City of Macomb
Welcome to Macomb, the home of Western Illinois University and the legendary Republic of Forgottonia‘s point of inception. In a short time one finds that Macomb is a diverse community with an interesting blend of agriculture, industry, service, retail, education and culture. Macomb can offer the best of all worlds from visiting a wonderfully rural Farmers Market to experience the excitement of a major university community, all supported by strong aggressive industries, a progressive medical community, a broad and varied retail service sector, and an abundance of cultural events and talent. Unique shopping and dinning, exciting annual events, rich historical significance, and rural splendor in a progressive educational setting; Macomb really does have something for everyone.
First settled in 1829 on a site tentatively named Washington, the town was officially founded in 1830 as the county seat of McDonough County and given the name Macomb after General Alexander Macomb, a general in the War of 1812. War veterans were given land grants in the Macomb area, which was part of the “Military Tract” set aside by Congress. In 1855 the Northern Cross Railroad, a predecessor to the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, was constructed through Macomb, leading to a rise in the town’s population. In 1899 the Western Illinois State Normal School, later Western Illinois University, was founded in Macomb. Representative Lawrence Sherman was instrumental in locating the school in Macomb. In 1903 the Macomb and Western Illinois Railway was built from Macomb to nearby Industry and Littleton by local financier Charles V. Chandler, though this railroad was abandoned in 1930. In 1918, construction on Illinois Route 3 was begun as a state financed highway from Cairo to Rock Island through Macomb; in the late 1920s U.S. Route 67 was extended along this route to Dubuque, Iowa.
Macomb has been visited by several US Presidents over the years. Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Johnson, Rutherford B. Hayes, William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt have all made short addresses in Macomb. On two occasions, Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama addressed large audiences prior to their election as president. Obama was actually stumping for state senate at the time.
Elizabeth J. Magie was born in Macomb in 1866 to James Magie, a newspaper publisher and an abolitionist who accompanied Abe Lincoln as he traveled around Illinois in the late 1850s debating politics with Stephen Douglas. Lizzie went on to invent the precursor to what would become the world’s most popular board game; Monopoly. Macomb is also the birthplace of Civil Rights pioneer C.T. Vivian, Rock & Roll progenitor “Big” Al Sears, famed bacteriologist Dr. Ruth Tunnicliff, and NFL Super Bowl coach “Red” Miller along with a number of other notable natives.
Located in the west central part of the state and directly in the center of McDonough County, Macomb serves as the county seat and has assumed the position of the regional center for the area, by providing not only retail and manufacturing opportunities, but also by providing health care, entertainment and cultural services as well.
The current mayor is Macomb native Mike Inman who is in his third term in the office. Please feel free to contact the mayor’s office or any of the other offices or staff listed on website above. We hope you’ll Make It Unforgetable in the heart of Forgottonia, Macomb!