West Frankfort | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
West Frankfort was established in 1810 by Francis Jordan, an early settler from Tennessee, with the help of his seven brothers. What began as a fort on top of a small hill was completed in 1811 and was named "Frank's Fort", in Jordan's honor.
Since the Shawnee Trail, an important trading route linking Kaskaskia, Illinois and Old Shawneetown, Illinois ran along the high ground in the vicinity of the fort, the resulting settlement took the name of the nearby fort, which was subsequently shortened to "Frankfort". Frankfort grew quickly during this period, its population rivaling that of Chicago at that time.