History of Cornell, Illinois

Walter B. Cornell laid out a plat on June 15th, 1871, from the southwest quarter of Section 11, and named it Cornell. Two days after, Willard D. Blake, his neighbor on the south, platted an adjoining section of his farm and named it Amity. The strife for supremacy was carried on for several years, but the only evidence of the conflict now remaining is two beautiful parks, North Park, on the original site of Cornell, and South Park in Amity. While the former name of Cornell has been retained, the most of the business houses are in the portion formerly called Amity. Cornell, with other parties, built several houses on the plat laid out by him, but they have since been removed.

In 1873, the village was organized by the election of H. M. Cornell, Jason Curtis, John Withrow, George Bradley, James O. Pond and Joseph Rucker, as Trustees. At their first meeting, July 18th, Cornell was elected President; James W. Willis was appointed Clerk; Jason Curtis, Treasurer; and Samuel Blake, Street Commissioner.

The town site presented many attractions. The board have usually pursued a wise policy in making streets and other improvements so that the appearance of the village is such as one would expect to find in a town twice as old. At one time lots in Cornell were worth more on the market than in either of its neighbors, Pontiac or Streator. When the village was incorporated in 1873, the question of licensing saloons came before the people and has been the main point at issue at the village elections ever since, with varying results.

Cornell Business Directory 1898


Methodist Episcopal: a frame building, seating capacity of 300. Membership is 180. Rev. T. C. Moots was a pastor.

Baptist: have a neat frame church building, seating 200, Rev. Hartwell Churchill, pastor.

Catholic: have a neat frame building, Rev. Tonnes, rector.

The Dunkard Church, has a substantial frame building with a seating capacity of 250.

Secret Societies:

Beacon Lodge,No. 618 I.O. O. F. instituted June 23, 1876

Cornell Rebekah Lodge No. 388

Excelsior Camp, No. 1664, Modern Woodmen of America

Cornell Supreme Court of Honor No. 528

John H. Johnson Post No. 769, Grand Army of the Republic

John H. Johnson Woman’s Relief Corps No. 72


C. A. Herbert, Attorney at Law


F. C. Cusic, barber


John Sullivan, Blacksmith

Baxendale & Sullivan, Blacksmith

Clothing and Shoes:

J. E. Shackelton, Clothing and Shoes

Contractors and Builders:

Edgar A. Thompson, Contractor and Builder

Charles Lishness, Contractor and Builder

Drugs and Medicines:

J. P. Guernsey, Drugs and Medicines

J. M. Syphers, Druggist

Furniture and Undertaking:

Lishness & Barton, Furniture

General Merchandising:

E. A. Jamison, General Merchandise & Mfg. of Drain Tile & brick.

Miner Brothers, General Merchandise

Mrs. K. Allen, General Merchandise

C. W. Shackelton, General Merchandise


The Middle Division Elevator Co., John Evers, Manager, grain

Hardware and Farm Machinery:

George Whitham, Hardware, Farming Implements and Grain

F. J. Spaulding, Hardware and Farming Implements


William Riches, harness


Lundy Hotel, F. M. Lundy, proprietor

Insurance and Collections:

B. F. Brown, Insurance and Collections

J. J. Vanderree, Real Estate, Insurance and Collection Agents

Livery and Feed Stables:

E. Gourley, Livery and Feed Stable

Lumber and Coal:

D. M. Brown, Lumber, Coal, Contractor and Builder


W. J. Reeve, Feed Mill

David Heckman, Wagon Shop

W. S. Wayman, Wagonmaker

Meat Market:

W. P. Corbin Meat Market

Millinery and Dressmaking:

Mrs. Ida Harding, Dressmaking

Mrs. C. A. Herbert, Dressmaking

Mrs. M. Lilly, Millinery

Painters and Paper Hangers:

U. G. Connett, Jeweler, Painter and Paper Hanger

Alfred Martinson, Painter and Paper Hanger

Physician and Surgeon:

T. W. Jones, physician and surgeon

H. C. Sawyer, physician and surgeon

Printers and Publishers:

The Cornell Journal, $1.00 a year, established 1890; A. E. Tiffany, Editor

Restaurants and Bakeries:

J. B. Baringer, Restaurant

D. D. Mills, Confectionery


M. J. Rhodes, Electric Lighting

D. W. Blake, Postmaster

George Myers, Railroad and Express Agent.

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