Jordbruksdagarna

Jordbruksdagarna

Last full weekend in September
The town of Bishop Hill, Ill., was founded in 1846 by a group of Swedes fleeing religious persecution in the Old World. Their leader, Erik Jansson, sailed across the Atlantic with 1,200 followers, crossed the Great Lakes on steamers, and walked 150 miles to form the colony named with the English translation of Jansson's birthplace in Sweden. Cholera took its toll on the settlers, but their biggest setback was Jansson's murder in 1850. Without his leadership, the colony entered a period of rapid decline and, since it was bypassed by the main railroad line, time stood still there for about a century. As a result, many of the historic buildings remained undisturbed, and in 1984 Bishop Hill was designated a National Historic Landmark.
Many of the descendants of the original colonists still live in Bishop Hill or nearby towns, and they continue to celebrate a number of traditional Swedish holidays. One of these is Jordbruksdagarna, or Agricultural Days, a two-day celebration featuring harvest demonstrations, 19th-century crafts and children's games, and ample servings of Colony Stew. The residents of Bishop Hill also celebrate Lucia Nights ( see St. Lucy's Day), when young women dressed as "Lucias" serve refreshments in the shops and museums.
CONTACTS:
Bishop Hill State Historic Site
P.O. Box 104
Bishop Hill, IL 61419
309-927-3345
www.bishophill.com