Historical Tidbits

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  • Village of Oak Grove

    While Oak Grove was not officially platted as a village until 1879, there was a cluster of farmhouses along this stretch of the Old White Oak Trail when Lincoln passed semiannually in the 1850’s.  Perhaps when Lincoln passed it was not a village by today’s standards, but in the 1850’s six farmhouses in the same mile was a town center.

    By 1886 the Village of Oak Grove had grown to include 20 residences, 3 general stores, a post office, a hotel, a cobbler and meat market, a town hall, a feed mill, 2 blacksmith shops, a restaurant, and a carpenter/wagon shop.  Oak Grove was the commerce center for northwest McLean County and the southeast section of Woodford County along the Mackinaw River.

    In 1886 and 1887 the Lake Erie and Western Railroad surveyed and constructed a railroad line from Bloomington to Peoria.  The railroad bypassed Oak Grove by one mile.  The reasons for bypassing the existing population center by only a mile warrants another Tidbits.  If the L.E. & W. would not come to Oak Grove, then Oak Grove would move to the railroad, and move it did.  In the winter of 1887 – 1888, houses and stores were dragged down the hill to create a new village near Carlock Station.   John Carlock, Mahala Carlock Gaddis, and David Smith worked together to plat the new Village of Carlock.