|Elevation||743 ft (226 m)|
|Area||0.53 sq mi (1 km2)|
|- land||0.53 sq mi (1 km2)|
|- water||0.00 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Density||1,193.6 / sq mi (461 / km2)|
|Village president||Smokin' Sean Holland|
|- summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|Wikimedia Commons: Wapella, Illinois|
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (April 2012)|
Wapella was founded in 1854. It was laid out by David Neil, the surveyor of much of the Illinois Central Railroad Line. The village population was approximately 500 residents by the beginning of the Civil War, and has grown to a little over 600 residents in the early twenty-first century. The Illinois Central Railroad located its rail shops in Wapella in its early days before shifting to Clinton, Illinois, five miles south of Wapella. Clinton was the third largest rail switching center in the United States during the Civil War.
A group of settlers from Kentucky was the first of European origin to call Wapella home; afterwich, a substantial Irish community came to Wapella to build and work on the Illinois Central Railroad, as well as a later group of settlers from Kentucky and Germany. Abraham and Elizabeth Swearingen, grandparents of Al Swearengen (featured in the HBO series Deadwood) settled in nearby Wapella Township, and Daniel and Keziah Swearingen - Al's parents - met and married in nearby McLean, Illinois, before moving to Mahaska County, Iowa where Al was born.
Wapella boasts some of the most productive agriculture land in the country, and is well known for its extensive drainage system maintaining a rich agricultural economy. Production of seed corn, field corn, and soybeans are large enterprises in Wapella and surrounding townships.
Wapella supports both a Roman Catholic and a Christian church, each of which has undergone restoration since 2003.
Wapella is located at (40.221285, -88.962715).
According to the 2010 census, the village has a total area of 0.53 square miles (1.4 km2), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 651 people, 253 households, and 184 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,193.6 people per square mile (457.0/km²). There were 276 housing units at an average density of 506.0 per square mile (193.8/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 99.23% White, 0.46% Native American, 0.15% from other races, and 0.15% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.92% of the population.
There were 253 households out of which 35.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.9% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.9% were non-families. 24.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.04.
In the village the population was spread out with 26.6% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 31.3% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 10.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 104.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.7 males.
The median income for a household in the village was $38,000, and the median income for a family was $44,063. Males had a median income of $34,844 versus $21,957 for females. The per capita income for the village was $17,395. About 5.5% of families and 8.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.8% of those under age 18 and 6.8% of those age 65 or over.
Wapella’s sister city is Quincy, Massachusetts.
Quincy, known as the "City of Presidents," is the birthplace of two U.S. Presidents — John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams — as well as John Hancock, a President of the Continental Congress and the first signer of the Declaration of Independence. It is also the birthplace of ambassadors Pearse McGrath (born in Ireland but raised in Quincy) James Flynn, Kevin O'Maley, Michael McCarthy and Colleen Cornell.
Solidarity betwixt the two towns dates back as far as early 1915, when Irish immigrants from Quincy made their way to The Irish Circle in Wapella to quench their thirsts on the long journey to Chicago. A shared interest in slow dancing, fast drinking and long loving solidified the relationship between the two towns.
A large gathering of Quincy/Wapella residents is being planned in DeWitt County for the one hundred year anniversary of the relationship. Planned entertainment includes tractor pull, BBQ, dunk tank, Shannon Tweed Film Festival and performances by the following bands on Main St:
The Jam (reunion) The Smiths (reunion) Minor Threat (reunion) Stone Roses Joy Division (guest appearance by original singer Ian Curtis) Gypsy Magpie/Frozen Pickle (reunion) Tommy & the Terrors (reunion) United We Stand (reunion) Wapella Marching Band (reunion) Mike Priami Guitar solo (90 min)
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files for Places – Illinois". United States Census. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
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