Calhoun County, Illinois

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Calhoun County, Illinois
Map of Illinois highlighting Calhoun County
Location in the state of Illinois
Map of the United States highlighting Illinois
Illinois's location in the U.S.
Founded 1825
Named for John C. Calhoun
Seat Hardin
Largest village Hardin
 • Total 284 sq mi (736 km2)
 • Land 254 sq mi (658 km2)
 • Water 30 sq mi (78 km2), 10.5%
 • (2010) 5,089
 • Density 20/sq mi (8/km²)
Congressional district 13th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Calhoun County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. As of the 2010 census, the population was 5,089,[1] making it the third-least populous county in Illinois. Its county seat is Hardin.[2] Calhoun County is located at the tip of the peninsula formed by the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers and is almost completely surrounded by water. Often referred to as 'The Island,' Calhoun County is sparsely populated with seven or eight municipalities, all villages.[3]

Calhoun County is part of the Metro-East portion of the St. Louis, MO-IL Metropolitan Statistical Area.


The territory was originally settled by indigenous people who focused their settlement along the resource-rich river valleys. The remains of their occupation have provided some of the most valuable archaeological information in the country. The county's archaeological record chronicles more than 10,000 years of continuous human settlement by Native Americans.

Calhoun County was settled by European Americans during the 19th century, and organized in 1825. It was named for Vice President John C. Calhoun. The southern side of the county, covered in thick forest, was untouched until the population began to expand in the 1840s with the arrival of German immigrants. Land was cleared for farming, exporting lumber and constructing spacious log barns, typically 200 square feet (19 m2) in size, which were a "trademark of successful German farmers."[4]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 284 square miles (740 km2), of which 254 square miles (660 km2) is land and 30 square miles (78 km2) (10.5%) is water.[5]

Calhoun County is a narrow 37-mile (60 km)-long peninsula of mostly high, rolling ground located between the Mississippi River and the Illinois River. The rolling hills escaped the leveling of glaciers.

County transportation is served by two state-operated, free ferries crossing the Illinois River (the Brussels Ferry in the south and the Kampsville ferry in the north). The Golden Eagle ferry, which is privately operated and charges a toll, crosses the Mississippi River to St. Charles County, Missouri. A bridge spans the Illinois River at Hardin. Land routes connect to the north to bordering Pike County.

When transportation was mainly by river, the county had many prosperous farms and orchards. It still produces a major portion of the peach crop of Illinois, and farmers raise corn and other commodities. The hotel in Brussels dates from 1847, when it was a stagecoach stop.

The county is popular with tourists due to the natural beauty of the Illinois River valley and its proximity to the Great River Road. It includes part of the Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge and attracts thousands of birds in migration seasons as part of the Mississippi Flyway. The county has several designated historic districts in the villages and properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Calhoun County was added to the St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area in 2003, along with Bond and Macoupin counties in Illinois, and Washington County, Missouri.

The Center for American Archeology is located in Kampsville in the northern part of the county. It has been the center for study of prehistoric indigenous culture in the area. It has created educational opportunities for children and adults to participate in its archaeological digs.

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]

Major highways[edit]

Climate and weather[edit]

Hardin, Illinois
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: The Weather Channel[6]

In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Hardin have ranged from a low of 19 °F (−7 °C) in January to a high of 90 °F (32 °C) in July, although a record low of −24 °F (−31 °C) was recorded in January 1979 and a record high of 116 °F (47 °C) was recorded in July 1954. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 2.01 inches (51 mm) in January to 4.10 inches (104 mm) in May.[6]


2000 census age pyramid for Calhoun County.
Historical population
Census Pop.
1830 1,090
1840 1,740 59.6%
1850 3,231 85.7%
1860 5,144 59.2%
1870 6,562 27.6%
1880 7,467 13.8%
1890 7,652 2.5%
1900 8,917 16.5%
1910 8,610 −3.4%
1920 8,245 −4.2%
1930 8,034 −2.6%
1940 8,207 2.2%
1950 6,898 −15.9%
1960 5,933 −14.0%
1970 5,675 −4.3%
1980 5,867 3.4%
1990 5,322 −9.3%
2000 5,084 −4.5%
2010 5,089 0.1%
Est. 2013 5,059 −0.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
1790-1960[8] 1900-1990[9]
1990-2000[10] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 5,084 people, 2,046 households, and 1,438 families residing in the county. The population density was 20 people per square mile (8/km²). There were 2,681 housing units at an average density of 11 per square mile (4/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 98.80% White, 0.04% Black or African American, 0.31% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.16% from other races, and 0.51% from two or more races. 0.63% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 53.5% were of German, 13.5% American, 6.3% Irish and 6.0% English ancestry according to Census 2000. 98.5% spoke English and 1.3% Spanish as their first language.

There were 2,046 households out of which 29.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.80% were married couples living together, 5.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.70% were non-families. 26.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the county the population was spread out with 22.90% under the age of 18, 7.60% from 18 to 24, 25.90% from 25 to 44, 24.40% from 45 to 64, and 19.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 100.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $34,375, and the median income for a family was $43,107. Males had a median income of $32,281 versus $20,943 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,785. About 7.30% of families and 9.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.10% of those under age 18 and 9.80% of those age 65 or over.


  • Brussels Community Unit School District 42
  • Calhoun Community Unit School District 40



Unincorporated communities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 4, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "Visitors Guide to Calhoun County". Retrieved 2012-08-11. 
  4. ^ Price, H. Wayne (Summer 1980). "The Double-Crib Log Barns of Calhoun County". Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 73 (2): 140–160. 
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for Hardin, Illinois". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  7. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 4, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 4, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 4, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 4, 2014. 
  11. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°10′N 90°40′W / 39.16°N 90.67°W / 39.16; -90.67