Main Street Paw Paw IL -- Contributed by Karen Holt
History of Lee County Illinois by Frank E. Stevens Vol 1 published 1914
Main St. Hicks - Barstow Clothiers - S. Baker Grocers - Paw Paw, Lee Co IL
Methodist Church Church of Paw Paw, Lee Co IL
Paw Paw is named after the many paw paw trees in the area. It later became a junction point for the railroad and in 1872 the railroad station became the start of Paw Paw IL. By 1882 the city had incorporated and John Harding became the first city president. Over the years Paw Paw has continued to grow due to an effort of everyone pulling together.
The first settlers wer the David A. Town family in 1834. By 1885 the first home was erected and still stands (1976) just east of the business area. By the turn of the century Paw Paw was well established. The first automobile steamed into town May 25, 1902, owned by Frank Guffin.
When fire hit downtown Paw Paw in 1972 wiping out 4 buildings again the concerned businessman and citizens realized the problem that had been created. Forming the Paw Paw Progress Corp. and purchasing the destroyed property and starting from scratch built new buildings, then went out and recruited new businesses to fill the gaps.
The Lyric Theatre, the center of entertainment, is a great contrast
to the new community building still under construction (1976) and built entirely by donations and volunteer work from the people of Paw Paw.