History of Paxton

In the early 1800s, as settlers headed west they may have traveled the Ottawa Trail. A trail that was a very rough road that started in Danville, Illinois. As they braved the plains and marshes they may have stopped to rest at Ten Mile Grove, a settlement just west of Paxton.

Today, Ten Mile Grove still exists with trees and a few homes and the Ottawa Trail is now Ottawa Road, melting in Illinois Route 9.

Swedish Charm

A small Swedish settlement first named Prairie City and later Prospect City came into existence just a few miles west of the grove. In 1859 the name was changed to Paxton and incorporated as a city in August of 1871.

From humble beginnings to being the county seat, Paxton has the charm of fine old homes, a busy downtown and a fine school system. Paxton's roots are deep in agriculture but we continue to grow with expansion and growth in commercial and manufacturing interests.


Located in east Central Illinois, Paxton is situated at the junction of Interstate 57, US Highway 45 and Illinois Route 9, just 30 miles from the University of Illinois and 50 miles from Illinois State University and Illinois Wesleyan University. In 1863 Augustana College was moved to Paxton and twelve years later moved again to Rock Island, Illinois.

Learn About Paxton

We invite you to visit Paxton to learn our heritage and experience our home town. Tour our Carnegie library that was built in 1903, take in the beauty of a two ton wood carving of the Last Supper at the United Methodist Church and visit our shops, museums and restaurants.

Paxton is surrounded by corn fields and has been called a town with three bridges and no lakes, come visit and enjoy yourself.

Bill Ingold
Mayor, City of Paxton