Henry County Courthouse
|Area||2.16 sq mi (6 km2)|
|- land||2.14 sq mi (6 km2)|
|- water||0.01 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Density||1,540.2 / sq mi (595 / km2)|
|Village President||James Crouch|
|- summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|Wikimedia Commons: Cambridge, Illinois|
Before 1843, the land where Cambridge is currently located was the private property of a man named Rev. Ithamar Pillsbury, who was very well known amongst the Yankee settlers (migrants from New England and upstate New York who were descended from the English Puritans who settled New England in the 1600s) who were moving to Henry County in large numbers at that time. Reverend Pillsbury deeded a large portion of his land to the town council and they immediately agreed it was a good place to lay out a town. Lots were sold to incoming migrants and on June 9th of 1843 (after some quarreling among the town founders about how to finance it) construction began on the town. Roads were laid out, post routes established, public buildings erected and people were invited to move there. The original settlers were entirely of New England origins or were Yankees from upstate New York whose families had moved to that place from New England only one generation earlier, in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War. This resulted in Henry County being culturally very contiguous with early New England culture.
According to the 2010 census, the village has a total area of 2.16 square miles (5.6 km2), of which 2.14 square miles (5.5 km2) (or 99.07%) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.026 km2) (or 0.46%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,180 people, 856 households, and 595 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,540.2 people per square mile (592.7/km²). There were 896 housing units at an average density of 633.0 per square mile (243.6/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 98.17% White, 0.78% African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.32% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, and 0.50% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.46% of the population.
There were 856 households out of which 31.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.5% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.4% were non-families. 26.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.95.
In the village the population was spread out with 24.6% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 15.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 101.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.0 males.
The median income for a household in the village was $38,636, and the median income for a family was $46,786. Males had a median income of $31,442 versus $20,129 for females. The per capita income for the village was $17,842. About 8.1% of families and 10.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.5% of those under age 18 and 4.9% of those age 65 or over.
As the county seat of Henry County, Illinois, Cambridge hosts the county government. The Henry County Court House, designed by Thomas J. Tolan & Son, Architects, of Fort Wayne, Indiana (1875–1878), is the key architectural landmark of the village. The courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.
Cambridge has a single school district, School District #227, which includes a single elementary school, junior high (attached to the high school), and high school. The high school graduates around 50-60 students annually. Like many small towns, the cultural life of the community revolves around the arts and sports related to the school. The elementary school was selected as a 2006 Blue Ribbon School, part of the No Child Left Behind Act. It was one of only 18 selected in Illinois.
Cambridge has two public parks. Hand Park on the west side of town hosts little league baseball and football, while College Square (former site of the high school) is the central park in the work with tennis courts, softball field, and pavilion. Valley View Country Club, just outside of town, provides an 18 hole golf course.
Links to Bishop Hill
Historically, Cambridge has been linked to nearby Bishop Hill, Illinois. Bishop Hill was founded in 1846 by a sect of Swedish immigrants led by their prophet, Erik Janson. For several years, local Americans and their Swedish neighbors traded and lived in peace. In 1850, Erik Janson was murdered by a former follower in the court house in Cambridge. The historic record reveals some tension between the Swedes in Bishop Hill and the residents of Cambridge. Additionally, the influx of Swedish immigrants attracted additional immigrants from Sweden to the Henry County area. As the population grew, they called for religious leadership from the Lutheran Church of Sweden, an official branch of the Swedish government. Before they fled from Sweden, Erik Janson and his followers had a contentious break from the Lutheran Church. The Cambridge Lutheran church was established as an off shoot of Lars Paul Esbjörn's Augustana Lutheran Church in nearby Andover, Illinois. This religious-related tension would remain between the Augustana Lutherans (including Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois) and the people of Bishop Hills well into the late 20th century. For more information on Cambridge's relationship with Bishop Hill see Troy Swanson's "Those Crazy Swedes: Outside Influence on the Bishop Hill Colony" in Nobler things to View: Collected Essays on the Erik-Janssonists published by the Bishop Hill Heritage Association in 1998.
Henry County Fair
Cambridge is home of Henry County Fair for one week each summer. During this local festival, Henry County showcases its talent as one of the premier agriculture producing counties of Illinois. Members show horses, cattle, arts, and other talents. Citizens submit art works and garden-grown produce for competition. There is often a tractor pull and demolition derby. The Henry County Queen pageant is a draw for many spectators.
- Charles F. Wennerstrum, lawyer and justice on the Iowa Supreme Court
- Amazing Larry, Local ne'er-do-well and world class malingerer famous for his appearances on the Dave & Darren Show on KBOB-FM
- Village Officials. Accessed July 20, 2010.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- History Henry County, Illinois H.F. Kett & Company, 1877 page 177-178
- The expansion of New England: the spread of New England settlement and institutions to the Mississippi River, 1620-1865 by Louis Kimball Matthews page 215-216
- "Places: Illinois". 2010 Census Gazetteer Files. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Village of Cambridge. Schools. Accessed February 22, 2007.
- United States Department of Education. 2006 No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon Schools. Accessed February 22, 2007.