Shawneetown - The Oldest Town in Illinois

by Theresa Leschmann
(Creal Springs, IL)

The Old Shawneetown Bank

The Old Shawneetown Bank

Shawneetown began life as a Shawnee Indian settlement and trading post. The first white settlers came in the late 1700's. The town was surveyed and platted in 1810. It houses the first bank built in Illinois. Built between 1839 and 1841, the bank landed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1972. It has the distinction of having turned down the then-fledgling city of Chicago when it requested a loan. The basis for the denial that no great city could ever thrive if not built on a river.


The town's location on the banks of the Ohio River made it an important trade stop and also sealed it's doom. Flooding caused the town to resettle several miles in inland but several of it's oldest buildings can still be seen today.

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Sep 10, 2015
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Good NEW
by: Justin

Thanks for sharing! I love the bank picture. I find old buildings fascinating. The history you shared on Shawneetown is great. They turned down Chicago for a loan.

About how many other old buildings are left in the old part of Shawneetown?

Thanks again for your insights and for sharing.

Aug 24, 2015
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Sep 28, 2014
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Who ran the bank of Shawneetown? NEW
by: Joseph Reichert

My family has a long history in the surrounding area and the timing of the bank is within that era of their emmigration from Baden-Baden Germany.

Can anyone find the name of the officers of the bank that refused the loan ?

Reply to Illinwek@aol.com

Mar 06, 2011
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Oldest bank
by: Sherrie

The bank you have pictured, although lovely, is not the 'oldest' bank. The oldest bank (started by John Marshall) is down the street, to the south. It is restored and open to the public as a museum, weather permitting. The trip to Shawneetown is a lovely drive, from any direction. It's well worth the visit.

Oct 11, 2008
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Buildings in Shawneetown?
by: JulieD

Thanks for sharing! I love the bank picture. I find old buildings fascinating. The history you shared on Shawneetown is great. They turned down Chicago for a loan.

About how many other old buildings are left in the old part of Shawneetown?

Thanks again for your insights and for sharing.

JulieD

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