Kewanee, Illinois

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City of Kewanee, Illinois
Kewanee Ill 09.jpg
Nickname(s): Hog Capital of the World
Location of Kewanee, Illinois
Location of Kewanee, Illinois
Coordinates: 41°14′N 89°56′W / 41.233°N 89.933°W / 41.233; -89.933Coordinates: 41°14′N 89°56′W / 41.233°N 89.933°W / 41.233; -89.933
Country United States
State Illinois
County Henry
Incorporated 1854
 • Mayor Bruce Tossell
 • Total 6.72 sq mi (17.4 km2)
Elevation 803 ft (244 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 12,916
 • Density 2,062.1/sq mi (795.8/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)

Kewanee is a city in Henry County, Illinois, United States. "Kewanee" is the Winnebago word for prairie chicken,[1] which lekked there. The population was 12,916 at the 2010 census, down from 12,944 at the 2000 census.


Kewanee is located at 41°14′N 89°56′W / 41.233°N 89.933°W / 41.233; -89.933 (41.241, -89.926).[2]

According to the 2010 census, the city has a total area of 6.72 square miles (17.4 km2), of which 6.71 square miles (17.4 km2) (or 99.85%) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.026 km2) (or 0.15%) is water.[3]


As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 12,944 people, 5,353 households, and 3,377 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,062.1 people per square mile (795.8/km²). There were 5,879 housing units at an average density of 936.6 per square mile (361.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.27% White, 3.68% African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 3.69% from other races, and 1.95% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.10% of the population.

There were 5,353 households out of which 28.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.0% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.9% were non-families. 32.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.8% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 25.4% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 20.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 88.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,895, and the median income for a family was $37,730. Males had a median income of $29,065 versus $19,792 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,746. About 10.7% of families and 13.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.0% of those under age 18 and 8.9% of those age 65 or over.

Kewanee water tower as seen from N. Tremont St.


Kewanee was well known in the steam industry for fire-tube boilers. The Kewanee Boiler Corporation manufactured and sold thousands of boilers throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada and the world for well over one hundred years. However, the company failed in 2002 and was forced to go out of business. However, these boilers are still extremely common. An example of a Kewanee steam boiler can be seen in a scene in the movie The Blues Brothers. Specifically, when Cab Calloway's character named Curtis offers to "buy you boys a drink", he takes Jake and Elwood down to the orphanage's basement, where the boiler is easily seen in the background. A Kewanee boiler is also the dwelling place for the character Suzie DeSoto, played by Debra Winger, in the 1982 film version of John Steinbeck's book Cannery Row. The Kewanee High School athletic teams are nicknamed the "Boilermakers."

Kewanee Boiler

Kewanee was also home to the Walworth Company, Kewanee Machinery and Conveyor Company and Kewanee Manufacturing Company – all manufacturers that employed many local blue collar workers in their heyday. Kewanee, once a prominent industrial town, has fallen into silence like many similar communities in the past twenty years. Beyond the falling industries there have been a few blooming businesses that shine as prominent growing developments, for example, Goods Furniture Store. Goods is known across Kewanee, Illinois, and further for being an excellent source for beautiful and affordable furniture.


Kewanee is blessed to have many different types of parks in the immediate area. Offering a variety of activities such as boating,camping, hunting, fishing, playgrounds, baseball fields,and more. Parks inside the city limits are ran by the Kewanee Park District. Outside of Kewanee there is one city park named Francis Park which has picnic and camping facilities. Also outside of Kewanee is Johnson's Sauk Trail State Park which offers hunting, boating, camping, picnicking, and other seasonal activities. Below is a listing of the parks in and nearby Kewanee:

  • Baker Park - 18 hole Golf Course & Pro Shop, Disc Golf Course, scenic drive through the park, home of the Twin Hills which is a local hotspot for sledding I the winter.
  • Windmont Park - Fitness trail around the pond, fishing, playground equipment, baseball diamond, 3 open air shelters, and an enclosed shelter. This park is known in the winter for its lighting display which is entirely volunteer driven.
  • Northeast Park - Pool, baseball diamonds, soccer, and playground.
  • Chautauqua Park - Horseshoes, Disc Golf Course, Playground, small baseball diamond.
  • West Park - Playground equipment.
  • McKinley Park - Playground equipment
  • Veterans Park - Memorials for local veterans and gazebo in which concerts are held from time to time.
  • Francis Park - Picnicking, Camping, Woodland Palace Museum, Shelter House, Fourth of July Festival.
  • Johnson's Sauk Trail State Park - Hunting, Camping, Fishing, Boating, Hiking, Ryan's Round Barn, and other seasonal activities. The park has both a large lake and smaller pond for fishing.



Kewanee has had two school districts, dating to when the community of Wethersfield was a separate municipality. Though the towns merged long ago, the two school districts both remain in the city of 13,400, divided at Division Street in the middle of Kewanee. While Kewanee School District #229 has around 2,015 students (533 High School), Wethersfield #230 has about 600 students. The two schools enjoy a usually friendly rivalry, since both district high schools are in different divisions for most sports. However, this rivalry can become very heated in the sports the two high schools do compete in, most notably basketball.

There are also other schools in Kewanee like Visitation Catholic School: home of the Giants, and a community college, Black Hawk College. Black Hawk College-East Campus is recognized nationally for its equestrian program, as well as livestock judging teams. (Another Campus is located in the Quad Cities.)

Kewanee CUSD #229[edit]

  • Grades: PreK-12
  • Mascot: Boilermaker
  • Colors: Orange and Black
  • Conference: Three Rivers Athletic Conference (TRAC)

The District utilizes several buildings located around Kewanee to house different grades of students. The schools include: Irving School, Central School, Lyle School, Belle Alexander School, and Kewanee High School. The athletic field is located next to Kewanee High School.

Other Wikipedia Articles: Kewanee High School

Wethersfield CUSD #230[edit]

  • Grades: PreK-12
  • Mascot: Flying Geese
  • Colors: Green and White
  • Conference: Lincoln Trail Conference (LTC)

The District's campus is housed entirely on a single block off of Tenny St. In Kewanee. The athletic field is located next to the campus across Garfield Street. Wethersfield has co-oped with other community schools, such as Annawan High School, in sports such as Football and Baseball. The combined team is designated as the AW Titans with colors being Blue and Silver.

Other Wikipedia Articles: Wethersfield High School (Illinois)


Recently,[when?] the Kewanee School Board and the Wethersfield School Board conducted a feasibility study on the subject of consolidation, which would provide the town one school district.[citation needed] Wethersfield also completed a feasibility study with two nearby towns, Annawan and Galva. Currently, Wethersfield and Annawan share co-ops in several sports programs under the name of the Titans.



The most notable festival held in the community is Hog Days. It is held annually on Labor Day weekend. Events include a carnival, mud volleyball, a parade, and more. More information including a history of the event is available at

Local media[edit]

Kewanee Radio Stations

FM radio[edit]

  • 93.9 WYEC "Rewind 93.9", Oldies
  • 102.1 W271BL (Translates 93.9 WYEC), Oldies
  • 102.5 WJRE "HOGG Country 102.5", Country (RDS)
  • 104.3 W282AL (Translates 1450 WKEI), News/Talk

AM radio[edit]

  • 1450 WKEI, News/Talk

Cable television[edit]

  • Cable service is provided by Comcast.

Telco Service[edit]


B&B Printing, local family ran printing press

Notable businesses[edit]

West Second Street, 1908

Current businesses[edit]

  • Bomag Americas
  • Boss Manufacturing
  • Good's Furniture
  • Great Dane Trailers
  • Kewanee Hospital

Former businesses[edit]

Notable people[edit]


The Kewanee Amtrak station serves trains on the on Carl Sandburg and Illinois Zephyr daily. The current station standing today was completed April 13, 2012. The new depot offers a modern look and a much upgraded space for travelers to wait for trains.

Miscellaneous information[edit]

  • Despite its relatively small size, Kewanee maintains two separate school districts, Kewanee district #229 and Wethersfield district #230, reflecting the fact that the city sits in two different townships, Kewanee Township, and Wethersfield Township. The two school districts were formerly Township High School districts. Wethersfield was founded by former residents of Wethersfield, Connecticut The former Village of Wethersfield eventually merged with the City of Kewanee. Kewanee Wethersfield recently co-oped with a town ten miles away from Kewanee in football, track, softball, track, cross country and golf.
  • Kewanee is acknowledged as the Hog Capital of the World. This fact was even mentioned in an episode of Law and Order: SVU.
  • Every Labor Day weekend, Kewanee holds a parade, flea market and a carnival to celebrate the title "Hog Capital of the World"


  1. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 174. 
  2. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  3. ^ "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files for Places – Illinois". United States Census. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "Kewanee". The Independent. Jul 6, 1914. Retrieved August 1, 2012. 
  6. ^ [1]

External links[edit]