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The Illinois Centennial Banner.
Photo from the Illinois Digital Archives
As the 100th anniversary of Illinois’ statehood neared, celebrations were being held throughout the state. All of this was going on against the backdrop of World War I, which America had entered the year before.

What had initially been planned as a huge celebration had very nearly been cancelled until Governor Frank Lowden issued a proclamation which called on Illinoisans to strengthen themselves against the current struggle by recalling the great challenges of the past. The state that had done so much to bring about victory in the Civil War would now celebrate its past while facing the trial of the First World War.
ECONOMIC GROWTH
Illinois Innovation Network expands to DeKalb County. Northern Illinois University (NIU), already home to many centers of graduate education and research, has announced plans for a $23 million business-development incubator and innovation center. NIU will construct the center to serve as a hub of the Illinois Innovation Network, the growing web of broadband-linked innovation centers being set up in locations throughout the state. Much of the center’s construction cost will be funded by NIU, by gifts made to NIU, and by private investments made by venture capitalists.
Image from the program cover of “The Wonderful Story of Illinois” pageant.
Photo from the Illinois Digital Archives.
A celebration one hundred years in the making almost didn’t happen.

One hundred years ago, Illinoisans were planning the celebration of the Illinois Centennial, the 100th anniversary of Illinois’ statehood. A commission had been created by the 48th General Assembly in 1913 to begin planning and coordinating the commemoration of the anniversary, which would fall on December 3, 1918. Excitement for the big day was building, as communities all across the state planned their celebrations.
BUDGET
CGFA releases State revenue numbers for September 2018. The Commission on Budget Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA) is the nonpartisan budget-forecasting arm of the Illinois General Assembly. Working with the Department of Revenue and other State revenue collectors, this office monitors the State’s cash flow and determines its balance with the State’s spending patterns and budgeted expenditures. CGFA’s report on state revenues in September 2018 was published on Tuesday, October 2.
Chicago after the fire, 1871   
As the last raindrops struck the smoldering embers of Chicago on October 10, 1871, the city’s civic and commercial leaders were confronted with one of the greatest challenges any community can face.

Two days earlier, a fire had broken out on the west side. Fed by violent winds, it had quickly spread, sweeping across the city, jumping the river and raging out of control for 34 hours. It had killed at least 300 people, destroyed 18,000 buildings and left a third of the city homeless. Despite the best efforts of the fire department and the city’s residents, it had overwhelmed every human obstruction, and if not for this day’s rainstorm it would likely have continued on.
TAXES
The Tax Foundation issues mixed rating for Illinois’ tax structure. The Washington-based nonpartisan study institute monitors the tax laws of all 50 states, and issues comparative rankings based on what they find. States are ranked not only on the financial burdens imposed by their tax laws but also by the administrative burden of filling out income-reporting forms and complying with each tax.
Frontispiece of the 1973-74 Illinois Blue Book
showcasing Illinois State 
Symbols.
Photo from the Illinois Digital Archives.
In recent years, Illinois has added a number of items to its list of official state symbols. Oftentimes, these ideas are produced by local student groups seeking to bring some recognition to an important part of their community or the state as a whole. Some good examples are the 2015 designation of sweet corn as our Illinois State Vegetable and the 1980 selection of the white-tailed deer as the state animal.

Illinois has had a roster of state symbols from its beginning as a state, starting with our state seal. Some of the early state symbols included our state bird, state tree, state flower and state song. This is the story of how those early symbols were chosen.