Main St, Arcola
|Elevation||677 ft (206 m)|
|Area||2.02 sq mi (5 km2)|
|- land||2.00 sq mi (5 km2)|
|- water||0.02 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Density||1,938.9 / sq mi (749 / km2)|
|- summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|Wikimedia Commons: Arcola, Illinois|
Arcola is a city in Douglas County, Illinois, United States. The population was 2,916 at the 2010 census. The city was founded in 1855, when the Illinois Central Railroad was built through the county. The railroad itself was responsible for surveying, platting and founding the town.
Arcola is somewhat famous for the Lawn Rangers, a "precision lawn mower drill team" that marches in formation with brooms and lawn mowers while wearing cowboy hats. Every year since 1980, the Lawn Rangers have marched in the Arcola Broom Corn Festival Parade. The event, held the weekend after Labor Day, honors Arcola's position in the late 19th century as a center of broom corn production. The Lawn Rangers were so named because the Grand Marshal of the Parade in 1980 was Clayton Moore, famous as the Lone Ranger, and they were named in his honor. This unique custom was publicized by humor columnist Dave Barry, who marched with the Lawn Rangers in 1995.
Arcola was the birthplace in 1880 of John Barton Gruelle, or "Johnny" Gruelle, who is famous for creating Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy, the loveable American dolls and storybook characters. Gruelle used artistic skills learned from his painter father Richard Buckner Gruelle combined with his self-taught writing skills to create stories expressing regional values and aesthetic images. His artistic granddaughter, Joni Gruelle Wannamaker, manages the Raggedy Ann Museum in Arcola.
A nationally known tourist attraction, Rockome Gardens, which features large formal gardens, concrete fencing and architecture, buggy rides, and many special events from May through October is conveniently located just outside of the town of Arcola.
Arcola is also known for housing the world's only Hippie Memorial, created by Bob Moomaw. He died in 1998. He worked as a railroad clerk and tax assessor, but did not like either job. As an eccentric, independent artist with strong beliefs, he was able to give voice to his feelings, passions and opinions through his art and the writing on the sides of his buildings. He created the 62 feet-long artwork starting in 1992 to say something about his life and the era during which he lived. A nearby marker gives an interpretation of his work.
In the countryside surrounding nearby Arthur, Illinois, is a prominent community of Old Order Amish, the largest in Illinois. Amish farms occupy much of the farmland west of Arcola, with the highest concentration of Amish businesses around Arthur and the unincorporated communities of Chesterville, Illinois, Bourbon, Illinois, and Cadwell, Illinois. Arcola is home to the Illinois Amish Interpretive Center. This Old Order Amish Museum opened in 1996 and features exhibits on most aspects of Amish life, as well as an introductory video about the Central Illinois Amish. Through the museum, tours can be scheduled of the Amish countryside, Amish homes, farms, and businesses, and meals in Amish homes can be scheduled as well.
According to the 2010 census, the city has a total area of 2.02 square miles (5.2 km2), of which 2.00 square miles (5.2 km2) (or 99.01%) is land and 0.02 square miles (0.052 km2) (or 0.99%) is water.
At the 2000 census, there were 2,652 people, 1,031 households and 748 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,938.9 per square mile (747.4/km²). There were 1,080 housing units at an average density of 789.6 per square mile (304.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.40% White, 0.26% African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.79% Asian, 8.03% from other races, and 1.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 19.87% of the population.
There were 1,031 households of which 33.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.7% were married couples living together, 8.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.4% were non-families. 24.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.03.
25.7% of the population were under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 93.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.2 males.
The median household income was $38,125, and the median family income was $46,107. Males had a median income of $30,168 versus $22,723 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,664. About 2.0% of families and 3.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.1% of those under age 18 and 2.9% of those age 65 or over.
- Johnny Gruelle, (1880–1938) creator of the Raggedy Ann doll
- Jennie Garth (born 1972), best known for her role as Kelly Taylor in Beverly Hills, 90210
- The Lawn Rangers, a "precision lawn mower drill team" that has participated in parades across the USA
- Arcola Community Unit School District #306
- Arcola Chamber of Commerce
- History of Arcola Township (written 1884)
- Personal website of a Lawn Ranger
- The Johnny Gruelle Raggedy Ann & Andy Museum in Arcola, Illinois
- Rockome Gardens
- Hippie Memorial
- Nancie King Mertz
- The Illinois Amish Interpretive Center