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Community Information


Princeton Main Street, 1909

The early settlement of Princeton began in the 1830’s when families from New England and later the Mid-Atlantic states traveled west seeking good farm land. Princeton proved to be an ideal location because the land was an undulating, mostly treeless, grass-covered plain. In addition, the soil was very fertile and well drained.

When settling new land, it became common for new arrivals to come in groups to ensure congenial neighbors, schools and religious affiliations. The Hampshire Colony is believed to have been the first of these organizations to settle in Northern Illinois. The settlers arrived in Princeton in 1831, the same year the city was surveyed and a rough draft was laid out. They soon built the Hampshire Colony Congregational Church and employed as one of its earliest pastors, Owen Lovejoy, the well-known abolitionist. In addition, Reverend Lovejoy used his own home to hide runaway slaves and in 1854 he was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives. Prior and during the Civil War, Princeton became an important station on the Underground Railroad.

Shortly before the Civil War broke out, the citizens were able to convince the Burlington Railroad to lay its rails within a mile of the city. Within a few years the community had expanded its main street to meet the railroad and this action indeed benefited the community and insured its future growth.

The first high school in the state of Illinois was built in Princeton between 1866 and 1868 with the first commencement taking place in 1870. Unfortunately, this building was destroyed by fire in 1924 and was replaced by the present building in late 1925.

Those early settlers to Princeton thrived on the rich prairie and many became very wealthy. Thus, they were able to contribute in many ways to the growth and development of the community. As they retired and passed their farmland to the next generation, it became a tradition for retirees to move into town and build a grand home for their retirement years. Many of these large, beautiful homes remain and are lovingly cared for by today’s residents.

Bureau County Historical Society

The Society is an outgrowth of the Old Settlers Meeting held in Princeton’s Converse Hall on January 12, 1865. The Early Settlers Society of Bureau County was proposed as a permanent organization in September 1867, and members were encouraged to save items for use in a future museum.

A resolution was adopted at the 46th Annual Meeting in 1911 to officially begin organizing a Bureau County Historical Society. The Early Settlers Society disbanded in 1920 and united with the Bureau County Historical Society. The society was then given space in the new Courthouse for a museum where exhibits were on display from 1938 to 1948. In 1946, the Clark-Norris home was bequeathed to the Historical Society by Grace Clark Norris, daughter of the original owners, and the BCHS moved there in 1948.

Because of storage and space constraints, we are not able to accept every item that is offered to us. But articles of significant historical value, particularly to Bureau County, continue to be gratefully received by the Historical Society. For more information, visit the Bureau County Historical Society Museum at

Princeton Public Library

698 East Peru Street
Princeton, IL

By adoption of an ordinance on April 18, 1885, a donation of $11,862.67 made to the City of Princeton by the last will of Nehemiah Matson for the purpose of establishing a free public library was accepted by the city council in trust. In February 27, 1886, the first Board of Directors of Matson Public Library was confirmed by the city council and the library opened its doors.

The first meeting of the new Board of Directors took place on March 10, 1886 and for the next three years, the Nehemiah Matson fund was held as an investment until a location for the library was decided upon and secured. After a lengthy process, it was decided that the first library was to be located in the building at what is now 529 South Main Street in Princeton, IL.

In 1890, we were already expanding. The Matson Public Library located on South Main Street in Princeton was first opened for use by the public. It remained in use for 22 years. In the summer of 1912, the Chicago architectural firm of Patton & Miller was contracted to begin work on the permanent library facility in the main square of Princeton. A year later, the new facility was opened to the public.

94 years later, a city-wide referendum was passed to allow construction to begin on a new, 28,000 square foot facility at 698 East Peru Street. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in August 2007 when the new facility was given to the people of Princeton.

Bureau County Genealogical Society

629 S Main St
Princeton, IL

“The purpose of the society shall be to encourage the science of genealogy, to help others gather genealogical information, to preserve and publish material of historical and genealogical nature – all for educational purposes. The emphasis will be on Bureau County, but will include other counties, states, and countries.”

Regular meetings of the Society are held on the fourth Thursday evening of each month at the Society’s library.

Princeton High School Dist. 500

103 South Euclid Avenue
Princeton, IL 61356
(815) 875-3308

Princeton Elementary School

District 115 – District Office
506 East Dover Road
Princeton, IL 61356
(815) 875-3162

Douglas School (PES Dist 115)

220 East LaSalle Street
Princeton, IL 61356
(815) 872-9741

Jefferson School (PES Dist 115)

725 West Putnam
Princeton, IL 61356
(815) 875-4417

Lincoln Elementary School (PES Dist 115)

501 South Euclid Avenue
Princeton, IL 61356
(815) 875-1164

Logan Junior High School (PES Dist 115)

302 West Central Street
Princeton, IL 61356
(815) 875-6415

Princeton Christian Academy (K-8)

21890 US Highway 34
Princeton, IL 61356
(815) 875-2933

Illinois Valley Community College

815 North Orlando Smith Avenue
Oglesby, IL 61348
(815) 224-2720

The People Church

3525 North Main Street
Princeton, IL 61356
(815) 915-8229

Princeton Bible Church

21890 US Hwy 34
Princeton, IL 61356
(815) 875-2933

St. Louis Catholic Church

616 South Gosse Blvd.
Princeton, IL 61356
(815) 879-0181

Church of Christ

211 North Pleasant Street
Princeton, IL 61356
(815) 872-7871

Hampshire Colony Congregational Church

604 South Church Street
Princeton, IL 61356
(815) 875-2329

Evangelical Covenant Church

24 North Main Street
Princeton, IL 61356
(815) 875-2124

Christ Community Church

1719 South Euclid Avenue
Princeton, IL 61356
(815) 879-3227

First Lutheran Church of Princeton

116 North Pleasant Street
Princeton, IL 61356
(815) 875-1685

St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church

15199 2825 East Street
Princeton IL 61356
(815) 875-2313


St. Matthews Lutheran Church

416 East Dover Road
Princeton, IL 61356
(815) 879-6491

First United Methodist Church

316 South Church Street
Princeton, IL 61356
(815) 872-2821

New Hope Church of the Nazarene

30 North 6th Street
Princeton, IL 61356
(815) 875-1900

United Pentecostal Church

2303 South Main Street
Princeton, IL 61356
(815) 872-1831

First Presbyterian Church

320 Park Avenue East
Princeton, IL 61356
(815) 875-1306

Bethel Baptist Church

1028 South 6th Street
Princeton, IL 61356
(815) 879-9181

Open Prairie United Church of Christ

25 East Marion Street
Princeton, IL  61356
(815) 872-5150

Princeton Wesleyan Church

421 East Dover Road
Princeton, IL 61356
(815) 879-4481 

OSF St. Clare Medical Center

530 Park Avenue East
Princeton, IL

Welcoming, authentic, neighborly care where our providers take the time to learn about you as a person, forging a relationship built on mutual respect. Perry is a place where you feel heard, providers care, and together solutions are created for your health and wellness.

Simply put, Perry is proud to provide a quality health experience through providers with big hearts and extensive wisdom, dedicated to cultivating healthy strong communities.

When you connect with one of our providers, good things will happen. You can count on Perry in any time of need.

  • State of the Art Imaging Center
  • Laboratory
  • Medical Rehabilitation – Physical, Occupational Cardio-Pulmonary and Speech Therapies
  • Sleep Center
  • Emergency Department staffed with Board Certified Emergency Physicians
  • Open 365 days 24/7

“I cannot say enough good things about this wonderful small town hospital. While being stranded in Princeton due to weather, my husband who has health issues became critically ill. The ER staff was as efficient as any and more caring than many. This held true in the ICU and in the regular floor. I was never left out of the care planning and no staff ever acted too busy to listen to me or answer questions. Michael was never left wondering when his ring would be answered or what procedure was being performed. God was with us during the blizzard and when he sent us to Perry Memorial. So many heartfelt thanks to you all.” – Linda McGonigle

Perry offers primary care, general surgery, orthopedic, podiatric, wound care, and pain management clinics, staffed by a variety of over 100 specialty providers. Perry Memorial Hospital, Clinics, and Specialty Providers are all located at 530 Park Avenue East, Princeton, and 815-875-2811.

Perry Memorial Prompt Care

2128 N. Main St.
Princeton, IL
815-875-CARE (2273)

When there’s urgency but no emergency, count on Perry Memorial Prompt Care. Get fast, expert care for unexpected illnesses or injuries.

Prompt Care is a great alternative for people of all ages who do not have a life-threatening condition and have a need to treat a minor illness or injury. Perry’s Prompt Care offers on-site X-ray and limited laboratory services and will be seen by our qualified, compassionate staff on a walk in basis and often are out the door within an hour. Out of town visitors are welcomed. Perry Memorial Prompt Care is located at 2128 North Main Street, Princeton offering services Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. 815-875-CARE (2273).

St. Margaret’s Center for Family Health

1916 N. Main St
Princeton, IL

St. Margaret’s Center for Family Health provides Princeton and the surrounding communities with a full range of primary care for all ages, including walkin care for minor injuries and illnesses, along with comprehensive obstetrical and gynecological care for women. Expanded lab services and diagnostic testing, including digital x-ray and OB sonograms, also offered on-site. Together, board-certified physicians Benjamin Shepherd, MD, and Ralph Narinedhat, MD, along with Tamara Workman, PA-C, a certified physician assistant, bring complete family care to the center.