Strawn, Illinois

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Coordinates: 40°39′10″N 88°23′51″W / 40.65278°N 88.39750°W / 40.65278; -88.39750
Country United States
State Illinois
County Livingston
Elevation 771 ft (235 m)
Coordinates 40°39′10″N 88°23′51″W / 40.65278°N 88.39750°W / 40.65278; -88.39750
Area 0.52 sq mi (1 km2)
 - land 0.52 sq mi (1 km2)
 - water 0.00 sq mi (0 km2)
Population 104 (2000)
Density 732.5 / sq mi (283 / km2)
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code 61775
Area code 815 & 779
Location of Strawn within Illinois
Location of Strawn within Illinois
Wikimedia Commons: Strawn, Illinois

Strawn is a village in Livingston County, Illinois, United States. The population was 104 at the 2000 census.


Strawn is located at 40°39′10″N 88°23′51″W / 40.65278°N 88.39750°W / 40.65278; -88.39750 (40.652734, -88.397523).[1]

According to the 2010 census, the village has a total area of 0.52 square miles (1.3 km2), all land.[2]


Founding and Design of Strawn

Strawn was laid out on 6 June 1873 by David Strawn (1 October 1818 – 25 September 1873). David Strawn had moved to La Salle County, Illinois, with his family in 1830 from Preble County, Ohio, and in 1835 had settled in South Ottawa Township. He had been elected to the Illinois General Assembly and, by the time the Town of Strawn was platted, he had become a very wealthy land owner. In addition to his La Salle County holdings, Strawn owned thousands of acres in Livingston County.[3] David Strawn never lived in the town that had been named in his honor. The Chicago and Paducah Railroad was at that time being built through Fayette Township in Livingston County. Alfred C. Hueston, the Livingston County Surveyor, laid out the town.[4] He staked out ten blocks on the west side of the tracks, each divided into nine to twenty-four lots. The town was aligned with the railroad tracks rather than in true compass directions. Strawn was unusual because it was designed with a Public Square, a feature common in Illinois towns of the 1830s, but much less so in Illinois towns of the 1870s. Hueston also included a square in his design of the Livingston County town of Cornell laid out in 1871.There was a Depot Ground near the tracks and the station was on the west side of the tracks.[5]

Early Events in Strawn

In an effort to attract people to the town, Strawn decided that every alternate lot would be offered free of charge to anyone who would erect a house. The houses had to be of a specified size and they had to be finished quickly; Strawn was emphatic that he did not want “shanties” either as homes or as places of business. E. H. Roberts bought the first lot on the first day they were offered for sale. Many doubted Strawn would be a success. The surrounding area had a reputation for being poorly drained, which prompted the following verses published in the 1878 county history:

The frogs are hatching their spawn

In the streets of the village of Strawn:

And their music down there

Fills the ambient air

From the coming of night to the dawn.

John Colfer built the first house in Strawn; it was soon converted into a hotel. Roberts also had the distinction of being partner in Aaron, Roberts and Company, the firm that sold the first goods in the town. By 1878 Strawn had eight stores, a harness shop, a blacksmith shop, shoe shops, a grain business and a saloon. A Post Office was established in 1873. On 1 July 1873 the railroad station opened for business. On that day, the first item shipped into Strawn arrived: a barrel of meat bound for the boarding house operated by S.K. Mitchell. Six days later the first freight shipped out of town was sent off: a carload of hogs loaded by Walter D. Strawn, son of the town’s founder, who was operating a nearby farm. The first school in Strawn was taught by Sarah Hanagan in the summer of 1873.[6] The Railroad eventually became part of the Wabash system. Soon after its founding the population of Strawn grew rapidly, but this growth was not sustained.


As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 104 people, 42 households, and 28 families residing in the village. The population density was 732.5 people per square mile (286.8/km²). There were 47 housing units at an average density of 331.0 per square mile (129.6/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 88.46% White, 6.73% African American, 0.96% Asian, and 3.85% from two or more races.

There were 42 households out of which 40.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.0% were non-families. 28.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 21.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.07.

In the village the population was spread out with 29.8% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 26.9% from 25 to 44, 16.3% from 45 to 64, and 17.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 103.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.1 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $35,625, and the median income for a family was $42,000. Males had a median income of $32,292 versus $14,688 for females. The per capita income for the village was $14,424. There were no families and 2.6% of the population living below the poverty line, including no under eighteens and none of those over 64.


  1. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  2. ^ "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files for Places – Illinois". United States Census. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  3. ^ Past and Present of La Salle County, Illinois (Chicago: H. F. Kett, 1877) p. 259.
  4. ^ History of Livingston County Illinois (Chicago: LeBaron 1878) p. 568-569.
  5. ^ Combined Atlas of Livingston County, Illinois 1893 and 1911 (Mt. Vernon, Indiana: Windmill, 1998) p. 71.
  6. ^ History of Livingston, 1878, pp. 568-570,
  7. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.