The site of DeWitt on the high prairie was selected as the seat of Clinton County in 1840 because of its central location. Within the town's north-south, east-west grid, the public square was placed one block east of Church Street (the main street). By the 1870s DeWitt had become a junction point for the Chicago and Northwestern Railway and the Saint Paul Railroad. In fact the north-south line of the latter ended up running right up Church Street.
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