NAME: Caledonia
COUNTY: Putnum
CLIMATE: summer: hot, winter, mild to very cold.
BEST TIME TO VISIT: anytime, if you can find it.
COMMENTS: Caledonia was a farming community which disappeared. I know it was about five miles due west of present day Magnolia.

Existed in 1828, Putnum county,sec. 29,twp 31N, RG01W, township. Magnolia. location: 1150E at about 200N on east side of road. Forgotten Caledonia, from "a Putnum county history" by Jeanne Alleman & Elizabeth immel. Caledonia, Il. was town of 300 people,1830-1831. located on the ox-bow prairie 3-4 miles west of Magnolia, il. the first settler,Lyman Horrum. plat laid out by Jervis Gaylord, Asahel Hannum, Obed Graves ( of the Donner party graves which came from area ); the town was created as protection from indians during Blackhawk wars. The first school was built in 1832. There were two churches. (predestination Baptist, and Methodist).It had stores, blacksmith shop, & post office,(named ox-bow, since there was already a post office named Caledonia in Pulaski county). No industry, a corn crib is the only landmark left. Submitted by: James Demetreon

I recently moved just up the road from Caledonia Cemetery, and thought you might like to know what I have learned about the ghost town that once existed nearby.

Elderly locals refer to the intersection of route 18 and 1150th road "Caledonia Corner", and understand that to be the general location of the town. It is referred to as "Ox-Bow" as well in some old newspaper articles. Up until last year, there was a very old, rectangular, white corn crib very near this intersection - I can't be positive that it was the same that is mentioned in your article, but nonetheless it was taken out completely by a massive tornado the summer of 2010.

The little house that stands on the corner now has been there a very long time, and once served as a speakeasy "roadhouse", according to a gentleman in his 80's who I know very well. It may have indeed been a part of the town - it is an small structure that resembles a double wide trailer in shape, that looks as if it's been added onto several times (not a real antique architectural gem or anything I guess is what you would say). Someone currently lives there, though I don't know them to ask them the history of their house. There is another house that sits immediately next to it that looks also very old, and is also occupied at the moment.

An article from 1873 stated that the school in Caledonia was teaching at least 50 children that year. A summary from "History of Marshall and Putnam County" by Henry Ford states, "Caledonia is a small country town on the Ox Bow Prairie, between three and four miles west of Magnolia. It is in the midst of an old-settled region, and the first post-office in the county existed in this vicinity. There were three houses upon its site in July 1836, when the town was laid out by Asahel Hannum, Jervas Gaylord and Obed Graves. Several blocks in the town-plot were vacated in 1841, by Legislative enactment. It reached its present size about fifteen years ago, with the exception of two or three houses. A small methodist church was erected near it in 1854, and a Baptist church in 1857. The town now occupies about ten acres of ground, and contains a population of some seventy-five persons, with two stores, a blacksmith's shop, and a wheelwright's establishment. The Ox Bow post-office is located there." In my historical reading about the site, it seems as if it faded away after the postmaster, disgruntled about something or another, neglected purposely to re-apply for a license to run Ox-Bow post office - and the local people considered losing the post office a huge blow to the community. The lack of a coal mine seems to have been the detriment of most villages that disappeared in this area around that time as well.

Pretty much it looks as if the town was plowed over and farmed, just like every other farm-able acre in rural central Illinois. The cemetery remains and is beautiful and has some very old stones. It's worth a visit and is easily accessible, right off of a paved county road.

This lady has compiled a wonderful list of local former villages and fading villages in the area and old articles about them. You might want to share the link for your readers:

I have attached a picture of a "ghost" that the Google Map car caught when it drove through Caledonia Corner. Probably a dust devil, but still a little weird that this is what comes up when you look up the location of Caledonia corner on Google Maps =D

Thanks very much!

White Trash Peg


Courtesy Peg