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Dieterich's History

Before any land was ever surveyed in this area, a railroad was being built. This track was known as the Springfield, Effingham and Southern. Unlike the tracks of today, it was a narrow gauge line. If it had not been built, there probably would not be a Village of Dieterich as we know it today.

Michael Dieterich came to Effingham County in 1870, purchasing a half section of wild, untamed prairie land in Section 13 of Bishop Township. He later purchased the other half of the section and had it all fenced in and cultivated by 1883. In 1881, John Grace purchased a portion of Section 12 plus a small portion of Section 13 which adjoined the Michael Dieterich Land and called his land Graceville. In 1882, William and Mary Horn purchased 80 acres in the northeast corner of Section 14, a portion of which was platted and became Horn’s Addition to Dieterich. According to the 1880 Census, there were 75 people living here.

In December of 1880, the railroad lacked eight miles of track to be completed between Newton and Effingham. Soon after, Mr. Dieterich and Mr. Grace had their land platted and Mr. Dieterich donated a portion of the north edge of his land with the understanding a station would be located on the land and named after him. This station was known as Dieterichsburg. Apparently there was quite a bit of rivalry between Graceville and Dieterichsburg. The station was a boxcar placed along the tracks south of the present Parish Center of the former Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. After the Station was established, Dieterichsburg soon became a shipping hub for the surrounding areas for both farming and commercial products. Some of the products shipped included grain, lumber, cattle, hogs, horses, fruit, and creamery products. The railroad also became the center of transportation for the people living in Elliottstown, Eberle, Winterrowd, Island Grove and Bishop. In September of 1883, Dieterichsburg’s first telegraph office opened.

From the start, the railroad had financial difficulities and within a few years this narrow gauge line was sold. It became the Indiana and Illinois Southern and it was widened to the standard width that we see today. Railroad workers had difficulty finding lodging, especially south of Teutopolis due to opposition from many of the landowners, thus, Dieterichsburg had to offer hotels, rooming houses, eateries and saloons to meet their needs.

In March of 1893, the adjoining communities of Graceville and Dieterichsburg voted to incorporate, which was accomplished on April 28th with the first meeting of the Village Council who then appointed an Acting President. The incorporated town was called Dieterich.

Dieterich Quasquicentennial Merchandise

All merchandise items can be purchased at the Dieterich Village Hall office during hours of operation.


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