Chillicothe, Illinois

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Coordinates: 40°55′11″N 89°29′34″W / 40.91972°N 89.49278°W / 40.91972; -89.49278
Chillicothe
City
Chillicothe-cinema-2.jpg
Art deco movie theater on North 2nd Street
Official name: Chillicothe
Country United States
State Illinois
County Peoria
Coordinates 40°55′11″N 89°29′34″W / 40.91972°N 89.49278°W / 40.91972; -89.49278
Area 5.42 sq mi (14 km2)
 - land 5.13 sq mi (13 km2)
 - water 0.28 sq mi (1 km2)
Population 5,996 (2000)
Density 1,213.8 / sq mi (469 / km2)
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code 61523
Area code 309
Location of Chillicothe within Illinois
Location of Chillicothe within Illinois
Wikimedia Commons: Chillicothe, Illinois
Website: www.cityofchillicotheil.com

Chillicothe is a city on the Illinois River in Peoria County, Illinois. The population was 5,996 at the 2000 census. Chillicothe is just north of the city of Peoria and is part of the Peoria Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Geography[edit]

Aerial view of Chillicothe, 2012

Chillicothe is located at 40°55′11″N 89°29′34″W / 40.919792°N 89.492848°W / 40.919792; -89.492848.[1]

According to the 2010 census, the city has a total area of 5.42 square miles (14.0 km2), of which 5.13 square miles (13.3 km2) (or 94.65%) is land and 0.28 square miles (0.73 km2) (or 5.17%) is water.[2]

Chillicothe is located on the Illinois River and on the parallel Iowa Interstate Railroad (IAIS) branch, from Bureau to Peoria, which was formerly the Rock Island Railroad. Crossing the IAIS and the Illinois River at Chillicothe is the former Santa Fe Railroad, now owned by BNSF Railway. Almost 4 miles outside of town the BNSF Railway operates one of the most notable civil engineering points on the Chillicothe Subdivision. Edelstein Hill is one of the steepest climbs on the railway system and attracts many railfans to see locomotives pulling intermodal trains up the hill.

Chilicothe was once a stop on the Santa Fe's Super Chief (Chicago to Los Angeles) on the section of the run between Chicago and Galesburg. [3] It was also a stop on the Super Chief's successor, the Southwest Chief. In 1996, however, following the merger of the Burlington Northern and the Santa Fe railroads to form the BNSF, and a connection put in between the Burlington Northern line from Chicago and the Santa Fe's Chilicothe Subdvision at Cameron, Illinois,[4] the Chief was rerouted to Galesburg over the BNSF's Mendota Subdivision (also used by the California Zephyr) through Naperville, Princeton, and Mendota.

The Illinois River runs both north and south connecting Chicago with St. Louis. Barge traffic is occasional as it is an efficient means of transportation for some bulk products. Eight miles to the north is Sparland and three miles to the south is Rome. Peoria is 20 miles to the south.

Chillicothe sits along the Illinois River Valley where gravel and sand from prehistoric river development sits. It is currently being dug up and is sold for construction and roadbeds. In Chillicothe there are relatively large service facilities and connections to the BNSF Railway.

Even though Chillicothe sits along a river valley, forests are very common. Marshall State Refuge sits to the north and Atchison Waterfowl Refuge in Woodford County. The bluffs that surround it are full of hunting spots and locations where deer are common. Duck hunting as well is popular in the waterfront sloughs and swamps to the north.

History[edit]

The name Chillicothe comes from the name of the Indian chief who lived in the area with the local tribe.

Along with Peoria, Chillicothe grew due to river traffic and quickly became a stop for barge and railroad traffic going to and from Chicago to St. Louis.

In the late 1800s, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway was building its mainline from Chicago to Kansas City and selected Chillicothe as its crossing point of the Illinois River. The railroad quickly became an establishment in Chillicothe as a crew change point and a notable stop in Central Illinois. However the ATSF in its later years shut down its station and crew change point following the end of its passenger service and eventually the Amtrak station was left until the 1996 re-route of the Southwest Chief over the BNSF's Mendota Subdivision.

Illinois Valley Central High School (IVC) serves Chillicothe and is the home to the Grey Ghosts. IVCHS has some notable awards thanks to the athletic and fine arts departments. The IVC Marching Grey Ghosts have accumulated 14 state titles since 1990, most recently in 2013. The IVC baseball team won first place in state class 1A in 2006 and second place in 2008.

Demographics[edit]

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 5,996 people, 2,429 households, and 1,649 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,213.8 people per square mile (468.6/km2). There were 2,544 housing units at an average density of 515.0 per square mile (198.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.40% White, 0.22% African American, 0.17% Native American, 0.17% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.08% from other races, and 0.93% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.50% of the population.

There were 2,429 households out of which 31.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.5% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.1% were non-families. 28.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.7% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 89.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $40,697, and the median income for a family was $50,981. Males had a median income of $42,430 versus $23,295 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,118. About 5.1% of families and 6.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.5% of those under age 18 and 4.0% of those age 65 or over.

Transportation[edit]

Illinois Route 29 runs through Chillicothe north to south and is a strong artery running between I-180 in the north and Peoria to the south.

Since its creation the railroad has connected Chillicothe to the outside world. The ATSF served Chillicothe with its Super Chief trains until the creation of Amtrak in the early 1970s. Amtrak created the Southwest Chief shortly thereafter and Chillicothe once again was served. In the mid-1990s, the ATSF hit hard times and soon sought to merge with the Burlington Northern Railroad. In this merger, the BN wanted to move the Southwest Chief north to its critical line between Chicago and Galesburg instead. So in late 1995, Amtrak ran its last train through Chillicothe and passenger railroading was over. However, the BNSF Railway still has a major interest in Chillicothe. The Chillicothe Subdivision still retains its name and it sometimes is used as a crew change point.

Places of interest[edit]

Rock Island Line Railroad Museum
  • Chillicothe City Hall.[6]
  • The former Santa Fe Railroad station in the city, and Edelstein Hill near the city, are popular train watching locations.
  • The Chillicothe Historical Society Railroad Museum is located at Cedar and 3rd Streets in the old Rock Island depot.[7]
  • Chillicothe Historical Society Fourth St. Museum, 723 N. 4th St., features eight rooms of historic artifacts.
  • Shore Acres Park, riverside park with 19th-century clubhouse formerly known as the Peoria Automobile Club.[8]
  • Three Sisters Park is an agricultural park that hosts Spider Hill and Summer Camp Music Festival.
  • Town Theater, an art deco movie theater on N. 2nd St., is still in business showing films.

Notable people[edit]

References[edit]