Who's ready for a little history lesson?

As the state of Illinois prepares to celebrate it's 200th birthday this year, DNA Chicago took a closer look at the Land of Lincoln's history; and what they found was a bit startling.

Did you know that Rockford came really close to being a city in Wisconsin? A Journal of Science study on the formation of Illinois borders revealed that the state line was initially 51 miles further south than what it is now.

Take a look at the map, everything in green was supposed to be a part of Wisconsin, however, thanks to Illinois' territory congressional delegate, Nathaniel Pope, the borders were rearranged for "economic reasons" and to "allow the linkage of the Great Lakes shipping route to the Illinois and Mississippi River navigation channels."

Journal of Earth Science and Engineering, How Waterways, Glacial Melt Waters, and EarthquakesRe-aligned Ancient Rivers and Changed Illinois Borders

Because I've only been here a short time, I wanted to ask Illinoisans if Rockford would be different if it were in Wisconsin.  The answers were serious to silly.

Would it be?

Here's what some of my friends said:

  • " I think it would be farther north ..."
  • "Absolutely. Living in both places I would definitely say yes. Not enough beer or cheese in Rockford."
  • "It wouldn't be allowed......"
  • "There would be hills..."
  • "Yes. I think about this a lot. Winnebago county was also briefly in in Wisconsin territory until the state became incorporated."
  • " Yes, very different."

Would anyone care to elaborate?