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This Week in Illinois History

December 25, 1865
On this date the Union Stock Yard opened. It eventally became the largest stockyard in the country, employing more than 25,000 persons at its peak in 1924.

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About Main Street

What is Illinois Main Street?

Illinois Main Street is a comprehensive community revitalization program that promotes historic preservation and economic development of the state's traditional business districts.

Illinois Main Street provides training and technical assistance to participating communities. Illinois Main Street is based on a model developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Springfield, Illinois

Illinois Main Street helps communities define their own vision and works with them to make that vision a reality. Local staff, businesses and volunteers provide grassroots leadership, raise money and spearhead revitalization activities.

The Main Street Four Point Approach is:

1. Organization - Developing and sustaining an effective downtown management organization.
2. Design - Improving the appearance of the downtown buildings and streetscape through historic preservation.
3. Promotion - Marketing the district's unique assets to bring people downtown.
4. Economic Restructuring - Improving the downtown's economic base by assisting and recruiting businesses and finding new uses for underused space.

Presently, Illinois has 69 active Main Street communities, growing from 9 when the program began in 1993. Since it's inception, designated communities have reported net gains of more than 1,500 new downtown businesses, and created 3,200 full-time jobs and 2,400 part-time jobs. Main Streets have spurred more than $123 million in public improvements and more than $411 million in private reinvestments in their downtowns.

Illinois Main Street is overseen by a seven-member Advisory Council chaired by Lt. Governor Pat Quinn. For more information on Illinois Main Street Advisory Council meetings, please click here.

To learn more about the Illinois Main Street program e-mail: or call 217/782-5990.

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