Welcome to Kewanee - Artist Chris Shuster 

(Sponsored by: Community State Bank) Kewanee owes its beginnings to the construction of the Military Tract Railroad. The railroad was routed a few miles north of the existing town of Wethersfield and it became clear that to benefit from the railroad, business and industry had to move to the railroad. As a result, the new community of Kewanee was founded in May, 1854 by business leaders from Wethersfield Township including Sylvester Blish, Ralph Tenney, Henry Little and Sullivan Howard, plus Nelson Lay from Wisconsin. Colonel Berrien, the civil engineer who supervised the laying of the track through the area, was asked to choose a name and he decided on “Kewanee,” a Winnebago Indian word for “prairie chicken.” In 1921, Wethersfield’s 2,000 residents asked to be annexed into Kewanee with its 16,000 residents.