A haul in history

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ARCOLA, Ill. (WCIA) — This Douglas County town has a rich culture, but it also has a unique history.

Originally there was a train depot in what’s now known as Arcola.

The railroad came through the area in the 1850s.

There was a village along the Kaskaskia River called Baghdad.

But one day, the village essentially transferred here.

That meant hauling in buildings on large sleds, during the winter.

The city was originally going to be called “Okaw,” but when the settlers found out that name was taken, they decided on “Arcola.”

Since then, even though much has changed, you can still see the town’s roots.

“Now, we have mostly service industries…insurance, banks, restaurants…and some buildings are utilized for antiques because we have a really beautiful Main Street that the original buildings have been preserved,” said Wilmer Otto.

Otto also made it his goal to restore some of the buildings you see downtown, like the Emporium and the old hotel building.

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