the first settlers arrived in 1822 in what are now Towanda and Money Creek
Townships in McLean County in central Illinois, most of the Kickapoo and
Pottawatomie natives had left the area following a ‘peace treaty’ in 1819.
The last had departed by 1830.
settlers came from
Virginia, Indiana, and
other points east. They came from
England, and Germany. When they came they found vast
stretches of prairie interspersed with swamps and ponds and only small
tracts of timber. Some moved on, some returned east, but those who remained
drained the swamps, broke the sod, tilled the soil, built the roads,
established the businesses, churches and schools, and created a life for
generations of Illinoisans.
railroad line that bisects the village was central to the life of the
residents and local farmers. Originally self contained, with doctors, cafes,
groceries, blacksmiths, churches, schools, a drugstore and a bank, Towanda
has become primarily a bedroom community for the nearby cities of Bloomington
relying on them for employment, entertainment, shopping, health care and
other services. And
although the railroad still passes through, it no longer makes a stop at
In 2007 the
of Towanda has a population of 550. There are approximately 1800
additional residents in Towanda and
Money Creek Townships, which include Lamplighter and
Indian Creek subdivisions and the
of Merna as well as rural areas.
there are still many working farms where corn and soybeans are grown and a few where hogs are raised, many former farmsteads are occupied by
non-farmers and the property is
developed for homes as Bloomington and Normal expand.
the Towanda area, like so many small towns and rural areas in our present
society, is in danger of losing its identity as urban sprawl threatens its
future. This site is an effort to capture that rich history before it is
lost. The scrapbooks of the community with their photographs, newspaper
clippings, and personal stories trace the history of the area.