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!
Celebrate the 170th anniversary of the Colony and the 120th year of the Old Settlers' Association. Festivities start with a parade at 10am! See more here. A traditional chicken dinner is served at 11:30am at the Colony School. In the Village Park attend a band concert at 12:15pm and a program featuring Colony descendants at 1:30pm. See the 2011 parade here. For more info or to participate in the Parade please call 309-927-3044.
Former students and teachers from the Colony School and area country schools meet annually to celebrate. 2-4pm.
Bishop Hill's biggest event features traditional 19th century demonstrations, harvest activities, music, dancing, farm produce, and Old Settlers' Colony Stew. New this year will be a gathering of proprietors in the village park selling early country antiques, primitives, and handcrafted goods. See blacksmithing demonstrations in the park and enjoy live music behind the Bjorklund Hotel. Sneak a peak at the fun in this short video clip. 10am-5pm.