Welcome to Makanda
Ask any Makanda resident what makes Makanda different and better than other surrounding towns and you'll probably hear responses like beautiful, scenic, quiet, and unlike any other town in Southern Illinois. Makanda is known for it's unique shops and businesses on the boardwalk - unlike anything else you'll find. Makanda is the Gateway to Giant City State Park with the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail and the scenic River to River Trail passing through the village.
Makanda got its start in 1845 as a boarding house and construction camp for the Illinois Central Railroad. Makanda was been known by several names of Markanda, Markands, and Markauda. In 1872, it received its present name of Makanda and was named after a local Indian chief. The village was incorporated on February 7, 1888.
The economy of Makanda was once very closely tied to the railroad. Makanda was a major shipping hub for Chicago for fruits and vegetables. The community once stretched up and down the valley and hillsides with a boardwalk extending to the entrance of Giant City State Park. Makanda was a thriving town with grocery stores, a bank, barbers, a dentist, three doctors, an undertaker, hotels, a jail, and various other establishments.
Present day Makanda has become an affordable place for artists from Southern Illinois University and the surrounding areas to create and display their work downtown on the boardwalk. Makanda is a small, thriving community and home to the annual Spring Fest held the first weekend of each May and the Vulture Fest held the third weekend in each October. Both include food, live music, and arts.