Warsaw, Illinois

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Warsaw is a city in Hancock County, Illinois, United States. The population was 1,793 at the 2000 census. The city is notable for its historic downtown and the Warsaw Brewery, which operated for more than 100 years beginning in 1861. After renovation, it was reopened as a bar, restaurant and microbrewery in 2006.



The city of Warsaw began in 1814, when young Major Zachary Taylor founded Fort Johnson on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River across from the mouth of the Des Moines River. Fort Johnson was occupied only for a few weeks before it was burned. In 1815 another military camp, Fort Edwards, was built nearby at a different location.[1] Warsaw became an important fur trading post and one of the earliest European-American settlements in western Illinois.

During the 1840s, Warsaw was one of the centers of opposition to the Mormons at Nauvoo. This was largely due to the writing of Thomas C. Sharp, who edited the Warsaw Signal at this time.[2] The Latter-day Saints tried to set up a settlement at Warren, a site just south of Warsaw. In 1841 Willard Richards moved to Warsaw to oversee the settlement of Warren, but due to the antagonism fanned by Sharp and other problems, the Mormon settlement was abandoned in 1842.[3]

The city is notable for its well-preserved downtown with a number of remaining historic businesses. Founded by German immigrants, the Warsaw Brewery opened in 1861 and operated for more than 100 years, ending production in 1971. The facility was renovated and reopened in 2006 as a bar and restaurant.[4]

Notable residents

  • John Milton Hay, an American statesman, diplomat, author, journalist, and private secretary and assistant to Abraham Lincoln, was raised in Warsaw. He served as United States Secretary of State from 1898 to 1905 under presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.
  • Illinois politician Benjamin F. Marsh represented the area and is buried in Warsaw.


Warsaw is located at 40°21′19″N 91°25′59″W / 40.355173°N 91.432928°W / 40.355173; -91.432928.[5]

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