Old Shawneetown is a village in Gallatin County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2000 census, the village had a total population of 278. Located along the Ohio River, Shawneetown served as an important United States government administrative center for the Northwest Territory. The village was devastated by the Ohio River flood of 1937. The village's population was moved several miles inland to New Shawneetown.
At least one record suggests that a village was established here by the Pekowi Shawnee led by Peter Chartier about 1748. In early November 1803, Lewis and Clark are believed to have stopped at Old Shawneetown on their way to Fort Massac, just down the Ohio River.
After the Revolution, Shawneetown served as an important United States government administrative center for the Northwest Territory. Shawneetown and Washington, D.C., share the distinction of being the only towns chartered by the United States government.
Old Shawneetown is the site of the first bank chartered in Illinois in 1812. Originally in a log cabin it was replaced in 1822 with a brick structure (only the second one in the town) now known as the John Marshall House.
Local legend states that the Shawneetown Bank refused to buy the first bonds issued by the city of Chicago on the grounds that no city located that far from a navigable river could survive.
Another historic bank building, the Bank of Illinois, was constructed in 1839-41 to house the offices of the Bank of Illinois at Shawneetown. It later housed numerous other financial institutions before it was closed in the 1930s. This fine example of Greek Revival architecture survives as the Shawneetown Bank State Historic Site.
Residents long remembered the visit by Gilbert du Motier, marquis de La Fayette of France to the city on May 8, 1825, as a highpoint for the early community's social history.