Named Jubilee College in 1839 by its founder, Episcopal Bishop Philander Chase in expression of his thankfulness and joy, the college was one of the earliest educational enterprises in Illinois. Through a series of misfortunes climaxed by the Bishop's death, the college closed in 1862. In 1933 the college and grounds, consisting of 93 acres, were presented to the state of Illinois. Since that time, the Department of Natural Resources increased the acreage to 3,200. The college closed in 2008, however, the college building, placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, has been restored to its original appearance and is under the management of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
Jubilee College State Park is situated in the Illinoisan drift-plain and is deeply eroded into many complex valley systems, from near-level ridgetops and floodplains to steep slope ravines. Bedrock exposures are numerous and include shale, sandstone, limestone and coal. The highest elevation is 660 feet. The topography and Jubilee Creek constitute an aesthetically pleasing environment for outdoor recreation activities, and provide habitat for numerous wildlife and fish species. Visitors may see deer, rabbit, squirrel, fox, coyote and raccoon throughout the forests, while the creek may offer glimpses of mink, muskrat and beaver.
More than 160 species of birds are present, and wild turkeys, stocked in 1988, call Jubilee home.
Jubilee Creek, a tributary to Kickapoo Creek, passes through the park from the northwest to southeast and is characterized by deep pools and fast riffles. The average width is 40 feet and average depth is 4 inches. Fish species of interest to anglers include smallmouth bass, bluegill, catfish and carp. Swimming is prohibited.