From the "New Combination Atlas of Ogle County, Ill 1872" about Polo:
"This is the largest town in the County, located on the Illinois Central Road, in one of the most beautiful and fertile farming districts in the State. The town took its start in 1854, on the projection of the railroad through that point. Most if not all of the territory now embraced in the city was at that time owned by the Hon. Zenas Applington, and it was him who gave the place its present name, in honor of Marco Polo, the great Venetian traveler. The name has at least one important advantage over more common names in this, that there is not another Polo in the Northwest, if at all in the United States. In January, 1855, we are informed that the railroad was completed through Polo, and at that time there were but six buildings in the place. Bu from that time to the present the growth and prosperity of the place has been steady, and no town on the Illinois Central Road can show greater evidences of thrift than can Polo. The town commands a trade for many miles east and west from one of the richest farming portions of Ogle County. This stimulates enterprising business men to locate in Polo. and the business men of Polo are characterized for their energy and business tact. The stores are all sufficiently large and commodious to accommodate all patrons, and each one is fully stocked up in their respective lines. The church and school interests are second to none in the County. The school building, a lithographic view of which may be seen in this atlas, is second to none in Northern Illinois for style of finish, durability, etc. The church buildings are large, commodious, and some of them quite expensive. The zeal of the church-going people may be witnessed every Sunday morning, as the several bells call together several hundred devout worshipers. In short, the society of Polo is good. The town also has several secret and charitable institutions, among which we mention the Freemasons, Good Templars, and Odd Fellows, who are said to have one of the finest lodges in the State. One of the most noted and most commendable institutions of he town is their library association, which we are informed is in a very prosperous condition, already numbering several hundred volumes. The facilities for manufacturing are good at Polo, and are very much neglected. An immense amount of machinery is sold here every year, which could be as easily manufactured here as elsewhere, coal is easily and cheaply obtained. There is a great abundance of timber close by. Building materials are plentiful and cheap. There are four stone quarries in the vicinity, from which is taken first-rate blue and gray limestone. The streets of Polo are well laid out, and neatly ornamented. The character of the buildings, both public and private, is good, evidence of which can be had by reference to the numerous cuts in the inclosed atlas."
Another excerpt from the same Atlas about Polo and Vicinity:
"In 1835 George R. Webster and Stephen Hull settled in this vicinity. During the same year John Waterbury and Solomon Shaver came to look up a location, and in 1836 they, together with Wm. Hamsley, Wm. Nichols, B. Beardsley, D. Grant, Abram Schryver, and Thomas Worden left Delaware County, N.Y. , and settled at Buffalo Grove. They performed the entire journey with teams, and were seven weeks and some days, during which time they never slept inside of a house. The first frame dwelling in Buffalo Grove was erected by Wm. Merritt, in 1836. The first store was kept by J.D. Stevenson, in 1835. It is said that the first blacksmith's anvil ever used in the Rock River country is the one presented to the Hon. Z. Applington by the venerable John Dixon, who was himself a blacksmith in an early day. The work on the Illinois Central Railroad began in the vicinity of Polo in 1852. Mr. Applington was the contractor for the building of several miles through where Polo now stands, and northward. It was completed in 1855, and at that time there were but five or six buildings in the place. In the winter of 1856-57, the Legislature passed an act incorporating the town. Mr. Applington was owner of the principal part of the town, and it was him who gave it the name it has since borne, in honor of Marco Polo, the Venetian traveler. It is said there is not another Polo in the United States. In 1856 the Polo Sentinel, the first Democratic newspaper in the County, was started by F.O. Austin, but was soon discontinued. In 1857 the Polo Transcript was started by Charles Meigs, Jr.
Our thanks to Frances Schott for the use of her Atlas.
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