Manufacturing & Commerce

Visit Galesburg, Illinois

Manufacturing & Commerce

Brown Corn Planter Works Brown Corn Planter Works

Throughout much of its history, Galesburg has been inextricably tied to the rail industry. Local businessmen were major backers of the first railroad to connect Illinois' two biggest cities at that time – Chicago and Quincy. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway is the largest employer in Galesburg and is also home to the second largest rail hub for the BNSF Railroad in the nation.


  • 1843 – The World's Greatest Horse Market was founded in Galesburg, furnishing horses for the
  • United States Government during the Civil War and for many years to follow. They served the world market through the 1930's.
  • 1851 – George Brown of Galesburg invented the Corn Planter and they were sold all over the world.
  • 1857 – A new invention combined "punch & shear corn press" invented by G.D. Colton & Company of Galesburg for the manufacturing and compression of broom straw for brooms and the basic idea is still used today.
  • 1871 – May Company of Galesburg adapted the windmill originally used in Holland to our farm standards. Over 2,000 May windmills were manufactured and sold for use in Western states.
  • 1884 – Many bricks from Purington Paver Brick Company in East Galesburg were used in building the Panama Canal and also used in Europe. Today many Galesburg streets are still lined with Purington Pavers.
  • 1904 – The "Gale" touring car was built in Galesburg, a vintage auto, comparable to Ford's
  • Model "T". Had the Sears Company picked the "Gale" touring car instead of the Model "F" to be showcased in their catalog the future of the "Gale" car would have been entirely different.
  • 1910– The "Illinois," a 35 horse powered touring car was known as a long low-hung roomy car, designed and built in Galesburg by the Overholt Company.
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