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by Jessica Waytenick • January 27, 2012

Address: Henry County Tourism Bureau, 307 W. Center Street,Cambridge, Illinois
Henry County is located 30 minutes southeast of the QuadCities on Interstate 74.
Phone: 877-436-7926
Web Site: www.visithenrycounty.com
Media Contact: Cathy Foes, 309-937-1256 or director@visithenrycounty.com
What’s Notable:

  • Henry County features the Bishop Hill colony,Hennepin Canal, and Great Sauk Trail.

Named after Patrick Henry,a statesman of the Revolutionary War and Governor of Virginia, Henry County isnoted for its picturesque rolling farmland and the 14 small towns dotting thelandscape.

As the county seat,Cambridge’s courthouse is a beautiful structure of second empire style built in 1880.  Cambridge holds many seasonal events downtown and the annual HenryCounty Fair in June.

Geneseo has a Victorian charmevident in its architecture and main street with shops to browse through.  Geneseo was a stop on the UndergroundRailroad, and the stately home that is now the GeneseoHistorical Museum is believed to havebeen the link.  The GeneseoArt League, Richmond Hill Players community theatre, summer concert series, and othercommunity arts groups offer an opportunity for residents to share their talentsand the public to enjoy.  Annual eventsinclude the Music & Craft Festival in June and Victorian Walk in December.

In 1846, a Swedishreligious leader named Eric Janson brought his followers to a new land wherethey could practice religious freedom in a communal settlement they named Bishop Hill.  On the Illinois prairie, the members livedtogether, worshipped together, took meals together, and shared equally in theprofits.  Many of the original colonybuildings remain today and descendants of the original colonists have initiatedand overseen one of the most important preservation and restoration efforts inthe United States.  It is through their contributions that the characterof the pioneer settlement lives again with its unique architecture, arts,crafts, merchants, and Swedish annual events.

Colonais a main stop on the Hennepin Canal Parkway. The statepark has pavilions to rent, a gazebo, and horseshoe pits.  The Hennepin Canal was the first Americancanal built of concrete without stone cut facings.  The old tow path is now a paved bike trailfollows the length of the canal. Fishing, boating, canoeing, kayaking, and horseback riding are alsopopular activities.  Another popular stopin Colona is Lavender Crest Winery.  Their wines and label designs have wonnumerous honors in local, state and regional competitions.  Ithas a Californian ambiance that includes an eatery, gift shop, and a banquetfacility.  They have numerous special events, including Friday night “WineDowns.”  Enjoy the view of the vineyardfrom the patio and gazebo.  Winery tours are available.  Colona has special events during MemorialDay, 4th of July, and Fort Obie Living History Encampment inOctober.

Take a tripto the farm at the Country Corner FarmMarket in Alpha.  Open May-October,visitors can experience over 40 acres of homegrown produce featuring asparagus,strawberries, raspberries, melons, tomatoes, vegetables, pumpkins, Indian corn,popcorn, and winter squash.  There isalso a petting zoo, hayrack rides, and fun park.  Fall is a special time at Country Corner witha corn maze, huge pumpkin patch, and special events.

Kewanee was dubbedthe “Hog Capitol of the World” after being designated in 1949 by the U.S.Department of Agriculture as leading the nation in hog production.  Embracing their status, Kewanee started aLabor Day Weekend festival in September called Hog Days that brings thousands ofvisitors to town. 

Orion has asummer concert series at the 100-year old bandshell in Central Park with freeconcerts and outdoor movies.  The popularOrion Fall Festival is Labor Day Weekend in Central Park with a carnival, craftshow, talent show, pie auction, battle of the bands, and more.

Andover is the oldest community inthe county.  Lars Paul Esbjörn, the firstSwedish Lutheran minister in the United States, and a group of Swedishimmigrants arrived in Andover during 1849. Together they built Jenny Lind Chapel, whichbecame the "mother church" of the Swedish Lutheran community.  The church was built with funding providedmainly by the Swedish singer, Jenny Lind, while she was at that time on aconcert tour in the eastern United States.

In Hooppole, stop to see thegiant rosary laid out along the ground made from rolle bolle balls and pucks atSt. Mary of the Fields Catholic Church.  Rollebolle is a lawn bowling game brought to America by Belgian immigrants.

Annawan hasits annual Fun Days on the first weekend in June.  Galva’sFreedom Fest over the 4th of July is a two-day celebrationending with fireworks.  Atkinson Heritage Days is an annualtwo-day party in August. 

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