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Stockton is a village in eastern Jo Daviess County in the northwest corner of Illinois in the Illinois Driftless Area in the Northern Illinois region.





Stockton is the youngest town in Jo Daviess County but is the second largest. As part of the Illinois Driftless Area, the area is noted for its high hills, deep river valleys and general scenic beauty. Stockton's Main Street is the highest elevation Main Street in Illinois[1] and Jo Daviess County is home to 8 of the top 10 highest points in Illinois.[2][3]

The Village of Stockton was established in 1886 as a railway depot in Stockton Township by the Minnesota and Northwestern Railroad (later the Chicago Great Western Railway), and the village was later incorporated in 1890.[4] East Stockon's railyard included a roundhouse and was one of the largest workshops along the line, and all trains stopped to change crews. Passenger service ended in 1965 and the last train ran through Stockton in 1972. While the rails were removed later in the 1970s, outside of town you can still see the embankment of the railway bed. The Stockton Heritage Museum has a large N-gauge model railroad layout depicting the line from Woodbine to the west through Stockton and out to East Stockton and the roundhose.

In 1914, the Kraft Brothers opened a cheese factory in Stockton. This was the birthplace of the Kraft Corporation and the first cheese plant opened by J.L. Kraft. J.L. Kraft was looking for a place to establish a cheese factory and creamery, and chose Stockton due in part to the abundance of dairy cows and milk production, as well as the readily available railroad transportation. Kraft maintained a cheese factory in Stockton until 1998 when it was sold to Brewster Cheese, which is the top producer of Swiss Cheese in the US.[5] Visit the Stockton Heritage Museum which has one of the largest collections of Kraft memorabilia and advertising in the country.

Get in

Map of Stockton (Illinois)

Most travelers to Stockton and Jo Daviess County arrive by car from the east along US 20. Stockton is intersected by U.S. Route 20 (US 20) and Illinois Route 78 (IL 78).

In Illinois, US 20 is designated the General Ulysses S. Grant Highway (often abbreviated the U.S. Grant Memorial Highway) and is the longest route in the United States.[6] In eastern Jo Daviess County US 20 is one of the few areas that remain two-lane across the entire stretch of US 20. The road between Dubuque and Stockton was once known as the most dangerous stretch of road because of the hills and curves flanked by cliffs and valleys. Travelers were greeted with signs reminding them to drive carefully as they entered this stretch of road.

Get around


By car or by foot. There is no public transportation in Stockton.



Downtown Stockton is home to many buildings designed in the Queen Anne style of the late 19th century, including the W.E. White Building listed in the US National Register of Historic Places. Peter "Pete" Schroeder was the primary architect of many downtown buildings, including the Masonic Temple (now Hartig Drug), W.E White Building (Stella's Cafe), and the Kringle Building (Beautifully Berkeley). The Queen Anne style of architecture includes color paint jobs, turrets, decorative gables, extensive motifs, oriole bay windows, and detailed interiors.

While downtown, visit the larger-than-life murals painted along Main St and Front Ave. These murals tell many stories about life and history of Stockton and the Stockton area.


  • 1 Stockton Heritage Museum, 107 W Front Ave; Stockton, +1 815-947-2220, . 10AM-2PM Sat and 11AM-2PM Sun. Museum dedicated to the preservation and teaching of Stockton area history, including exhibits on the Chicago Great Western Railroad and Kraft brother's first cheese plant. Visit the museum on weekends May-October, or by appointment.


  • 2 Townsend Home (2 miles (3.2 km) west on US 20, then 1 mile (1.6 km) north on Canyon Park Rd (County route 10) towards Apple River Canyon State Park.). A historic limestone house in the Upright and Wing style, completed in 1856; added to the US National Register of Historic Places in 2005. Townsend Home (Q7830179) on Wikidata Townsend Home on Wikipedia - this is a private home, so you can view it from the roadside, perhaps on your drive to Apple River Canyon State Park further north.
  • 3 W.E. White Building (Stella's Cafe), 100 N Main St; Stockton (downtown on north-west corner of Front and Main), +1 815-947-2080. A historic commercial building located downtown, constructed in 1897 in the Queen Anne style; added to the US National Register of Historic Places in 1997. W.E. White Building (Q7945196) on Wikidata W.E. White Building on Wikipedia


  • 1 Apple River Canyon State Park, 8763 E Canyon Rd; Apple River (2 miles (3.2 km) west on US 20, then 6 miles (10 km) north on Canyon Park Rd (County Route 10).), +1 815-745-3302. camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, picnicking, bird-watching. Apple River Canyon State Park (Q4781225) on Wikidata Apple River Canyon State Park on Wikipedia - at the confluence of the Apple River and its south fork, camp and hike amid the limestone bluffs, ravines, springs and streams that characterize northwest Illinois.
  • 2 Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary, 5559 E Rush Creek Rd; Stockton, +1 815-858-9100. Bird sanctuary with 409 acres (166 ha) and over 6 mi (9.7 km) hiking trails.
  • 3 Woodbine Bend Golf Course & Restaurant, 3500 E Center Rd; Stockton, +1 815-858-3939. Book a tee-time for 18 holes. Add lunch or dinner at their restaurant.









Go next


Near by Stockton:

  • 1 Apple River Canyon State Park Apple River Canyon State Park on Wikipedia and the now-lost town of 2 Millville Millville, Illinois on Wikipedia - camping, hiking, fishing and hunting amid the limestone bluffs, ravines, springs and streams that characterize northwest Illinois - a 15 minute drive from Stockton (2 miles/3.2 km west on US 20, then 6 miles/10 km north on Canyon Park Rd).
  • 3 Apple Canyon Lake Apple Canyon Lake, Illinois on Wikipedia - boating, fishing, golfing - a planned vacation community with 400 acres (160 ha) lake.

Further west along US 20:

  • Town of Elizabeth, 15 minutes, 13 miles (21 km) - featuring a replica of a fort used in the Black Hawk War.
  • City of Galena, 40 minutes, 28 miles (45 km) - the "town that time forgot", a small city that was once a major port on the Mississippi River, is rich in 19th century history, claiming the home of the 18th President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant. More than a thousand buildings in Galena are listed in the National Register of Historic Places, with many of the elegantly restored homes now bed & breakfasts or open to the public for tours.
Routes through Stockton
DubuqueGalena  W  E  FreeportRockford
END Jct Portage ← becomes WI Warren  N  S  Mount CarrollJacksonville

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