About Ogle County
What is now Ogle County was once a part of the Northwest Territory.
In 1809 the Territory of Illinois was formed and included Wisconsin and Peninsular Michigan. In 1818 Illinois, in its present boundaries, became the 21st State to join the Union.
Ogle County was formed in 1836 from a part of Jo Daviess County. It included what we know as Lee County.
The name, Ogle, was suggested by Thos. Ford in memory of Capt. Joseph Ogle who distinguished himself for his courage and coolness in the early days of the State’s history.
The first session of the Ogle County Commissioners’ Court was held at Oregon on January 3, 1837, and Oregon was chosen to be the County Seat.
Because there was so much dissension, efforts were made to divide the County and on February 27, 1839, the Legislature approved an act creating Lee County out of the southern half of Ogle county, with Dixon as its County Seat.
In December 1839, the County Board ordered the town of Oregon to be called Florence. In 1843, however, it was renamed Oregon at the suggestion of Sarah Phelps, daughter of the founder of Oregon, John Phelps.
Names of other towns were once different than those used today. Rochelle was once called Lane; Byron, Bloomingville; Polo, Buffalo Grove and St. Mary’s. Plans for a courthouse were adopted on December 4, 1838, and in 1841 the building was completed – only to be burned before it could be occupied.
The present courthouse was completed for occupancy in 1891 at a total cost of $106,951.46 for building and equipment.
On November 6, 1849, the electorate voted for township organization and the Commissioner’ Court appointed three men to divide the county into towns. Their report, filed February 5, 1850 named nineteen townships, comprising an area of 757 sq. mi. The first special meeting of the Board of Supervisors was held November 11, 1850.
In 1972, in compliance with the State Legislature’s decision on reapportionment, Ogle County held its first election to elect County Board members.
The county was divided into four districts, with six members from each district. This replaced the system whereby the township supervisors served as the County Board. A supervisor may also be a County Board member but not necessarily.
The 1998 estimated census shows a County population of 50,511. There are presently approximately 30,539 registered voters.
Three State parks are located in Ogle County. The White Pines State Park is located on the Pines Road between Polo and Oregon. Lowden Memorial Park is one mile north of Oregon on the east side of Rock River. Lorado Taft’s famous Blackhawk statue and the Northern Illinois University Field Campus are located in the Lowden Memorial Park. Castle Rock State Park is located on Illinois Route 2 south of Oregon. Lowden-Miller State Forest is located 5 miles South of Oregon on South Lowden Road.
Weld Park, located in Marion Township, was given to the County to maintain as a County Park. Sinnissippi Farms southeast of Oregon in Oregon/Nashua Township is the home of former Governor Frank O. Lowden.
The Lowden Boy Scout Camp and Camp Medill McCormick for Girl Scouts are located in Ogle County. In 1962 the Ogle County Historical Society opened a museum in the Ruby Nash home in Oregon. This is open to the public on weekends during the summer months.
Renovation of the interior of the Courthouse was completed in 1984 at a cost of $1,500,000.00.