financing construction of the new Courthouse, the Kane County Board faced other budgetary
problems as the Civil War required a continual outlay of men and money. In July, 1861, the
Board appointed a War Committee which appropriated money for horses, bounties, equipment
for the troops, and family benefits. The hundreds of men from Kane County who volunteered
to serve in the Civil War attest to Kane County's involvement in the war operations. The
names of these men are preserved in a plaque on the monument in front of the present
Courthouse in Geneva.
following the Civil War were marked by a sudden increase in population as people came to
the area looking for jobs in the mills and factories which were built along the Fox River.
The railroads also played a significant part in the growth of Kane County as the first
line in northern Illinois crossed Elgin and continued south to Geneva. This was the Galena
and Chicago Union Railroad which linked the lead mines on the Mississippi River with the
Chicago industrial area. This line eventually became the Chicago and North Western
Railroad which has run through Kane County since 1853.
Aurora was also
a major railroad center with the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, now the
Burlington Northern, operating through Aurora. The old roundhouse still stands on North
Broadway. and has been converted to a restaurant and micro-brewery.
lines connected the river towns with each other, as well as the Chicago metropolitan area.
was also instrumental in establishing Kane County as a prominent dairy region around this
time. The Chicago hotels were a major consumer for the milk, butter and cheese from the
northern Kane County area and the railroads provided rapid transportation for the fresh
dairy products which were shipped daily into the city. The Elgin Board of Trade
established butter prices throughout the entire country.
continued its rapid growth during the 1900's. The population doubled from 65,000 to
130,000 during the 50-year period from 1890 to 1940. The population doubled again to
260,000 in the next 30-year period to 1970, along with the increasing number of
industries, medical centers, and educational institutions. In 1967, the United States
government built Fermilab, a center for energy research and development, on a 6,800 acre
site outside Batavia. This research center provides educational and cultural opportunities
for residents of Kane and surrounding counties.
the census bureau, as of 2002 Kane County's population is estimated to be over 443,000 and
is steadily increasing due largely to expansion from the Chicagoland area. More Kane
County farm lands are being rezoned to fit the demand of housing construction.
The Kane County
Board is now struggling with the problem of maintaining the traditional beauty and open
spaces of Kane County despite the pressures for rapid development of the agricultural
areas. The decisions made today will influence the future growth of Kane County.