The Quincy Area Historic Photo Collection includes more than three thousand historical images covering more than a century of life in the Quincy area. The collection includes images of people, businesses, churches, entertainment, government, homes, and street scenes from the 1830s forward.
The photo collection documents a growing city that played a significant role in Illinois history. Quincy was first settled by John Wood in 1821, and became the county seat when Adams County was formed in 1825. Quincy gave refuge to Mormons during the winter of 1838-1839, and local abolitionists helped slaves on the Underground Railroad. Quincy was the site of the sixth Lincoln-Douglas debate during the Senate race of 1858.
By 1870, Quincy had become the second largest city in Illinois with a population of 24,000. Many businesses and industries had their start in Quincy such as Collins Plow Company, Comstock-Castle Stove Company, E.M. Miller Carriage Company, Gardner Denver Incorporated, Gates Radio Company, Irwin Paper Company, and Moorman Manufacturing Company. The R.G. Dun & Co.’s official report of June 29, 1889 stated, “That Quincy manufactures more steam governors, more omnibuses, more show cases and more hay presses than any other one city in America is a fact worthy of note.” Robert W. Gardener’s 1860 invention harnessing steam, led to the Gardner Governor Company, now Gardner Denver.
The Quincy of today, which was named an All-American City in 1963 and again in 1985, is a modern and progressive industrial city in the heart of a large and fertile agricultural area. Present manufacturers include: electronic equipment, air compressors, industrial pumps, mining and oil drilling equipment, stoves, wheels, truck and trailer bodies, mineral foods and stock preparations, as well as vegetable oils and various dairy products.
The initial 2008 project was made possible by a grant from the Library Services and Technology Act, administered through a competitive grant program by the Illinois State Library.
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Materials in this collection are made available by the contributing instituion (Quincy Public Library: http://quincylibrary.org/). To request reproductions or inquire about permissions, please provide the item title and collection name.