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.
Search Illinois Periodicals Online for more of Bishop Hill’s remarkable history.
Renew your spirit in this peaceful place.
Discover why Bishop Hill remains a utopia on the prairie today!
Experience an ancient Swedish traditional bonfire as we welcome spring’s return at the Vasa National Archives. Yard games and activities will be available to the whole family. Hot dogs for roasting, buns, coffee, iced tea, and hot chocolate will be provided. This event is free and open to the public. Visitors are encouraged to bring a dish to share. 6pm, VASA Museum. 309-927-3898
Learn to weave with Jeannie Hawkie at the Colony School and spend the night in Bishop Hill. Looms are provided. Call Twinflower Inn at 309-927-3506.
A bedazzling display of color will fill the Colony School. May 19 and 20, 10am-5pm and May 21, 10am-4pm. Quilts may be antique, miniature, patchwork, applique, or something else. $5.00 admission. See quilt exhibits throughout town including special programs and displays at Dairy and Steeple Buildings. For more information call the Village Smithy at 309-927-3851.