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Located along the Mississippi River and on the bluffs above it, Quincy, Illinois in Adams County, is famous for its tree-lined streets, beautiful parks and attractive historic neighborhoods. The city of Quincy is home to 42,000 residents and was voted as one of the top ten of historic towns in the United States. In addition to local designations, Quincy is home to four National Register of Historic Places districts, covering about 250 blocks and a dozen individually listed National Register properties. A bustling river town, Quincy also boasts a thriving arts community and is home to the first Arts Council in America. Great shopping, restaurants and natural resources abound–nothing compares to the unsurpassed beauty and distinctive charm of Quincy.

Quincy History
The site of Quincy, Illinois originally was home to Sauk (Sac), Fox and Kickapoo Native American tribes.

Quincy’s founder, John Wood, came west from Moravia, New York in 1818 and settled in the Illinois Military Tract. Wood purchased 160 acres from a veteran for $60 and the next year became the first settler in what was originally called "Bluffs," and by 1825 would be known as Quincy. Wood was later elected Lieutenant Governor of Illinois in 1856 and became Governor in 1860 upon the death of elected Governor Bissell.

In 1825 Quincy became the county seat, and was named in honor of the newly-elected U.S. President, John Quincy Adams.

Five thousand members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons, were driven from their homes in Missouri and arrived in Quincy during the winter of 1838-39. Though vastly outnumbered by the new arrivals, the residents of Quincy provided food and shelter for the Mormons until Joseph Smith led his followers 40 miles up river to the settlement of Nauvoo.

Quincy’s earliest settlers, primarily from New England, were joined by a wave of German immigrants in the1840’s. The new residents brought with them much needed skills for the expanding community.

The matter of slavery was a major religious and social issue in Quincy’s early years. Quincy, Illinois, separated only by the Mississippi River from the slave state of Missouri, made Quincy a hotbed of political controversy. Dr. Richard Eells House, at 415 Jersey, was considered station number one on the Underground Railroad from Quincy to Chicago.

Quincy grew rapidly in the 1850’s. Steamboat arrivals and departures made Quincy’s riverfront a beehive of activity. Quincy was a site for the sixth Senatorial debate by U.S. Senator Stephen Douglas and his challenger, Abraham Lincoln and was the largest city in which Lincoln and Douglas appeared.

The Civil War brought increasing prosperity to Quincy. By 1870, Quincy passed Peoria to become the second largest city in Illinois. A massive railroad bridge across the Mississippi River had been completed, and Quincy was linked by rail to Omaha, Kansas City and points west.

For more than a century and a half, Quincy has counted its blessings and good fortunes, endured an occasional flood or tornado, and settled in as the Gem City of the Mississippi Valley. Twice recognized as an All-America City, Quincy honors its past as its citizens look forward to the 21st Century.





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