated to the preservation of our heritage for future generations

The Knox County Historical Sites Inc. is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1953. The Board of Directors is made up of unpaid volunteers who maintain the Old Knox County Courthouse, the Old Jail, the Sanburn Log Cabin and the Knox County Museum, located in Knoxville, Illinois. Funding is received through membership dues and donations.

We invite you to share in Knox County's rich history by visiting our Nationally Registered buildings. Each building is over 150 years old and depicts life as it was in the 1850's.

Old Knox County Courthouse

The Old Knox County Courthouse was completed in 1839 and used as the county courthouse until the county seat was moved to Galesburg in 1873. Stephen A. Douglas held court here in 1841-43.

Old County Jail
The Jail was completed in 1845 and used as the county jail until 1873. It was the site of the only legal hanging in Knox County. Featured are primitive solitary confinement cells on the first floor and two cell blocks on the second floor. The jailer and his family's living quarters are joined to the cell block.

Hall Of Records
The Hall of Records was completed in 1854 to handle records from the Court House. For 100 years it housed the Knoxville Public Library, and is now the City Hall. This building was designed to be fireproof and insure maximum security with thick walls and steel window closures.

Sanburn Log Cabin
The John G. Sanburn Cabin, built in 1832, is the only surviving evidence of Knoxville's log cabin era. In this cabin, Sanburn opened Knoxville's first general store. It was rediscovered in 1964 when a house built around the cabin was demolished, after which it was relocated and restored.

New Knox County Museum
The Knox County Historical Museum was completed in 2009 and the grand opening was Sept. 27, 2009. It was built by Knoxville native Gil Hebard and his wife Mary who donated the building to the City of Knoxville with the stipulation that it be used for a museum. Inside you will find historical artifacts including a buggy that Lincoln used on Oct. 22, 1858, when traveling from Plymouth to Carthage during his campaign for the U. S. Senate.

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