Quick Facts

Ogle County was formed in 1836 from a part of JoDaviess County.

The first session of the Ogle County Commissioners’ Court was held on January 3, 1837 in Oregon. Oregon was chosen to be the County Seat.

The county courthouse was built in 1891 at a cost of$106,951, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The interior was renovated in 1984 at a cost of $1,500,000.

There are approximately 30,539 registered voters,and about 27,000 parcels of real estate.

There are three state parks and one state forest in Ogle County.

  • Lowden State Park is located one mile north of Oregon. Lorado Taft’s famous Blackhawk statue overlooks the Rock River from a bluff.
  • White Pines State Park is located about seven miles west of Oregon.
  • Castle Rock State Park is located three miles south of Oregon along the west bank of the Rock River.
  • The Lowden-Miller State Forest is located directly across the river from Castle Rock.

The county-owned Weld Park is located about two and a half miles southwest of Stillman Valley.

Camp McCormick Girl Scout camp and Lowden Boy Scout camp are located in Ogle County.

There are many historic sites in the county, including the John Deere museum in Grand Detour, historic museums in Byron, Rochelle and Oregon. Rochelle is home to a popular railroad park.

Major industries in the county include agriculture,printing, food distribution and processing, implement manufacturing, recreation and tourism. ComEd’s Byron nuclear power plant is located south of Byron.

Land Area:
Ogle County is the seventeenth (17th) largest county in Illinois,comprising twenty-four (24) townships totaling 757 square miles or 499,320 acres.

Highest Elevation:
1,023 ft. above mean sea level in the NE 1/4 of Section 3 Maryland Township along a ridge known as “hardpan ridge”, which is about two (2) miles east of Baileyville on Montague Road.

Lowest Elevation:
649.6 ft. above mean sea level, located at the Rock Rivers’s exit from Ogle County into Lee County in Section 8 of Grand Detour Township.

Average Elevation:
The elevation in most of the County is between 700 and 900 ft. above mean sea level.

Vegetation:
Prior to settlement, the area of present-day Ogle County consisted of approximately 58 percent prairie, 27 percent timber, and the remainder was wetland and bottom land forest.

In present-day Ogle County, native prairie is all but non-existent, except for a few scattered prairie remnants found mostly along railroad right-of-ways and rocky and/or sandy ridges and hillsides that have not been tilled. The Byron Forest Preserve and Nachusa Grasslands have restored large areas to native prairie.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, in 1985 OgleCounty contained 32,200 acres of forest land, which accounts for 3.8% of the total area of the County. Interestingly, Ogle County presently contains more forest land than at anytime after 1924.

Population:
Ogle County’s present population (as of 2010 Census) is 53,497.

History:
What is now Ogle County was once a part of the Northwest Territory.

In 1809 the Territory of Illinois was formed and included Wisconsin and Peninsular Michigan. In 1818 Illinois, in its present boundaries, became the 21st State to join the Union.

Ogle County was formed in 1836 from a part of Jo Daviess County.

The name, Ogle, was suggested by Thos. Ford in memory of Capt. Joseph Ogle who distinguished himself for his courage and coolness in the early days of the State’s history.

The first session of the Ogle County Commissioner’ Court was held at Oregon on January 3, 1837, and Oregon was chosen to be the County Seat.

Because there was so much dissension, efforts were made to divide the County and on February 27, 1839, the Legislature approved an act creating Lee County out of the southern half of Ogle county, with Dixon as its County Seat.

In December 1839, the County Board ordered the town of Oregon to be called Florence; in 1843, however, it was renamed Oregon.

Names of other towns were once different than those used today. Rochelle was once called Lane; Byron, Bloomingville; Polo, Buffalo Grove and St. Mary’s. Plans for a courthouse were adopted on December 4, 1838, and in 1841 the building was completed – only to be burned before it could be occupied.

The present couthouse was completed for occupancy in 1891 at a total cost of $106,951.46 for building and equipment.

On November 6, 1849, the electorate voted for township organization and the Commissioner’ Court appointed three men to divide the county into towns. Their report, filed February 5, 1850 named nineteen townships, comprising an area of 757 sq. mi. The first special meeting of the Board of Supervisors was held November 11, 1850.

In 1972, in compliance with the State Legislature’s decision on reapportionment, Ogle County held its first election to elect County Board members.

The county was divided into four districts, with six members from each district. This replaced the system whereby the township supervisors served as the County Board. A supervisor may also be a County Board member but not necessarily.

The 1998 estimated census shows a County population of 50,511. There are presently approximately 30,539 registered voters.

Three State parks are located in Ogle County.

  • The White Pines State Park is located on the Pines Road between Polo and Oregon.
  • Lowden Memorial Park is one mile north of Oregon on the east side of Rock River.
  • Lorado Taft’s famous Blackhawk statue and the Northern Illinois University Field Campus are located in the Lowden Memorial Park.
  • Castle Rock State Park is located on Illinois Route 2 south of Oregon.
  • Lowden-Miller State Forest is located 5 miles South of Oregon on South Lowden Road.

Weld Park, located in Marion Township, was given to the County to maintain as a County Park. Sinnissippi Farms southeast of Oregon in Oregon/Nashua Township is the home of former Governor Frank O. Lowden.

The Lowden Boy Scout Camp and Camp Medill McCormick for Girl Scouts are located in Ogle County. In 1962 the Ogle County Historical Society opened a museum in the Ruby Nash home in Oregon. This is open to the public on week ends during the summer months.

Renovation of the interior of the Courthouse was completed in 1984 at a cost of $1,500,000.00.