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About Us...

    The Kankakee County Historical Society, founded in 1906,  is one of the oldest historical societies in Illinois.

    The Kankakee County Historical Society was originated from The Travelers, Nature Club, Sons of the Veterans, Round Table Club, French Club, Twentieth Century Club, and Spanish War Veterans.

     Beginning in 1912, the new Kankakee County Historical Society displayed artifacts and documents in the Kankakee High School near the Kankakee County Court House. In 1935 extensive renovations at Kankakee High School forced the Society to seek new exhibit space.

    In 1936, exhibit space was donated to the Society in the Kankakee County Court House. In 1944 the collection was moved back to the Kankakee High School. The following year the Illinois State Legislature appropriated funds to create a memorial to Governor Lennington Small. The Small family donated twenty-five acres of land, and the historic Dr. A.L. Small Memorial Home to the Society. The Kankakee County Historical Society’s new museum was dedicated and first opened to the public on October 17, 1948. The Museum doubled in size in 1972. The one-room Taylor School House, built in 1904, was moved to "Governor Small Memorial Park" in 1976. In 2007, the Museum’s building extension project added new professionally designed support facilities including: climate-controlled collection storage areas, an archival library, and exhibit preparation spaces.

1908 Historical Society Picnic At ELectric Park (Beckman Park)

801 S. 8th Ave. Kankakee, IL 60901

815-932-5279   kankakeecountymuseum@gmail.com

About this photo...

  An article in the Evening Democrat on June 26, 1908, the day after this picture was taken, read “Old Settlers’ Meeting Held at the Park Today”. The “Old Settlers” was a group which got together social to reminisce about the settling of Kankakee County and to swap their stories in an informal setting. In 1906, in response to public call, delegates from seven clubs met with citizens to organize the Kankakee County Historical Society. The founding groups were: French Club, Spanish War Veterans, Round Table Club, Twentieth Century Club, Sons of Veterans, Travelers Club, and the Nature Club. This photograph of the Kankakee County Historical Society’s members was taken at Kankakee’s Amusement Park” then-called Electric Park. It is known today as Beckman Park.

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   History of the Kankakee County Historical Society