Sunday, December 4, 2016

Lost Towns of Illinois - Brush Hill, then Fullersburg, Illinois (now Hinsdale).

Fullersburg was a settlement in Downers Grove Township and York Township, DuPage County, Illinois near the Cook County border. The area was originally called Brush Hill and was claimed by Orente Grant when the Indian land in Illinois was ceded to the United States in 1833. 

Benjamin Fuller is known as the founder of Fullersburg. He arrived in 1835, returned east to Broome County, New York, and brought his entire family back with him with the exception of one married sister. There were 13 in the family and it took 17 weeks to travel from New York. The oldest daughters came by boat through the Great Lakes and the rest by covered wagon. Benjamin Fuller served as the postmaster, innkeeper, and storekeeper.

Fuller built his Greek Revival-style farmhouse about 1840. The farmhouse was originally located at 948 North York Road. The house was built using a new technique invented in Chicago called "balloon frame" construction. The Fuller house is probably the oldest remaining example of balloon frame construction in the world.
Graue Mill is Located on Salt Creek in Hinsdale, Illinois.

Fuller started several businesses in the area and owned most of the land in the center of town. One of his early enterprises was "The Farmer's House", a grocery, which is the pioneer word for a bar or saloon. Today, the structure is known as the York Tavern and is privately owned. 

The center of old Fullersburg, located at what is the present-day intersection of Ogden Avenue and York Road, was situated at the crossroads of two Indian trails. Ben Fuller platted this area around the crossroads in 1851. This location, as well as its one day's distance from Chicago, meant that it served as both a trading center for area settlers and a way station for travelers. 

In 1832, the town was a stagecoach destination from Chicago with regular service established by the Frink & Walker Stage Lines by 1834. Wagon and coach traffic became so heavy that a plank road was privately built from Chicago to Naperville, reaching Fullersburg in 1850. A toll house was erected at the eastern edge of Fullersburg near the Cook County line. At this time over 500 horse and oxen teams passed by each day. Many herds of cattle were also driven to market over the road to Chicago.
The Stagecoach wasn't as glamorous as the movies made them out to be.
Many notable people passed through Fullersburg including Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. Lincoln spoke from a hotel porch in 1858 on his way west to Ottawa. By 1860, Fullersburg had become one of the leading communities of DuPage County. Its buildings included 15 to 20 houses, two hotels, three taverns, a post office, a blacksmith shop, a school, a cemetery, and a grist mill. 

Though never incorporated in its own name, the area is historically important to the development of Hinsdale and Oak Brook, Illinois. 

To save the farmhouse from demolition by encroaching commercial development, the structure was relocated to land owned by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County from its original location in 1980.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Because the Naperville Road (Ogden Avenue) was the main trail west from Chicago, it was the first road to be covered with wooden planks by the South Western Plank Road Company, and consequently called the Southwestern Plank Road. The road was completed in 1850 and extended from Bull's Head Tavern at Ogden and Madison in Chicago, to Brush Hill (later Fullersburg, Illinois). 

The Southwestern Plank Road was a one-lane road, eight feet wide and constructed of planks three inches thick. A tollgate was located at Joliet and Ogden Avenues and charged the following tolls: 

37¢ - Carriage pulled by two horses.
25¢ - Carriage, cart, or buggy pulled by one horse. 
10¢ - Horse and rider. 
 4¢ - Head of cattle. 
 3¢ - Sheep. 

The plank road was later connected to another plank road at Fullersburg. This was the Oswego Plank Road that reached Naperville.

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