Bunker Hill Historical Society & Museum

114 E. Warren St.
Bunker Hill, II 62014


March through November
Saturdays 10a.m. - Noon

Closed in winter

Web site: bunkerhillhistory.org
For visits anytime call: (618) 585-4718


On Christmas day, 1835, Moses True from Salisbury, New Hampshire and John Tilden from Boston visited the area in company with Robert Smith of Alton. A company was formed with the object of laying out a town and improving the surrounding country.

This company was composed of John Cavender, John Tilden, Moses True and James and William H. Smith. All were of New England Birth and endowed with the characteristics of New England enterprise.

The site of the present town of Bunker Hill was known to the early settlers as Wolf Ridge because a den of wolves lived in the area on Washington Street where the bank is today. The choice of the name Bunker Hill was given because those who gave the name came from the area where the famous Revolutionary War Battle of Bunker Hill was fought.

True and Tilden had Luke Knowlton, then county surveyor, plat the town in March of 1836. The original town reached north to south from Morgan Street to Brookline and east to west from Franklin to Brighton Streets. The first dwelling house was built by Moses True in 1836. It was commonly known as the "Old Tavern" and stood on the west side of Washington Street between Fayette and Warren Streets.

A major influence on the growth of Bunker Hill was the decision to run the railroad through Bunker Hill. In 1851 ten years before the Civil War, the only mode of transportation in Bunker Hill was by stage coach, wagon or oxcarts over poorly constructed dirt roads.

The first passenger train came through Bunker Hill in August of 1855. The decision to run the railroad through this city made the difference between Woodburn and Bunker Hill as it brought growth to our city while Woodburn remained much in its original condition.

As the new century approached the people of Bunker Hill could look back and be proud of the accomplishments of their community. They had several churches, a public school, a highly acclaimed Military Academy, a newspaper, public library, a thriving business community and citizens willing to work together to improve the quality of life in Bunker Hill.

Bunker Hill was fortunate to receive a beautiful Abraham Lincoln Statue from Capt. Charles Clinton, Company B, 1st Missouri Cavalry Volunteers. Many of the men in his Co. B were from Bunker Hill. In 1866 the Soldiers Monument was dedicated in the cemetery. On three sides are the names of the men from Bunker Hill who died in the Civil War. Today it is one of two left in the state of Illinois that were dedicated in 1866.