History Intro

Soldiers Grove History

The Industrial Park in Soldiers Grove

When the first settlers arrived on the banks of the Kickapoo River in the 1850s, they called the area Pine Grove. The name was changed to Soldiers Grove in 1867 to honor those who camped here during the Black Hawk War. The Kickapoo River has proved to be the major player in the history of the village, as devastating flood repeatedly damaged the village. In the early 1980s, Soldiers Grove chose to relocate its business district, building the nation’s first Solar Village in the process.

History

The Early Years

The Early Years

The first settlers came to the banks of the Kickapoo River in the 1850s and established a small village called Pine Grove, in honor of the large groves of white pine that were found there. The name of the village was changed to Soldiers Grove in 1867 to honor the soldiers who had camped in the area during the 1832 Blackhawk War. Early farming of wheat gave way to dairy farming, and later tobacco farming became a way of life on the area’s small family farms.

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The Floods

The Floods

The story of Soldiers Grove is made up of chapters about Kickapoo River floods. Heavy rains can transform the gentle river into a raging torrent. The old town, which sat along the banks of the Kickapoo, was devastated by floods in 1909, 1912, 1917, and 1935. A disastrous flood damaged the town in 1951, while Soldiers Grove and other river towns awaited Federal flood control. Then in July of 1978, the Kickapoo delivered the largest flood to date. The record stood unbroken until 2007, when the river conveyed its worst. And unbelievably, that record was broken less than one year later, in 2008.

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The Solar Village

The Solar Village

Solar Town Even before the 1978 flood, the residents of Soldiers Grove realized that it was necessary to relocate their downtown. The 1978 flood jarred loose the logjam in Washington DC, and Federal funds became available for the relocation.

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