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.