Did You Know . . .
Fulton County . . .
. . . was named for Robert Fulton who invented the first successful steamboat in 1807.
. . . was part of the lands set aside to be used as payment to veterans of the War of 1812.
. . . was established five years after Illinois became a state in 1823.
. . . extended all of the way to the northern boundary of the state including present day Chicago between 1823 and 1825.
. . . now has a population of 37,069.
In 1846, James Eggers built a grist mill just below the entry of Spoon River into Fulton County. The mill was called “London” in honor of the English city which was his original home. In 1851 the town of London was established. However, the town did not prosper until the arrival of the railroads and construction of a bridge across the river in the early 1880s.
The town once had a thriving business district in its center including a opera house, hotel, businesses, and several stately homes built along High Street referred to as “Quality Row”. The name of the town was later changed to London Mills when it was discovered that there was another town in Illinois named London.
Today, it is a popular stop during the Scenic Drive Fall Festival, when the streets are filled with antique, craft, and food vendors. At Riverside Park, located at the corner of Second and Water Streets, you will find parts of the old mill on display, veteran’s monuments, and Statue of Liberty replica. The statue, dedicated by the Boy Scouts of America, was as part of the “1951 Campaign to Strengthen Liberty.” Across the street you will find the Ross Hotel Museum, open during the Scenic Drive Fall Festival or by appointment by calling 309-486-3707.
City Park, located at the former site of London Mills School, has a ball field, playground equipment, and pavilion. A boat ramp across the river from Riverside Park provides access to Spoon River.