Beall Woods (pronounced Bell) had a working farm owned by the Beall family since the mid-1800s with almost half of the 635 acres of forest that had never been cleared.
When Laura Beall, the last living heir, died without a will, the property went up for auction and was sold to a man who intended to cut the timber. Many individuals and organizations came together to prevent this from happening, a trial ensued and the land was purchased by the state of Illinois in 1965 by invoking the law of eminent domain against the unwilling seller. In 1966, 329 acres of old-growth forest in Beall Woods State Park was dedicated as the 14th Illinois nature preserve by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission. With this action, a piece of Illinois’ natural heritage was preserved so that future generations have the opportunity to see an example of the magnificent forest that once grew along the Wabash River.