Edwardsville is a friendly city in southwestern Illinois, just 25 miles outside of St. Louis, Missouri. It is home to Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, which has a beautiful, wooded campus.
The land that is present day Illinois became a part of Britain after the French and Indian Wars in the mid-1700s. It joined the Union in 1818 and watched its fortunes grow as its leading city, Chicago, became an important transportation hub. Immigrants from around the world came to Chicago to work in its lumber mills, slaughterhouses and shipping docks.
While northern Illinois is dominated by Chicago and its surrounding suburbs, the middle section of the state is primarily prairie and dotted with small towns and cities. Southern Illinois has a more rugged topography and is home to Carbondale and Marion, a sizable population center.
The Lincoln-Douglas debates, between Democratic Senator Stephen A. Douglas and Republican newcomer Abraham Lincoln, occured throughout Illinois in 1858.
A fire started in Catherine O'Leary's barn in 1871 and soon became the Great Chicago Fire. Most buildings were made of wood at the time, and the flames devoured 18,000 of them, killing nearly 300 people.
The world's first ferris wheel debuted in Chicago at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. Nearly 40% of the country's population attended the six-month event.
During Prohibition, Chicago became the capital of bootleg liquor and home to gangster Al Capone.
The Great Flood of 1993 swamped towns and farmland all along the Mississippi River.
Chicago's Willis Tower, previously known as the Sears Tower, is the tallest building in North America.
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