Knox County, Illinois was named after Henry Knox (1750-1806) who was a soldier in the American Revolution. He later became a Major General. Henry Knox was U.S. President George Washington's Secretary of War from 1785-1795. Knox County was established just seven years after Illinois became a State. On January 13, 1825, Knox was primarily formed from unorganized territory attached to Pike County. A portion of the southern edge was formed from Fulton County, which had existed a mere two years.
Knox County is located in the western central portion of Illinois. It is home to over 55,836 residents, and has a total area of 720 square miles, of which 717 square miles is land and three square miles is water.
Knox County was the site of the 5th Lincoln-Douglas Debate of 1858. The debate took place at the Old Main on the campus of Knox College in Galesburg.
Knox County is the home of Carl Sandburg, who was born in Galesburg in 1878. He was a poet, author of children's stories and won the Pulitzer Prize for a multi-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln.
Galesburg is the home of the Railroad Days festival held on the fourth weekend of June since 1978. During the festival, Carl Sandburg College hosts one of the largest model railroad train shows and layouts in the U.S. Midwest. Our annual kite festival is every May at Lake Storey Park, along with the third weekend of August, a Civil War and Pre-1840s Rendezvous is held.
Labor Day weekend hosts the Stearman Fly-In. Also held in September are the Great Cardboard Boat Regatta and the Annual Rubber Duck Race all held at Lake Storey Park.
Every September, the Black Earth Film Festival has been a part of the Galesburg art community since 2004. Affiliated with the Galesburg Civic Art Center, the festival receives entries from all over the world. Awards are given for the best in feature length, short subjects, documentaries, animation and foreign films, as well as a People's Choice Award for best overall film. The festival highlights include special guests from within the film industry.