Immanuel Lutheran Church in Belvidere
|Nickname: Illinois' City of Murals|
|Area||12.31 sq mi (32 km2)|
|- land||12.08 sq mi (31 km2)|
|- water||0.23 sq mi (1 km2)|
|Density||2,295.3 / sq mi (886 / km2)|
|- summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|Wikimedia Commons: Belvidere, Illinois|
Belvidere // is a city in Boone County, Illinois, United States. The population was 25,585 as of the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Boone County. Belvidere is part of the Rockford, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Belvidere is located at  and sits at an altitude that is approximately 800 feet (240 m) above sea level. Located in north central Illinois, Belvidere is approximately 75 miles (121 km) northwest of the downtown of Chicago, and approximately 12 miles (19 km) east of Rockford. Belvidere is divided by the Kishwaukee River.(42.254758, -88.844093),
According to the 2010 census, the city has a total area of 12.31 square miles (31.9 km2), of which 12.08 square miles (31.3 km2) (or 98.13%) is land and 0.23 square miles (0.60 km2) (or 1.87%) is water. Belvidere is located in north central Illinois and is 75 miles from downtown Chicago on Routes 20, 76 and the Northern Illinois Toll road, with the Kishwaukee River dividing the town. Belvidere is an industrial community surrounded by prosperous farms. It is the County Seat with an estimated 2006 county population of over 52,000. The altitude is 800 feet above sea level, average temperatures are: 73 degrees F in the summer; 24 degrees F in the winter, and the average rainfall is 33.3 inches. 
As of the census of 2010, there were 26,406 people. As of the census of 2000, there was, 7,531 households, and 5,324 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,295.3 people per square mile (886.3/km²). There were 7,970 housing units at an average density of 878.6 per square mile (339.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 64.53% White, 1.15% African American, 0.37% Native American, 0.45% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 11.57% from other races, and 1.92% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race are 26.07% of the population.
There were 7,531 households out of which 38.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.9% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.3% were non-families. 24.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.26.
In the city the population was spread out with 29.7% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 31.2% from 25 to 44, 18.1% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 97.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $42,529, and the median income for a family was $50,601. Males had a median income of $37,116 versus $24,454 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,804. About 7.8% of families and 10.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.0% of those under age 18 and 8.0% of those age 65 or over.
The location where Belvidere exists today was first settled in 1835 by Simon P. Doty and Mr. Whitney, who named the location next to the Kishwaukee River "Elysian Fields". Census figures show 37 residents in that year. Belvidere was originally built on the north side of the river. In 1851, a railroad was built south of the river, the business section followed to the south side of the river, where Belvidere's downtown is now located. Belvidere was home to the National Sewing Machine Company from 1886 until the 1940s.
On April 21, 1967, a devastating tornado struck Belvidere. Twenty-four lives were lost in the tornado, many of whom were school children. The F4 tornado struck at the end of the school day of Belvidere High School, while many children including those that attended area grade schools were waiting on school buses outside of the high school. Out of sixteen school buses outside of the high school, twelve were overturned or thrown. The tornado did US$ 22 million in damage, demolished over 100 homes, and injured over 300. In 2007 a statue was erected in front of Belvidere High School in memorial of the lives lost.
1969 Miss America
In 1969 Belvidere native Judith Anne Ford won the Miss America pageant as Miss Illinois. Ford was a Belvidere High School graduate. She was the first Miss America to go to Vietnam as part of a USO tour.
On December 7, 2009 there was an explosion at the NDK America building. A truck driver from Indiana at the nearby Illinois Tollway Commission-owned Belvidere Oasis was struck fatally by flying debris. The explosion's shock wave shook ceilings and doors in the area. No cause has been determined as of 2013.
Pettit Memorial Chapel, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Lampert-Wildflower House, and the James Knox Taylor designed Belvidere Post Office are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Parks include Spencer Park, Belvidere Municipal Park, and the Boone County Fairgrounds. Belvidere is known as the "City of Murals", for its numerous murals. The Left Behind series fictional character Rayford Steele was born there.
Belvidere used to have two hospitals, St. Joseph Hospital and Highland Hospital, both of which having recently closed, with St. Joseph's closing in 1999. In 2008, SwedishAmerican Hospital opened a hospital, and in 2009, they renovated and reopened the former Highland Hospital, which has the city's only emergency department. Cemeteries include the Belvidere Cemetery (Richard S. Molony's interment site) and St. James Catholic Cemetery. The nearest general aviation airport is Poplar Grove Airport, formerly known as Belvidere Airport. Schools include Belvidere High School, Belvidere North High School, Belvidere Endeaver High School, Belvidere South Middle School, Belvidere Central Middle School, Kishwaukee Elementary School, Lincoln Elementary School, Perry Elementary School, Meehan Elementary School, Caledonia Elementary School, Seth Whitman Elementary, and one academy, Washington Academy which are all part of the Belvidere Community Unit School District 100. Belvidere's public library, Ida Public Library, was formed in 1883. The current building, a Carnegie Library, was constructed in 1912 and opened in 1913, with an addition built in 1987. It includes adult and children services, a Local History and Genealogy Room, and Internet/computer access.
Chrysler operates the Belvidere Assembly Plant, an auto assembly plant, originally constructed in the mid-1960s. The Belvidere plant manufactured the Dodge Neon until the spring of 2005. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the plant manufactured Chrysler Newports and Plymouth Furys. After a massive restructuring of the Belvidere plant, it is now one of the most modern auto assembly plants in the United States. It produces the Dodge Dart, Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot.
Other businesses with facilities or headquarters in Belvidere include:
- Belvedere Co., beauty salon equipment provider
- Carpenter Components of Illinois, part of R & D Thiel, a division of Carpenter Contractors of America
- Dean Foods ice cream factory
- Spirit CDL Training Corporation, truck driving school
- General Mills food distribution facility
- Acument Global Technologies, Fastener Manufacturer
- PACTIV Corp., paperboard manufacturer
- Physicians Immediate Care, urgent care provider
- Practice Velocity, electronic medical records company
- Metalith, a division of Infrastructure Defense Technologies, which produces flood and explosion barriers for military and civilian use
- Nihon Dempa Kogyo's US headquarters, NDK America
- Matt Barr, quarterback at Western Illinois University
- Frank Bishop, infielder for the Chicago Browns
- Emory S. Bogardus, sociologist
- Joe Charboneau, outfielder and designated hitter for the Cleveland Indians
- Judith Ford, 1969 Miss America
- Charles Eugene Fuller, U.S. Congressman
- Jeanne Gang, architect
- Amanda Levens, women's college basketball player and coach
- Fred Schulte, outfielder for the St. Louis Browns, Washington Senators and Pittsburgh Pirates
- Kurt Sellers, wrestler with the WWE (as K.C. James and James Curtis)
- Scott Taylor, professional off-road racing driver
- James Waddington, Wisconsin State Senator
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Places: Illinois". 2010 Census Gazetteer Files. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Belvedere Company website
- Carpenter Components Of Illinois
- Dean Foods
- General Mills
- Physicians Immediate Care
- Practice Velocity