Kane County government will celebrate its 185th birthday on Saturday, Jan. 16 — a good time to reflect on the history of a local government body that now serves more than 530,000 people.
“As Kane County has adapted and changed, it still remains what our founders envisioned: a county that protects its rural heritage, and historic cities and villages, while welcoming its future,” Kane County Board Madam Chairman Corinne Pierog said.
According to the Kane County History PDF, which you can find on the county Of Kane website, the Illinois legislature formed a new county on Jan. 16, 1836, and named it after Elias Kent Kane, the highly-respected attorney who helped draft the Illinois constitution and was Illinois’ first secretary of state.
Kane was later elected to Congress and represented Illinois in the U.S. Senate until his death in 1835.
The new “Kane County” included what is now DeKalb County and part of the northern portions of Kendall. DeKalb subsequently separated from Kane County in 1837 and Kendall in 1841.
‘LaFox’ — aka Geneva — Was First County Seat
A committee of three members of the legislature selected LaFox (Geneva) as the Kane County seat since James Herrington’s Tavern and Inn, located on North State Street near the Fox River, had the only post office in the County.
Herrington’s Tavern also served as the first county courthouse.
On June 4, 1836, 180 men gathered at the tavern to elect officials for the new county: three commissioners, a sheriff, a recorder of deeds, a coroner, and a surveyor.
The Illinois Constitution of 1848 empowered counties to change their form of government and the residents of Kane County, mostly from New England, chose the county-township type.
Sixteen townships were created — all of which exist today, although some by other names: Hampshire, Jackson (Rutland), Dundee, Burlington, Washington (Plato), Elgin, Franklin (Virgil), Fairfield (Campton), St. Charles, Royalton (Kaneville), Blackberry, Geneva, Batavia, Little and Big Rock, Sugar Grove, and Fox River (Aurora).
The following year, the responsibilities of the county commissioners were divided. The administration of the county was transferred to a Board of Supervisors consisting of one supervisor from each of the 16 townships.
Another elected office, that of the Kane County Clerk, was added. A chief judge and two associate judges assumed the judicial responsibilities formerly held by the commissioners.
The form of government for Kane County changed again in 1972 when the Illinois legislature abolished the Board of Supervisors and established the County Board.
Kane County was divided into 26 districts and one board member was elected from each district. The new 26 member County Board took office in May, 1972.
Since that time, the County Board has been reduced to 24 members, all of whom also serve as commissioners of the Forest Preserve District of Kane County — although the two government entities are distinct taxing bodies, with separate missions, staff and organizational structure.
Today, Kane County government serves more than 532,000 people, according to 2019 U.S. Census data, and provides an array of government services essential to the quality of life in our neck of the woods, including public health, county courts, criminal justice, law enforcement, local elections, economic development, veterans services, public records and much more.
Learn More About Kane County
- Mission and Vision Statement
- Find your District
- Kane County History
- Document Library
- Strategic Plan
Read The Kane County History Series!
- 1850-1925 Geneva — When Penmanship Was Mightier Than The Sword
- St. Charles Museum Site — From Serving Gas To Preserving History
- Elgin Puts 3,500 Priceless Photos Online
- Batavia-Inspired Miniatures Thrilled a Nation
- Aurora’s Maud Powell, World Famous Violinist
- Waxing Nostalgic on Geneva’s WGSB, WFXW
- American Doughboys of WWI — in St. Charles, IL
- Experience High-Tech History at April 21 ‘Open Elgin’ Event
- Batavia, IL — ‘Windmill Capital of The World’
- Meet Andy Aurora, Man About Town
- Celebrating The 50th Anniversary of 9-1-1 in Geneva
- Blue Goose And Evergreen Pub — ‘Shop Local’ 90 Years In The Making
- Elgin Is The Apple of Illinois Bicentennial’s Eye
- Nordens Soner And Batavia’s Swedish Society
- Aurora’s Melting Pot ‘Yearning To Breathe Free’
- Candles, Timing Devices, Phonographs And The ‘Life Cup’ — All Things Made in Geneva
- Hotel Baker, The ‘Masterpiece’ of The Fox Valley
- Elgin Celebrates Our Once-Burgeoning Dairy Business
- Reflections of Batavia’s Quarry Beach Pool
- Aurora’s Mabel O’Donnell, Author of “Alice And Jerry’ Books
- As Alice (Davis) Says, ‘Schools Out For Summer!’
- Elgin Watches, ‘The World’s Standard’
- Aurora Silverplate a Symbol of Good Taste
- Women Leaders Played Huge Roles in Geneva
- Nationally Renowned Summer Camp in St. Charles
- The Harrowing Story of William Lynch, Elgin’s Civil War Brigadier General
- Batavia Powered The Aurora, Elgin & Chicago Railway
- Corsets Doing Big Business in Aurora? Scandalous!
- One Block of Geneva Tells 1,001 Fantastic Stories
- St. Charles’ Evergreen Pub — The ‘Before’ Photos
- 1917-18 — When Elgin Artists Went to War
- Thomas Cleveland — Batavia’s Presidential Connection
- Do Your Wurst — Aurora Meat Markets Are ‘In’ Again
- Geneva Is The Place For Graveyards And Ghosts
- Visit Amelia Anderson At St. Charles’ North Side Cemetery
- Calling All Artists! … For a Cobblestone Reflection in Elgin
- Batavia’s 108-Year-Old Gazebo Still Lights The Way
- The Compelling, Tragic Story of Aurora’s Black WWI Hero Frank Boger
- Geneva History Museum Invites Artists To Celebrate Cultural Heritage
- Elgin’s Anson Clark Soared in The Great War … And Life
- What It Meant To Be a Patrol Boy and Louise White School
- ‘Men’s Night’ Christmas Shopping Was a 1950’s Aurora Phenomenon
- St. Charles Remembers Colson’s Christmas-Day Fire of ’33
- The Art of Elgin’s Cobblestone Reflections
- When Suffrage Met Prohibition in Batavia
- Geneva Presents The Art of The Fox River
- Blansford Astronomical Clock Is Aurora’s Treasure
- St. Charles Returns Family Heirlooms From WWII
- Museum Lands Painting By Elgin Artist Albert Kenney
- Cars Still Fixed at Historic Location in Downtown Batavia
- A Bird’s-Eye View of 19th Century Geneva
- Sheldon Peck: Kane County’s Connection To The Underground Railroad
- Elgin High School Celebrates 150 Years of ‘Education For All’
- Batavia’s Incredible Roller Skating History
- The Fabled History of Jewelry Stores in Geneva
- Astonishing Buried Treasure Discovered in Aurora Outhouse
- Lincoln Elementary School in St. Charles Celebrates 90 Years of Education
- Remembering Elgin High Grad, Renowned Composer Daniel Brewbaker, 1951 – 2017
- Meet Batavia’s Sharron Moran, LPGA Star, ‘Most Beautiful Golfer’ of 1966
- The Many Iterations of Geneva’s National Food Store
- The Burlington Zephyr — A ‘Silver Streak’ Through Aurora
- What IS That Thing in Downtown St. Charles?
- 18 Events, Limited-Edition Poster For Preservation Month in Elgin!
- Julius Amandus Anderson’s WWI Memorial Trapunto Banner
- Geneva’s Swedish Days Celebrates Its 70th Anniversary
- The Historic Drive To Save Aurora’s GAR Hall
- The Story of St. Charles’ Paddlewheel Riverboats
- Meet Elgin’s Legendary Marshal — Andrew Barclay Spurling
- Jackie DeShannon ‘Put A Little Love’ In Batavia
- Aurora’s William S. Hart, Cowboy Movie Star
- St. Charles’ First Settlers, One Lost, Found Again
- Discover The Elgin Stories All Around You
- Batavia’s WWI French Connection
- Amazing Stories Behind Geneva’s Extraordinary Parks
- Roots Aurora Seeks 2019 Nominations For Aurora Cultural Champions
- Newly Renovated Thompson Middle School Retains Memories of St. Charles High
- Elgin’s Bluff City Cemetery Memorializes City’s Past
- Batavia Connection to 1969 Moon Landing
- Geneva Company Made Huge Contribution to Art Deco
- East Vs. West 1914 — Aurora’s Greatest Football Game
- North, Union Cemeteries Are St. Charles’ Hallowed Grounds
- Elgin Temperance Crusaders Take Hatchet To Beer Fans
- Ever Heard of Clybourneville? (Hint: It’s Now in Batavia)
- Geneva Ghost Stories Rise From Former Hospital Site
- Aurora Tells The Cows To Shut Up
- Baby Face Nelson And 100 Years of St. Charles Boys School ‘Good, Bad And Ugly’
- Behold The Telegraph, Elgin’s First Digital Communication!
- Mary Bailey, Batavia’s Trailblazing Woman Lawyer
- Holiday Traditions, Historic Creche at Geneva History Museum
- Welcome To Thanksgiving Dinner at Aurora’s Tanner House
- St. Charles’ Whiskey Bend Signaled Boom Time For Taverns
- From Elgin Watch Cases To 4.2 Mortar Shells
- Lorraine James’ Art Leaves Lasting Impression on Batavia
- Geneva Remembers The Tornado of 1967
- New Year’s Calling in Aurora
- Newly Digitized Footage Documents Construction of St. Charles Municipal Building
- ‘New Year’s Calling’ in Aurora Was The Online Dating of Late 1800s
- A Woman’s Right To Vote — In Elgin
- How The Household Journal Came To Batavia
- Geneva’s East Side — From Dodson To Dog ‘N’ Suds
- On Leap Year, ‘She-Wolves of Aurora’ Have ‘Gender-Swapping Fun’
- Mary Todd Lincoln, Batavia Resident
- The Women Who Broke Codes at Riverbank Labs in Geneva
- Turn Around in Aurora And You’ll Bump Into a Luxembourger
- Geneva History Museum Offers COVID-19 Journal
- Aurora’s Amazing Family Portrait Exhibit ‘A Brilliant Idea’
- How St. Charles Survived The Spanish Flu in 1918
- Elgin Epidemics — COVID-19 Is Not The First To Bring Suffering, Sorrow
- Geneva Museum Passes Milestone
- Aurora’s African-American Police Officers
- Garner Family Is St. Charles’ Juneteenth Celebration Story
- Notable Black Americans From Elgin, IL
- Black Batavians Played Key Roles in History
- Geneva History Museum Reveals Archive Redesign
- Family Secrets — Historian Finds 1866 ‘I Love … ‘ Message Scratched in Tanner House Window
- Cut Glass Was Booming During Roaring 20s in St. Charles
- Elgin Remembers Devastating Palm Sunday 1920 Tornadoes
- Batavians Find Treasure in 150-Year-Old Privies
- Geneva Hosts Virtual Night at The Museum
- Visit Aurora’s Tanner House — With a Click of The Mouse
- Elgin Cemetery Walk Is Virtual Travel Through Time
- James Prindle Jr.’s Roll Top Desk Returns To Batavia
- 60 Years Ago, Kennedy Campaigned in Geneva
- Aurora’s 1894 Central Station Proud Home of Regional Fire Museum
- Meet The Doctors Who Helped Shape St. Charles
- Secret Symbolism in Elgin’s Bluff City Cemetery
- Meet The Doctors Who Shaped St. Charles’ History
- Batavia Inventor Paul Hassler And His Arithstyle Adding Machine
- The ‘Background’ on Geneva’s Famous Creche
- Aurora Soldier’s Diary Reveals Gripping Story of War, Love, Pain And Heroism
- St. Charles’ Delnor Hospital — A Thanksgiving Gift in 1940
- Meet Elgin’s Mary Muirhead of The WWI Army Nurse Corps
- Geneva’s Holiday Giving Tradition Continues Despite Pandemic
- Remembering The Days When Aurorans Cut Ice on The Fox River
- Arcada Plans Next Chapter of St. Charles History
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The courthouses are built . . .
In 1837 the County offices were moved out of Herrington’s Tavern into a new Courthouse on the corner of
4th and State Streets in Geneva. Total construction cost for this Courthouse was $3,000. Seven years
later Kane County had outgrown these quarters and a new Courthouse, constructed of quarry stone, was
built on the site of the present Geneva City Hall on Rt. 31.
Overcrowding in the jail and the Courthouse soon created a
need for a newer and larger building, and in 1854 bids were
let for construction at the site of the present Courthouse on
3rd Street in Geneva. Disputes with the contractor over
completion dates and workmanship prevented the building
from being occupied until 1857.
The new Courthouse was a magnificent structure, considered
the most important architectural monument in Kane County. It
was designed by John M. Van Osdel, one of Chicago’s
leading architects. The ornate, three-story limestone building
was capped with a large cupola which became a favorite
valley vantage point.
On the night of March 13, 1890, Kane County lost one of its most prized buildings when the Courthouse
burned. Fortunately, the records of the recorder, County Clerk, and the Circuit Clerk were locked in
fireproof vaults and not damaged.
For the next two years, the County rented a house at 2nd and Campbell Streets in Geneva for $30 a
month in order to conduct County business. The clerks crowded into the various rooms and the judges
held court in the dining room.