5 Things You Didn’t Know About: Pecatonica, Illinois
Pecatonica is one of the finalists in the 2017 Small Town Showdown. Here are some cool facts that show why Pecatonica deserves your vote.
First referred to by Indian settlers as peeketolika, meaning crooked river. Pecatonica also has origins from the combination of two Algonquin words; Bekaa (or Pekaa in some dialects) which means slow, and Niba which means water, forming the word Bekaaniba or Slow Water. The Pecatonica River forms Pec's northern border.
In 1845, President James K. Polk deeded just over 56 acres of 'Indian Territory', what is now downtown Pecatonica, to the Reed family. Dan and wife Polly Reed, who referred to the town as Peckatonick, are credited as having laid out the towns roads and lots.
In 1852, the Reed family sold the town for $1500 to some smart investors who heard a railroad was going to be built right through town with a water stop along the river. Those investors are responsible for the town's current name.
After selling the town, Dan Reed stayed and built the Pecatonica House and with partner A.J. Smith, the y built and operated a dry goods store that served railroad workers. That railroad started operations in 1853. Because of rapid growth after the railroad, Pecatonica was incorporated in 1869. The first bank opened in 1873 and by 1880, Main St. was filled with business
At the turn of the century, Pecatonica was the only 'wet' town in all of Winnebago County. By this time, the railroad had converted to electric streetcars and drinkers from 'dry' Rockford would come to town to quench their thirst. Officials even extended drinking hours to 9:30 p.m.