Illinois is a state of the United States and the 21st state admitted to the Union. Illinois is the most populous state in the Midwest and the fifth most populous in the nation. Its balance of the metropolis of Chicago and its suburbs in the northeast, as well as rural areas, small industrial cities, and the coal mines of the south give it a highly diverse economic base. Its central location, connecting the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River via the Illinois River, made it a transportation hub for 150 years.
About 2,000 Native American hunters and a small number of French villagers inhabited the area at the time of the American Revolution. American settlers began arriving from Kentucky in the 1810s; they achieved statehood in 1818. Yankees arrived a little later and dominated the north, founding the future city of Chicago in the 1830s. The coming of the railroads in the 1850s made highly profitable the rich prairie farmlands in central Illinois, attracting large numbers of immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden. Northern Illinois provided major support for Illinoisans Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant during the American Civil War. By 1900, factories were being rapidly built in the northern cities, along with coal mines in central and southern areas. This industrialization attracted large numbers of immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe, and also led to the state's material contribution as a major arsenal in both world wars. In addition to immigrants from Europe, large numbers of blacks left the cotton fields of the South to come to Chicago, where they developed a renowned jazz culture.
The Avery Coonley School is an independent, coeducational day school serving academically gifted students in preschool through eighth grade (approximately ages 3 to 14), and is located in Downers Grove. The school was founded in 1906 to promote the progressive educational theories developed by John Dewey and other turn-of-the-20th-century philosophers, and was a nationally recognized model for progressive education well into the 1940s. From 1943 to 1965, Avery Coonley was part of the National College of Education (now National-Louis University), serving as a living laboratory for teacher training and educational research. In the 1960s, ACS became a regional research center and a leadership hub for independent schools, and began to focus on the education of the gifted.
The school has occupied several structures in its history, including a small cottage on the Coonley Estate in Riverside, Illinois, and another building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It moved to Downers Grove in 1916 and became the Avery Coonley School in 1929, with a new 10.45-acre (4.23 ha) campus designed in the Prairie and Arts and Crafts styles, landscaped by Jens Jensen, who was known as "dean of the world's landscape architects". The campus has been expanded several times since the 1980s to create more space for arts, technology, and classrooms. Avery Coonley was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007, citing the "long-lasting influence on schools throughout the country" of the educational program and the design of the building and grounds. (Read more...)
Joseph W. Tkach was the appointed successor of Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God. Tkach became President and Pastor General of the church upon the death of Armstrong in 1986. Tkach spearheaded a major doctrinal transformation of the Worldwide Church of God, abandoning Armstrong's unconventional doctrines and bringing the church into accord with mainstream evangelical Christianity. His son, Joseph Tkach Jr., continued his work and in 1997 the Worldwide Church of God became a member of the National Association of Evangelicals.
During Tkach's tenure, the changes that he implemented stirred much controversy and significant dissent among those who continued to follow Armstrong's theology. The dissenters labelled the changes as heresy and many left to form new church organizations. Within the mainstream Christian community, some have hailed Tkach's reforms, which brought a church from the fringe to orthodoxy, as unprecedented in the history of the Christian church. (Read more...)
- May 19-21, 2012: Chicago is scheduled to be the host city for the large scale NATO summit of world leaders (NATO official website).
- August 17, 2010: Former Governor Rod Blagojevich is found guilty on felony charges of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Twenty-two other counts resulted in a hung jury. (Chicago Tribune)
- May 24, 2010: 100,000 pounds of fish are poisoned with Rotenone in the Little Calumet River in an effort to curb the advance of Asian carp. (AP)
- April 1, 2010: John Thornton, the mayor of the village of Washington Park, is found murdered in his car. (AP)
- March 27, 2010: The Democratic Party of Illinois nominates Sheila Simon as its candidate for Lieutenant Governor, replacing candidate Scott Lee Cohen. (AP)
- December 15, 2009: President Barack Obama issues a Presidential memorandum to arrange a transfer of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay detention camp to the Thomson Correctional Center. (CNN)
- July 23, 2009: Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle throws a perfect game, become the 17th in Major League Baseball history to accomplish the feat. (MLB.com)
- July 1, 2009: The Illinois minimum wage rises twenty-five cents to $8.00 an hour. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. (Chicago Sun-Times)
- June 20, 2009: A freight train carrying ethanol derails and explodes in Rockford. One person is killed and nine others were injured. (WIFR)
- June 12, 2009: The U.S. Department of Energy reveals a $1.073 billion plan to develop a clean coal project in Illinois, reversing the stance taken during the George W. Bush administration. (Wall Street Journal)
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