Roxana, Illinois

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Coordinates: 38°50′18″N 90°3′49″W / 38.83833°N 90.06361°W / 38.83833; -90.06361
Roxana
Village
Official name: The Village of Roxana
Name origin: disputed; see history
Nickname: Shell Country
Country United States
State Illinois
County Madison
Coordinates 38°50′18″N 90°3′49″W / 38.83833°N 90.06361°W / 38.83833; -90.06361
Area 7.36 sq mi (19 km2)
 - land 7.23 sq mi (19 km2)
 - water 0.13 sq mi (0 km2)
Population 1,542 (2010)
Density 82.3 / km2 (213 / sq mi)
Founded 1921
Village president Felix Floyd
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code 62084
Area code 618
Location of Roxana within Illinois
Location of Roxana within Illinois
Wikimedia Commons: Roxana, Illinois
Website: http://www.roxana-il.org/index.htm

Roxana is a village in Madison County, Illinois, United States. The population was 1,542 at the 2010 census.[1] A majority of the land in Roxana is taken up by the Wood River ConocoPhillips oil refinery; the refinery was built and originally owned by Shell Oil. As of December 2005, the refinery refines 306,000 barrels (48,700 m3) of oil per day to produce gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, asphalt, propane, and other products, and supplies part of the St. Louis, Chicago, Indiana and Ohio regions.[2]

Roxana is considered to be part of the Riverbend or Metro East area, including Alton, East Alton, Godfrey, Rosewood Heights, Bethalto, Wood River, Hartford and South Roxana. It is well known for its bright Christmas lights lining Illinois Route 111, its main street, throughout the holiday season each year. The zip code for Roxana is 62084.

Geography[edit]

Roxana is located at 38°50′18″N 90°3′49″W / 38.83833°N 90.06361°W / 38.83833; -90.06361 (38.838397, -90.063653).[3]

According to the 2010 census, the village has a total area of 7.36 square miles (19.1 km2), of which 7.23 square miles (18.7 km2) (or 98.23%) is land and 0.13 square miles (0.34 km2) (or 1.77%) is water.[4]

Transportation[edit]

Roxana is served by Amtrak in Alton, St. Louis Regional Airport (formerly known as Civic Memorial Airport) in Bethalto, and Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.

The nearest interstate highway is Interstate 270, approximately 6 miles (10 km) to the south, although Illinois Route 255 is a controlled access highway, meeting federal interstate standards. Easy access can be had to Interstate 55, Interstate 70 and Interstate 64.

Illinois Route 111 (Central Avenue) is the main route through Roxana. It is a four-lane, non-divided highway through the village, and boasts the only two stoplights in town (located at its intersections with Thomas Street and Tydeman Street).

Illinois Route 255 was completed in 1998 and runs through the eastern portion of the village limits, east of the ConocoPhillips refinery. Although the village has plans to develop the area near Route 255, this has not yet occurred.

Demographics[edit]

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 1,547 people, 655 households, and 436 families residing in the village. The population density was 227.5 people per square mile (87.8/km²). There were 697 housing units at an average density of 102.5 per square mile (39.6/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 98.51% White, 0.13% African American, 0.26% Native American, 0.26% Asian, 0.39% from other races, and 0.45% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.65% of the population.

There were 655 households out of which 28.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.4% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.4% were non-families. 29.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the village the population was spread out with 23.4% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 29.0% from 25 to 44, 23.0% from 45 to 64, and 16.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 92.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.8 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $38,800, and the median income for a family was $45,500. Males had a median income of $40,078 versus $27,045 for females. The per capita income for the village was $20,511. About 2.5% of families and 3.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.0% of those under age 18 and 5.7% of those age 65 or over.

History[edit]

In 1918, the Shell Oil Company opened its Wood River Refinery in what was then called Wood River Field, an area south of the city of Wood River. As houses began being built close to the refinery, the population there grew to the point that in 1921, this unincorporated area became the incorporated Village of Roxana.

Originally constructed on 336 acres (1.36 km2), the refinery now covers 1,888 acres (7.64 km2) and is the largest in the ConocoPhillips system.

The origin of the village's name is unknown. Local lore is that the name "Roxana" was chosen to honor a "Queen Roxanne" of the Netherlands, inasmuch as the village owed its very existence to state-owned Royal Dutch Shell. However, there has never been a Queen Roxanne of the Netherlands. The Dutch monarch at the time was Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. Starting with the formation of the Seattle-based American Gasoline Company, Royal Dutch/Shell Group also founded Roxana Petroleum Company in 1912 in Oklahoma to locate and produce crude oil. This was followed by the opening of refineries in New Orleans in 1916 and at Wood River in 1918.

A Baptist church was organized in September 1921, and the land where the current First Baptist Church of Roxana now stands, at the corner of Tydeman Street and Central Avenue, was purchased in early 1922. The first services were held there on December 3, 1922. J.A. Wilson served as the church's first pastor.[6]

A formal village hall, called for by a vote for a "Municipal Building", was built on bonds in 1938. It currently houses Roxana's Village President, Treasurer, Water Department, and Clerk's offices, the fire and police departments, the village board room, and a municipal gymnasium.[7]

In the early 1940s, a large Art Deco-style theater was built at the northwest corner of Thomas Street and Central Avenue, at 400 N. Central Avenue. To the south across Thomas Street lay Burbank School, built in 1936, and at the southeast corner of the intersection lay Roxana Drug Store.

Seating approximately 580 people, the theater was originally designed for vaudeville acts as well as movie showings. In 1949, a tornado tore the roof off, but after repairs were made, the theater reopened. In the late 1960s, it was closed for nearly two years before being sold in June 1968 from the estate of Albert Critchlow to Bloomer Amusement Co. of Belleville. It was thereafter operated as "BAC Cine" for many years. In 1992, the Cine was purchased by Kerasotes Theatres, Inc., of Springfield, Illinois, which operated it until its closing in February 2002.[8]

In 2000, the theatre was purchased from Kerasotes and was donated to the Roxana Church of the Nazarene, which is located just north of the theatre. The church now operates the building as the Nazarene Community Center, where it is available for rental and group events.[9]

Education[edit]

Located within the village is Roxana High School. The school district is served by two elementary schools, though only one is located within the village limits of Roxana. Central Elementary School is in Roxana, while South Roxana Elementary School is within South Roxana. The former Burbank Elementary School, located at the corner of Thomas Street and Central Avenue, closed in 1984 and was demolished in 2009.

Nearby colleges and universities include Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Principia College, a four-year private college in Elsah, and Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey. The Dental School of Southern Illinois University is located close by in the city of Alton.

Roxana Park[edit]

In May 1934, a village ordinance was passed creating a Recreation Board that would develop a plan for activities and playground sites, establish a budget and employ a Supervisor to manage the operation. In 1938, Village Hall was constructed which included a gymnasium for recreational activities. The first meeting of the Village Board in the newly constructed Village Hall was held on Wednesday, February 1, 1939. Village Hall, consisting of the gym, fire department, police department and other village offices, is located at the intersection of Central Avenue and West Third Street.

In 1947, land was purchased for the purpose of park and recreation facilities, and a softball diamond was constructed. The park is located in the northeastern part of the village, to the north and east of Roxana High School.

In 1952, the Park District was incorporated, followed by the addition of a public swimming pool in 1957. Adjacent to the pool was a recreation area which included trampolines, miniature golf and donkey cart rides.

In 1959, additional land was purchased, and a house was acquired from Shell Oil Company and moved to the property. This was the original meeting place of many community groups. When the house became too small to accommodate the needs of the people, the Rox-Arena was constructed in 1969. For many years, Roxana Park Director Lyle Dona lived in this house within the park.

In the years following, picnic shelters were added along with additional ball fields, concession stand, soccer field, playgrounds and bike/walking paths. The main park now is home to four baseball diamonds—the High School Diamond, the Lighted Diamond, the South Diamond and the Picnic Diamond.

In 1993, Burbank Park was purchased from the school district. It now contains a baseball diamond, playground, picnic shelter, soccer field, and basketball court. It is the site of the annual Roxana Homecoming Festival held each May.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Park District, a new pool house was constructed in 2002.

Notable people[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]