Plato Township
Plato Township
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Plato Township History

**The following are a few interesting facts about the history of Plato Township.

The first settlers in Plato Township were John Griggs and his son John. They settled in the spring of 1835. John Griggs ran the Griggs Log House Hotel(Inn) along the stage coach route that ran from Galena to Chicago. There was also a tavern. This was located in the area of Baker Cemetery on Rt. 47.

When the township was first established, there were still indians living here. By 1836 they were removed to reservations.

In 1840, the first school on Plato Township was built. Charlotte Griggs was it's first teacher.

The township was originally called Homer, but was later changed to Plato Township.

There were different towns in Plato Township: Plato Center, Plato Corners, East Plato, New Plato, and North Plato. Each town developed their own post offices. It would have been too far to travel otherwise just to get the mail. Horse and wagon were the mode of transportation in those days. Farm work was done by horses as well.

By 1851 there were seven schools in the township. There were about 250 students in all of these schools combined. In each school, there was only one teacher. The top teacher in the township earned $12.00 a month and the lower paid teachers only made around $7.00 a month. The names of the schools were: Seapy, Lee, McDonald, Griggs, Rohrsen, North Plato and Plato Center.

The following are some of the businesses/buildings you would've seen in Plato Township during those years:

  • Blacksmith Shop
  • Parsonage
  • Schools
  • Town Hall
  • Churches
  • Cemetery
  • Cheese Factory
  • General Store
  • Feed Mill
  • Post Office
  • Cremery

The Northern Railroad came through Plato Township and brought with it new businesses and change. We would see the addition of:

  • Muirhead's Store
  • Lumber yard
  • Train Depot
  • Ice House
  • Burnidge's Store

These businesses settled in around the railroad tracks right in Plato Center. Our current town hall is a remnant of those times. The train Depot is currently located at the Plato Town Park.

The first car came to Plato Township sometime between 1905-1908 and was owned by Milton Muirhead.

Diptheria struck Plato Township sometime around 1909. Several people died in just a few weeks.

Educational advances were made, including a formal high school built in 1920. There were seven students in the first graduating class. The school was almost destroyed by fire once. In 1933 a tornado did $30,000 worth of damage. This time a shop was added when it was rebuilt.

1930 brought the first barber to the area, Andy Grossen. He opened a shop in what was the old Burnidge store. That same year, the road going through Plato Center was cemented.

The family of Laura Ingalls Wilder(beloved author) has been traced to Plato Township. Her grandfather settled in this area.

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