Blanchardville had its beginnings in 1848 when a small group of Mormons, broken away from Brigham Young, settled on the banks of the Pecatonica at what they deemed to be their Zarahemla, “City of God”. The river was dammed and a grist mill was built where Blanchardville Historical Society stands today. In 1855 Alvin Blanchard, whose name the town carries, purchased the mill and laid the foundations for the community to grow. In 1888 the arrival of the Illinois Central Railroad turned the community into a thriving trade center. Agriculture, and more specifically dairy, grew and there were 30 cheese factories within five miles of the village by 1907. Even though it has caused the weathering of some floods, the Pecatonica River is still a key feature of this village found in the heart of four counties.

To learn more about Blanchardville’s history, visit the Blanchardville Historical Society’s museum (101 South Main Street) on Saturday mornings from 9:00 am until noon. Or email blanchardvillehistorical@gmail.com.

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