Flora B&O Depot
Flora B&O Depot

A Colorful History

The City of Flora, located in the heart of Southern Illinois, was established in 1854 when the town was first laid out, surveyed and plotted.  Flora is said to have been named for the daughter of one of the founders of the City, as well as for the many wild flowers that grew in great abundance on the town site.


There is no question that Flora owes much of its early growth to the advent of several railroads through Clay County and the community.  A crisscrossing of rail lines reaching from Cincinnati to East St. Louis and from Shawneetown to Beardstown was set up in the late 1800s.  Railroads continue to play an important role in the development and economy of the City, providing industry with convenient rail service for their products all across the country.


In 1960, because it was "near" the center of the population in the nation, Flora was selected for the site of a gigantic promotion by the Ford Motor Company and was designated as Fordtown, USA.  Every car owner in town was given a week's use of a brand new Ford vehicle.  Visits from Ford had the town buzzing with excitement.


In 1998, the State of Illinois and the United States Department of the Interior National Park Service announced the listing of the Clay County Jail in the National Register of Historic Places.  The now-christened Clay County Historical Museum contains many items of historical significance to Clay County displayed throughout the former living quarters of the jail.  Plus, the old cells of the jail are still in place for interested visitors to see.