CFNIL Grant 2019

Macktown Living History in Rockton, IL is proud to announce that it has received an $18,366.49 grant for “Lessons From Our Pioneer Past”.  The grant was awarded by the Jon W. Lundin Preservation Fund of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois’ Community Grants Program.

“Lessons From Our Pioneer Past” is a project designed to make living history programming possible in one of Winnebago County’s earliest buildings (circa 1838.)  This building housed a cabinetmaker’s shop and residence, a granary and a one-room school for children of the Pecatonic settlement, including Native American children.  The settlement of Pecatonic is now known as Macktown.

Although owned by Stephen Mack, this building has been designated the “Stevens Building” in reference to its occupant, cabinetmaker Sylvester Stevens.  Upon demise of the Pecatonic settlement, the two-story building was moved across the river to the corner of Franklin and Center streets in Rockton where it stood until Macktown Living History volunteers dismantled it in 2006.  It has been accurately recreated on its original site next to the Stephen Mack home in the Macktown Forest Preserve.

Grant monies from the Jon W. Lundin Preservation Fund will help make it possible to furnish and supply the Stevens’ Building cabinetmaking shop and residence and the upstairs one-room school.  Upon completion, visitors are welcome to attend demonstrations and workshops intended to bring part of this region’s earliest history back to life.

“Completion of this building is a major step in our efforts to restore the original settlement.  It’s                                                                                                                                     a project we’ve worked on and dreamed about finishing for quite a few years now.  We think people will really enjoy learning about skills early craftsmen used, and I guarantee that attending a one-room school session at Macktown is an experience you will never forget!”                                                                                                                             – Ray A. Ferguson, President of Macktown Living History

Macktown Living History is a volunteer organization in Rockton, Illinois whose mission is to restore and interpret the cultural lifeways of the early Pecatonic Settlement, one of Winnebago County’s first communities.  Nationally recognized as a historic site, Pecatonic (Macktown) stands at the confluence of the Rockton and Pecatonica rivers in the Macktown Forest Preserve. Living history events, historic gardening, Second Sunday monthly free programs and summer archaeological digs are a few of the ongoing activities.  

Unveiling of the completed Stevens Building is planned for The Gathering at Macktown, April 27 & 28, 2019.  This living history event, which includes black powder shooting and demonstrations of early frontier life, takes place in the Macktown Forest Preserve.  For more details visit             

The mission of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois is to serve as a catalyst for giving in order to attract, preserve, and grow an endowment for current and future needs of Northern Illinois.  Since its founding in 1953 CFNIL has granted more than $71 million for charitable purposes. Learn more about CFNIL’s grantmaking and commitment to endowment at