Welcome to the Hinckley Historical Society!
The museum helps hundreds of visitors each year discover the past through dioramas, artefacts, photographs and documents from the Village of Hinckley and Townships of Squaw Grove and Pierce. Making connections with the past and present helps build perspective for the future.
The Village of Hinckley has a rich and proud history. In the 1830’s, a Mr. Hollenbeck (who lived near Ottawa) was travelling the then-unsettled territory. He found a fine grove of trees west of the present-day Hinckley, and named the grove after the squaws who were tending camp.
Back in Ottawa, word spread of the undeveloped land, and in the spring of 1835, John Sebree built a log house. The next year saw more families come to the area, and soon a small town was started at the west edge of what is now Hinckley. The town’s name was Squaw Grove.
Hinckley was conceived in the 1870’s as the brainchild of Francis Hinckley, president of the Chicago and Iowa Railroad. The rail line was placed one-half mile east of the Village of Squaw Grove, which was then named Hinckley.
From this early birth, much change and innovation would come to Hinckley. Some key dates follow: Methodist Church (1835), first store (1872), Hinckley has 20 businesses (1876), St. Paul’s Church (1885), volunteer fire brigade organized (1886), tornado destroys most of village (1889).