Illinois History Minutes

As WILL-AM celebrates a century of being on the air, we are sharing a minute-long snippet of Illinois history every weekday in 2022. This daily feature includes memorable people, places and events of that helped shape the prairie state.

Hosted by Illinois Public Media reporter Jim Meadows, the minute of Illinois History will air on WILL-AM/FM at 7:42 a.m. during Morning Edition and 5:32 p.m. during All Things Considered; as well as on WILL-AM in the 1 o'clock hour of Here & Now and at 8 o'clock in the evening. We've also made them available below for all of you history buffs!

July 6 Illinois History Minute

It’s July Sixth, and on this day in 1915, the Illinois General Assembly approved a state flag design, chosen through a contest held by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

July 5 Illinois History Minute

It’s July Fifth, a good day to go out and pick some violets. Specifically, the common blue violet, also known as the dooryard violet, the wood violet and by other names. Violets can be found all over Illinois, their blue, purple, or white heart-shaped petals decorating gardens, and growing wild in lawns, woods and wetlands.

July 1 Illinois History Minute

It’s July First. And on this day in 1969, Governor Richard Ogilvie signed a bill creating Illinois’ first state income tax. The tax had passed on a bipartisan vote. But when the Republican Ogilvie invited Democratic legislative leaders to the signing ceremony, they refused to come. Illinois’ original state income tax was a flat 2-point-5 percent for individuals and four percent for corporations. It’s gone up since then.

June 28 Illinois History Minute

It’s June 28th. And on this day in 1970, the Chicago Sunday Tribune devoted three paragraphs to the city’s first gay pride parade, held the day before, on the one-year anniversary of the New York Stonewall riots. The newspaper reported that some 150 people kept on marching after the planned route was done, ending up at the downtown Picasso sculpture, where they held a chain dance and chanted “Gay power to gay people”.

June 27 Illinois History Minute

It’s June 27th, and on this day in 1844, Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, was murdered by a mob, while being held in the jail in Carthage. Smith was held on charges he had ordered the destruction of the printing press of a newspaper critical of him in nearby Nauvoo.

June 21 Illinois History Minute

It’s June 21, the day in 1892 when former Congressman Adlai E. Stevenson of Bloomington was nominated to be Grover Cleveland’s vice-presidential running mate at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Cleveland went on to win a second non-consecutive term as president.

June 20 Illinois History Minute

It’s June 20. And on this day in 1836, the state of Illinois auctioned off lots in the fledgling Town of Chicago, along the future site of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, to finance its construction. The sale brought in more than one-point three million dollars --- mostly in promises to pay at a later date.

June 17 Illinois History Minute

It’s June 17, the day in 1919, when the Illinois General Assembly passed a waterways act. The legislation paid for the construction of locks and dams, from the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal at Lockport to Utica on the Illinois River.