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Businesses of Charleston


Eastern Illinois University

Charleston, Illinois


Coles County



Additional Resources

Charleston Business Survey

The businesses of Charleston’s courthouse square have seen both change and stasis over the years. Restaurants, saloons, bookshops, clothing stores, groceries, and candy stores have come and gone, but the importance of the square as an area of Charleston commerce remains to this day. The businesses that have occupied Charleston’s courthouse square reflect the economy of its time and the local culture of Charleston. Use the key in the top left-hand corner of this interactive Google Map to explore the businesses that have existed on each block of the courthouse square! 

The Businesses of Charleston's Courthouse Square, 1898-1984



Berger, Michael L. The Devil Wagon in God’s Country: The Automobile and Social Change in Rural America, 1893-1929. Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books, 1979.

“Charleston Courthouse Square: An Architectural Survey.” Eastern Illinois University Localities. Last updated 4 November 2004. Accessed 28 November 2015. https://www.eiu.edu/localite/ctcourtsquare.php.

Cochran, Thomas C. The American Business System: A Historical Perspective, 1900-1930. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1957.

Colton, Craig. “Henry Howe’s Images of an Emerging Main Street.” Material Culture 38, no. 1 (Spring 2006): 36-53.

Easter-Schick, Nancy, and Bonnie Brooks Clark, ‘Round the Square: Life in Downtown Charleston, Illinois, 1830-1998. Charleston: Easter-Schick Publishing, 1999.

“Historical Census Browser.” University of Virginia. Last modified 2007. Accessed 25 November 2015. http://mapserver.lib.virginia.edu/php/county.php.

Milbauer, John A. “Oklahoma’s County Courthouse Grounds.” Material Culture 41, no. 2 (Fall 2009): 18-37.

Potter, Jim. The American Economy Between the World Wars. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1974.

Price, Edward T. “The Central Courthouse Square in the American County Seat.” Geographical Review 58, no. 1 (Jan. 1968): 29-60.

Schein, Richard H. “A Methodological Framework for Interpreting Ordinary Landscapes: Lexington, Kentucky’s Courthouse Square.” Geographical Review 99, no. 3 (July 2009): 377-402.

Wilson, Charles Edward . History of Coles County Illinois, 1905. Reprint. Salem, Massachusetts: Higginson Book Company, 1998. 

This webpage was created by Mary Challman, Historical Administration Graduate Student, Class of 2015-2016