Discover Swedish History in Bishop Hill, Illinois
The site of a utopian religious community founded in 1846 by Swedish immigrant Erik Janson, Bishop Hill was run as a commune until 1861 and was the major Swedish settlement in western Illinois. Today visitors can still see a handful of historically significant buildings and learn about the religious and cultural background of this small town.
Bishop Hill Colony Store
Candy, coffee, preserves, gifts and some Swedish foods fill shelves at this store, built in 1853 and now operated by the Bishop Hill Heritage Association.
Bishop Hill State Historic Site
Tour four areas from the mid 1800s all now owned by the state: The Bishop Hill Museum, the Colony Church, the Colony Hotel and the Village Park. Self-guided tour brochures explain the significance of each site. At the museum, admire paintings by Olof Krans, who documented life in the Bishop Hill Colony in the mid-19th century and painted residents' portraits.
The Bishop Hill Heritage Association operates two museums: the 1854 Steeple Building, with exhibits on town history, and the 1908 Albert Krans Livery Stable, which highlights horse-related items from the early 1900s.
Bishop Hill hosts a variety of events each year including Jordbruksdagarna (last full weekend in September), a harvest festival with food, music, crafts and games; Lucia Nights in December, a Swedish holiday tradition; and Julotta, a Christmas morning candlelight service at the Colony Church.
The Filling Station
Swedish pancakes, rhubarb pie and hamburgers all share the menu at this casual locally owned spot.
Swedish-American cuisine stars at this restaurant, especially known for its Swedish meatballs and bread pudding.
The 1855 inn, with five guest rooms, is close to the main attractions, shops and restaurants.
More information: visitbishophill.com