The historic Carthage Jail
|Elevation||669 ft (204 m)|
|Area||2.44 sq mi (6 km2)|
|- land||2.44 sq mi (6 km2)|
|- water||0.00 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Density||1,698.0 / sq mi (656 / km2)|
|- summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|Wikimedia Commons: Carthage, Illinois|
Carthage is a city in Hancock County, Illinois, United States. The population was 2,605 as of the 2010 Census, down from 2,725 in 2000. It is the county seat of Hancock County. Carthage is most famous for being the site of the death of Joseph Smith in 1844.
Hancock County, and Carthage, saw its first settlers arrive sometime in the first few decades of the 19th century. By 1833, simple buildings had been erected in Carthage, and the town was platted in 1838. By this time Carthage had become the county seat of Hancock county.
The only person legally hanged in Hancock County, Efram Fraim, was defended in his trial by roaming country attorney Abraham Lincoln. Fraim was found guilty of murder. Lincoln filed an appeal with the judge in the trial, which was as far as appeals in those days mostly went. Because at the time Carthage had no jail, Fraim was kept at the Courthouse, which was next to the school. Fraim would converse with the children from his second floor window. As a result of these conversations, most of the school children were present when their new friend, Efraim, was hanged. The hanging is believed to have taken place in the vicinity of the current city sewer plant east of town, where a natural amphitheater allowed for a crowd to view the spectacle.
On October 22, 1858, Abraham Lincoln gave a speech in Carthage while campaigning for the Senate. The speech spot is commemorated by a large stone on the south side of the Courthouse square.
Over the years the jail had been modified and utilized for different purposes. For a period the jail was home to Carthage College. The jail has been restored to a close approximation of its appearance in 1844 and is now owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The site, a full city block, is operated as a historical visitor's center.
Regionally noted botanist, philanthropist, and traveler Dr. Alice L. Kibbe called Carthage home. Along with Dr. Kibbe's personal collections, Carthage's Kibbe Hancock Heritage Museum houses a variety of exhibits celebrating local and regional history.
Carthage is the only city in Illinois to have all of the jails that were ever used still in existence: The old jail, called the Mormon Jail; the jail next built which was also the Sheriff's residence and is on the south side of the Courthouse square; and the new jail, located on Highway 136 on the west side of the City.
The Hancock County Courthouse in Carthage, built in 1908, is the third courthouse for the county. It is at the center of the square in Carthage. The courthouse and shops shops surrounding the square have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1986.
Carthage is located at (40.414327, -91.133472).
According to the 2010 census, the city has a total area of 2.44 square miles (6.3 km2), all land.
In June, 2006 development property on the east side of Carthage was voluntarily annexed into the city limits. This property totaled approximately .43 square miles (1.1 km2), all land except for an eight-acre lake.
As of the 2010 Census, there were 2,605 persons living in 1,151 households in Carthage. With an area of 2.44 square miles, the population density was 1,067 persons per square mile. There were 1,308 total housing units with an average density of 536 per square mile. Racially, 97.3% of Carthage residents identified themselves as white, 0.3% identified as Black/African American, 0.3% were Native American, and 0.4% identified themselves as Asian. No residents identified themselves as Pacific Islander. 0.5% of the remaining population identified themselves as belonging to some other race, while 1.2% belonged to multiple races. Between all races, 2.0% of the population identified as hispanic or latino.
2007–2011 Census data showed that 19.2% of Carthage residents were under the age of 18, while 22.6% of the population was over the age of 65. The median age in Carthage was 44.0 years, and there were 88.3 males for every 100 females. Of residents over the age of 15, 50.8% of persons were married. Of persons over the age of 25, 93.2% had earned at least a high school diploma while 19.2% had earned a Bachelor's degree or higher. 7.2% of persons held a graduate degree.
For census data collected between 2007 and 2011, the median (middle) household income for Carthage was $46,607, with a mean (average) household income of $51,584. The median per-capita income was reported to be $22,729. Unemployment was measured to be 7.9%, while 10.7% of persons and 8.8% of families lived with earnings below the federal poverty line.
Carthage's economy is centered around agriculture and supporting industries. The surrounding land is devoted to the cultivation of crops, especially corn and soybeans. Industrial hog farms are also located in close proximity to the city.
The company Methode Electronics, Inc. operates an auto parts production facility in Carthage, though the company no longer employs as significant a portion of the population as was once the case.
Beginning in August 2007, the Carthage High School (also known as Hancock County Central High School) building has become the home of the newly formed Illini West High School, consolidating the high school districts of Carthage, La Harpe, and Dallas City. The three cities will maintain separate facilities for elementary and middle schools.
From 1870 to 1964, Carthage was home to Carthage College, which relocated to Kenosha, Wisconsin. From 1965 to 1975, Carthage was home to Robert Morris University–Illinois, which merged with Moser School of Business and relocated to Chicago.
The former Carthage College campus were purchased by Prairieland Investment Group in June 2007. (Hancock County Journal Pilot June 27, 2007) Some buildings are renovated for use by Carthage Veterinary Clinic. The auditorium was given to Carl Sandburg College, and has been restored for use by the college and for community presentations and events.
Memorial Hospital in Carthage opened its doors in 1949, named for the local heroes who brought victory in World War II. Six decades later, Carthage celebrated the grand opening of a new facility in July 2009. The new Memorial Hospital includes the 21st Century technology. The hospital operates clinics in the county including Midwest Family Medical Care, Women & Family Medical Group and Convenient Care After-Hours Clinic in Carthage; Memorial Medical Augusta Clinic; Bowen Family Practice; Memorial Medical Nauvoo Clinic; and Memorial Medical Clinic in LaHarpe.
- Rip Williams, professional baseball player in Major League Baseball from 1911 to 1918
- John Nelson Hyde, Presbyterian Missionary in India (Punjab)
- Virginia Cherrill, co-star of Charlie Chaplin in City Lights
Carthage Golf Club: The 9-hole Carthage Golf Course is located right next to the scenic Carthage Lake. This par 35 course features a variety of holes measuring 2800 yards; thhe holes run the gamut from the 120 yard Hole 2 over water, to the 520 yard Hole 5 straight-away, to the doglegs of holes 4 and 8.
Carthage Lake: Carthage Lake at the northwest edge of town includes Jaycee Park with picnic shelters, disc golf, swimming and play equipment. Also at the lake are a campground and the nine-hole Carthage Golf Club.
Hancock County Courthouse: The Hancock County Courthouse in Carthage, built in 1908, is the third courthouse for the county. It is at the center of the square in Carthage. The courthouse and shops shops surrounding the square have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1986.
Jaycee Park: The Jaycee Park is Carthage's Premier general purpose park. Located at the Carthage Lake, also on the North-West corner of the city, the Jaycee Park has provisions for camping (near the golf course), shelters for family picnics and reunions, numerous playground areas for the kids, toilet and water facilities, and more.
Joe Grate Park: The Joe Grate Park at the northeast side of town includes picnic facilities, baseball and softball fields, and tennis courts.
The Kibbe Hancock Heritage Museum: The Kibbe Hancock Heritage Museum  includes a large display of artifacts about life in early Hancock County; the natural history collection from biology professor, Dr. Alice Kibbe; displays from the Illinois Funeral Directors Association museum; and an exhibit about the Civil War, the life and death of Abraham Lincoln and how it relates to Hancock County.
Lake Hill Winery: Lake Hill Winery was founded in 2010 by Craig and Anita Wear. The Winery, which is located along scenic Carthage Lake, is complete with vineyards, a large patio, an outdoor gazebo, and banquet call. Since 2010, Lake Hill Winery has been west central Illinois' premier winery and banquet hall.
Looking for Lincoln: Carthage has six "Looking for Lincoln" informational kiosks, and is part of the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition.
World of Wonders Park: World of Wonders Park (W.O.W. Park) is a community built park that was built in 1994 in the memory of Emily Frankovich, the World of Wonders park was a community build project that was built and exists entirely through the philanthropy of others. W.O.W. Park is located just south of the town square.
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- Carthage City Council Minutes
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- Haney, Dave (May 10, 2009). "Robert Morris College becomes Robert Morris University - Peoria, IL". pjstar.com. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
- "Our Mission, History, and Credentials - Robert Morris University". Robertmorris.edu. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
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- "Friends of W.O.W.". Retrieved 9 October 2014.
Media related to Carthage, Illinois at Wikimedia Commons