Lena, Illinois

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Lena is a village in Stephenson County, Illinois, United States. The population was 2,887 at the 2000 census.



The town of Lena is located in parts of Sections 32 and 33, on the Illinois Central Railroad, twelve miles (19 km) west of Freeport, and is, next to that city, the largest town in the county. In 1853, the survey of the present railroad corporation had located its route and the grading of the light of way was begun. As soon as the building of this highway of commerce had been settled, Samuel F. Dodds, who owned 80 acres (320,000 m2) of land on the present site of the town, acting on behalf of the railroad company, purchased an additional tract of 80 acres (320,000 m2), and laid out the town. The survey was made by B. Dornblazer, the original town being in the form of a parallelogram, comprehending twenty-six blocks and a total of 304 lots. Subsequently, I. C. Allen, S. J. Kimball, Underwood & Albee, C. Roush, N. C. Pickard, A. Weaver and A. C. Allen, made additions to the original town, increasing its dimensions to a large extent. When the town was laid out, Samuel F. Dodds owned a stone residence then and now occupying Lot No. 1, on Lena street, while Dr. F. Voightheld title to a log house standing a short distance east of where the depot was subsequently erected. It remained intact until the advance of improvements compelled its demolition. These two houses embraced the list of buildings at that time — there were no others of any description. During that summer, lots sold rapidly, commanding prices varying from $50 to $150 each, William Allen and S. H. McEathron, being among the first to purchase and make improvements. Allen put up a store at once, but McEathron delayed the erection of a building, devoted to similar purposes, until the fall. Both were of frame, but only one survives the lapse of a quarter of a century. On New Year's Day, 1854, the track was laid, and cars began to run between Freeport and Warren. This had the effect of increasing the number of arrivals and stimulating enterprise. The additions to the population were largely made up of English and Irish, many of whom became permanent residents, together with representatives from the Eastern States, who engaged in business, and have since been identified with the growth and prosperity of the town. In this year, there were about a dozen families in Lena, and the following comprise the business directory: Dry goods and groceries — S. H. McEathron, William Allen, J. E. Ambrose. Lumber yard — J. N. Clifford. Blacksmith — William Young. Grain dealer — N. Perrin. Postmaster and railroad agent — Samuel F. Dodds. Physicians — Drs. N. C Pickard and F. Voight. here were three church organizations in the village, viz. : Presbyterian, Rev. R. Colston, Pastor ; Methodist, Rev. A. Wolf, Pastor ; Baptist, Rev. J. E. Ambrose, Pastor. There were no church edifices in the village or town- ship at that time, and the several congregations occupied the schoolhouse alternately. The public school was in charge of Miss S. D. Hyde. Dr. J. R. Chambers, the only other physician in the township, was located at Louisa. From this date until 1860, the increase in population was quite rapid. The panic of 1857 produced no pronounced effect disastrous to the growth of the town, which progressed in business and importance in a manner that was gratifying to those who had first projected its survey. During the summer of 1855, Reber & Cheney and S. F. Dodds began the three-story brick building at the corner of Railroad and Schuyler streets. It was completed about the fall of 1856, at a cost of about $4,000, and is still used for business purposes.

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