In 1846, a group of Swedish immigrants seeking religious freedom left their native land under the guidance of their charismatic spiritual leader, Erik Jansson. The site for their new utopia, later called Bishop Hill, was described to them as a “land of plenty, brimming with milk and honey,” and they struggled to make it so. These Janssonists built a successful communal society based on economic and religious principles. Many of the structures erected during this building campaign still exist. The colony grew and flourished for fifteen years before disbanding in 1861.
Today Bishop Hill is a quiet country village where the charm and character of the original colony have survived the test of time. Bishop Hill is a National Landmark Village, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and it is an Illinois State Historic Site. Join us! We invite you to taste the history of this once-bustling 19th century settlement. Sample our fascinating museums, quaint eateries, unique gift shops, and art galleries. Peek into the past at our seasonal festivals and holiday celebrations. Spend hours or days here with family and friends.
Renew your spirit in this peaceful place.
Discover why Bishop Hill remains a utopia on the prairie today!
Tim Pletkovich, author of Civil War Fathers, will present a program based on his book at 1:30 pm in the Dairy Building located at 410 North Erickson Street. Civil War Fathers is the story of eight American families whose fathers fought in the Civil War and whose sons and daughters fought in World War II. This free program is sponsored by the Bishop Hill Heritage Association. For more details, call 309 927-3899.
Held at the Colony School Friday and Saturday from 9am-4pm. Local elves make cookies that are sure to please everyone. Come purchase holiday baked goods by the pound.
Take a break from holiday shopping; stop in at the Vasa National Archives to help make a paper mache Dala Horse during Bishop Hill's Julmarknad weekend. On Friday, starting at 10am, the form will be built by adding layers of paper mache to the Dala Horse frame. Painting will begin at 10am on Saturday. This project is open to all ages, especially children. We invite the whole community to impart personal touches to the project, making it a unique symbol of the Swedish traditions we celebrate! The Vasa National Archives is located at 109 South Bishop Hill Street in Bishop Hill, IL.