History of Christopher


A brief history of Christopher


Short video created by Gary Janello

By Bob Hoey

  • Prior to 1880, Christopher was merely a trading post in an area that was scarcely settled. However, with the construction of the railroad through the area, growth was inevitable. The first railroad engine arrived on November 16, 1879.

  • A meeting was held in the store of James B. Pharsis and the name of the town was selected a Christopher. It was named after Christopher Harrison, a grandson of one of the early settlers, Isham Harrison, who represented the county as a delegate to the Illinois First Constitution Convention held in Kaskaskia in 1818.

  •  In 1879, the local people banded together and built the first railroad depot; thus Christopher, Illinois was born. 

  • The first Post Office was inaugurated on January 19, 1880 and was located in the general store owned by Mr. Pharsis, who was the first Post Master (1880-1882). 

  • On February 6, 1880, the original Plat of Christopher was surveyed. 

  • On September 28, 1903, Christopher voted to become a village by a 30 to 16 vote margin. 
  • ​The sinking of Christopher's one and only coal mine began in January, 1906. This mine was the North Mine and was located just north of the city and west of the Christopher to Sesser Road. A seam of coal eleven feet thick was found at a depth of 517 feet. 

  • ​Following the success of the coal mine, Christopher started to grow. The village voted to become a city on January 11, 1910 with a 72 to 36 margin. Then on April 10, 1910 the first Mayor was elected. 

  • ​Even though Christopher's current population stands at about 2800, it once had a population in excess of 10,000. The city had four theaters, three-three-story hotels, 28 grocery stores, five bakeries, a swimming pool a miniature golf course, a skating rink, a dance hall, a bowling alley, nine automobile dealers, two banks, five pool halls, two lumber yards, nine dry goods stores, six furniture stores, eight ladies' ready-to-wear stores, nine men's stores, 12 service stations, and more. 

  • ​Christopher, Illinois is the one and only community with that name in the entire USA; coast to coast and border to border you will find no other Christopher.