The largest city in Henry County, Kewanee, Illinois takes its name from a Winnebago word for "prairie chicken" and was named the "Friendliest Town in America," according to the 2013 Rand McNally Best of the Road. With a population of over 12,000 residents, this city was once well known as the home of the Kewanee Boiler Corporation, a North American leader in the production and sales of fire-tube boilers.
For those looking for the right balance between urban amenities and small town living, Kewanee is all you could ask for. The Quad Cities, Peoria and Galesburg are all within a short driving distance and the recently remodeled Amtrak station serves as a hub for travel to Chicago.
The city of Kewanee is home to two school districts: Kewanee Community School District #229 and Wethersfield Community School District #230. Both districts combined serve over 2,500 students a year and provide access to six schools, serving grades PreK-12. In addition, Kewanee is home to Visitation Catholic School, a private Catholic school serving children from Pre-K through eighth grade.
Kewanee is also the home of Black Hawk College - East Campus, a non-residential college that serves students across nine counties in northwestern Illinois. Operated as one college with two campuses, Black Hawk College offers more than more than 100 educational programs and is nationally recognized for its equestrian program and livestock judging teams.
Kewanee, Illinois serves as a regional retail center for northwestern Illinois and boasts two major shopping districts. The Southtown district includes several general retail shops and gift stores.
Downtown Kewanee is known across the Midwest for its furniture and home stores as well as niche stores catering to special needs such as sporting goods, men's clothing and home decor.
History comes alive on 15 hand-painted murals in the downtown area; each one depicts significant events, places and people to Kewanee. The murals were painted in 2013 during the Walldog Meet, which featured over 200 artists.
For the outdoor lovers, Kewanee is home to a variety of parks of all sizes that offer a variety of activities including hunting, fishing, boating, camping and more.
The most notable parks include Baker Park, which features an 18-hole golf course and pro shop and two-mile scenic drive and Francis Park, home of the Woodland Palace Museum, Shelter House and the annual Fourth of July Festival. Golf lovers will also appreciate Kewanee Dunes, a semi-private golf course located four miles southwest of the city.
The city, known as the "Hog Capital of the World," is host to the annual Hog Days Festival, held during Labor Day weekend and featuring a carnival, mud volleyball games, and a parade.
Whether it's jazz in the park or a dramatic play put on by a local theatre group, Kewanee offers plenty to do and see when it comes to the arts. Kewanee High School is home to the recently renovated Petersen Auditorium, a first-rate facility for plays, concerts and events.
The Black Hawk Community Choir, a 40-voice group, performs concerts twice a year during Christmas and in the spring.
Kewanee's municipal airport is home to two air shows every year: the National Stearman Association fly-in, featuring dozes of pre-World War II bi-planes and the Midwest Aeronca fly-in, featuring dozens of vintage two-seater lightplanes.
In Kewanee, churches are an important part of the city's culture. A variety of Christian denominations have churches in Kewanee and they offer more than just weekly worship services. Church-sponsored events, youth services, and volunteer opportunities are just a few of the features offered by the churches of Kewanee.
If you are looking for a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, but still have access to a range of amenities, then look no further than Kewanee, Illinois. There are also a variety of smaller communities and townships in the Henry County area as well.