Golden is a town of 600 residents located in the northeast corner of Adams County, the westernmost county in Illinois. Golden is approximately 30 miles northeast of Quincy, the county seat.
Golden is located on a flat, swampy, fertile prairie between the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. Residents say that a drop of water that falls on the east side of Golden will flow to the Illinois River, and a drop that falls on the west side will flow to the Mississippi River.
The first settlers in "Northeast" Township came to the area in the 1830s. This area was part of the Military Tract that covered much of the land in Central Illinois. The US Government set aside land in the Military Tract to give to veterans of the War of 1812. However, the first settlers in the Golden area didn't arrive until the mid-1840s.
Many early immigrants came from the East Friesland area of Germany. East Friesland was a flat, swampy area of Northwest Germany near the Netherlands border. The area reminded the new settlers of their former home. Their trip was long, taking 14 weeks or more. Their route started in Bremerhaven, Germany. They traveled by ship to New Orleans and by riverboat up the Mississippi River to Quincy. Their final leg would be a two-day journey by wagon or horse.
In the 1850s the first of two railroads laid track through what is now Golden. The Toledo, Wabash and Western railroad was the first, completing their line between Clayton and Carthage, Illinois and Keokuk, Iowa. The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad completed their line and depot between Quincy and Macomb, Illinois in 1863. The point where the two railroads crossed became a transfer point between the two railroads and became known as "Keokuk Junction." At this time, the postal service also opened the first post office in the area.
In 1866 the initial lots making up the town of Keokuk Junction were laid out, platted and sold. Incorporation of the town occurred on April 1, 1867. Residents would later rename the town to "Golden" in 1881.
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