Dwight, Illinois

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Dwight is a village in located mainly in Livingston County, Illinois, with a small portion in Grundy County, Illinois. The population was 4,363 at the 2000 census. Dwight contains an original stretch of the famous U.S. Route 66, and uses a railroad station designed in 1891 by Henry Ives Cobb. Its about 80 miles (129 km) southwest of Chicago. I-55 bypasses the village to the north and west. In June of 2010, a tornado hit the town causing extensive damage. Businesses, schools, and a trailer park were destroyed. It is the birthplace of current Philadelphia Eagles rookie Clay Harbor.

Contents

Geography

Dwight is located at 41°5′35″N 88°25′38″W / 41.09306°N 88.42722°W / 41.09306; -88.42722 (41.092975, -88.427273).[1]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 2.6 square miles (6.7 km²), of which, 2.6 square miles (6.7 km²) of it is land and 0.39% is water.

Dwight is mostly located in Livingston County, but a small portion extends northward into Grundy County to include the commercial area near the northern I-55 interstate exit.

History

Founding Dwight.

Dwight was laid out on 30 January 1854 by Richard Price Morgan, Jr. (17 September 1828- 20 May 1910), James C. Spencer (29 July 1828 – after 1990), and John Lathrop (6 March 1909 – May 1870), each of these three men took a quarter of the land. All were working as engineers for the railroad. The final quarter jointly owned by two Bloomington brothers, Jesse W. Fell (10 November 1808 – 25 February 1878) and Kersey H. Fell (1 May 1815 – 1 May 1893) The five were a distinguished group of men and all had links to the Chicago and Mississippi Railroad. [2] Spencer was born ion the Hudson River valley south of Albany; his ancestors included a United States Supreme Court Chief Justice and two governors of New York.; he was later to have an important career in Wisconsin railroads. [3] Lathrop was a civil engineer with a long history of working with canals and railroads in New York; he would soon return to Buffalo. [4] Morgan was the son of a noted civil engineer and he later became nationally known for his work on electric railroads in New York. The Fell brothers were well-connected Bloomington land developers who had been active in helping found many central Illinois towns including Clinton, Normal, Pontiac, and Towanda. They were employed by the railroad as land agents; the Fells are perhaps best known today for their role in persuading Abraham Lincoln to write his autobiography. [5] The plan of the founders was to purchase a block of land along the route of the railroad and to divide it into four equal parts. Morgan would then take charge of the operation. He would draw up a plat of the new town, sell the lots, and divide the proceeds among the others. The station was to be placed at the point where the four quarters met. Any unsold lots would be divided among the partners. The other men seemed to believe that Morgan was acting in the interest of the railroad. [6]The town was named for Henry Dwight, who had funded most of the building of this part of the railroad. [7] The Chicago and Mississippi soon became the Chicago and Alton Railroad. Attempts in 1858 to rename it Jersey, Beckman, or Dogtown failed. [8]

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