Benld, Illinois

Coordinates: 39°05′35″N 89°48′08″W / 39.09306°N 89.80222°W / 39.09306; -89.80222
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Benld, Illinois
Location in Macoupin County, Illinois
Location in Macoupin County, Illinois
Benld is located in the United States
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 39°05′35″N 89°48′08″W / 39.09306°N 89.80222°W / 39.09306; -89.80222[1]
CountryUnited States
TownshipsCahokia, Gillespie
 • Total1.06 sq mi (2.75 km2)
 • Land1.06 sq mi (2.75 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
Elevation620 ft (190 m)
 • Total1,464
 • Density1,381.13/sq mi (533.24/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code217
FIPS code17-05209
GNIS feature ID2394134[1]

Benld /bəˈnɛld/ is a city in Macoupin County, Illinois, United States. The population was 1,464 at the 2020 census,[3] down from 1,556 in 2010. It is located in the Metro-East portion of the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area.

Benld was declared the "most difficult to pronounce" place name in the state of Illinois by Reader's Digest.[4]


Benld was established in 1903.[5] The name derives from founder Benjamin L. Dorsey (d. June 19, 1895), who was responsible for gaining the land on which the town was built and coal mining rights. "Benld" is the combination of Dorsey's first name and his middle and last initial.[6][7] The village was home to a Russian Orthodox church until 2010. Opened in 1901 by Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants, Holy Dormition was converted to a Monastery in 2010.[8] The church was founded to serve the immigrant mining community.[9]

Photo of the car seat and muffler hit by the Benld meteorite with the meteorite inset.

On September 29, 1938, a meteorite landed in Benld, marking only the third meteorite landing in Illinois since records were kept.[10] It is one of the few known meteorites to strike a man-made object, punching a hole in the roof of Edward McCain's garage and embedding itself in the seat of his 1928 Pontiac coupe. A neighbor, Mrs. Carl Crum, was standing about fifty feet from the impact and may be the individual who came closest to being struck by a meteorite in history up to that time.[11] The meteorite and portions of the car are now on display at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.[12]

In March 2009, the seven-year-old Benld Elementary school was damaged beyond repair and ultimately condemned. The damage was caused by mine subsidence and left more than 700 students without a school. The students were moved to the Gillespie High School and Middle School campus, where they finished the remainder of the year on a split shift schedule. High school and middle school students attended school from 6:30am to noon, and elementary aged students attended from 12:30pm until 5:00 pm. The students started the 2010 school year on the split shift. On November 2, 2010, all students returned to a normal schedule, with the elementary children attending class in three different locations (modular units, middle school classrooms, and the S.S. Simon & Jude Catholic School). The district was allowed to collect only $350,000 in mine subsidence insurance due to limits imposed by the state of Illinois. The district is in line to receive funding from the Capital Development Board to help with the construction of a new elementary school. The school is responsible for 20% of the $22 million budget to build a new school. The school district is actively pursuing grants to fulfill their responsibility. The Ben-Gil Boosters, an organization formed to help raise funds for the construction of the new school, won $250,000 in April 2010 through Pepsi's Refresh Everything Campaign.[13] The new school is adjacent to the district's middle school and high school in Gillespie. Its name has been changed to Ben-Gil Elementary School, to reflect both communities.

At a special CUSD 7 Board of Education meeting on August 16, 2017, the board approved a $4 million settlement with the Union Pacific Railroad, legal owners of the assets of the former Superior Coal Company, in connection with the subsidence. Originally, the district had been awarded $9.85 million in 2014, but Union Pacific appealed that ruling.[14]


Benld is located in southeastern Macoupin County in the southwest corner of Cahokia Township. It is bordered to the south by the village of Sawyerville and to the northwest by the village of Mount Clare.

Illinois Route 4 runs along the western border of Benld, leading north 2.5 miles (4.0 km) to Gillespie and south 6 miles (10 km) to Staunton. Route 4 leads north 15 miles (24 km) to Carlinville, the Macoupin county seat. Illinois Route 138 passes through the center of Benld as Central Street and South 8th Street, leading southeast 4 miles (6 km) to White City and Interstate 55. St. Louis is 45 miles (72 km) southwest of Benld.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Benld has a total area of 1.06 square miles (2.75 km2), all land.[2] A small unnamed runs through the center of Benld, flowing south to Cahokia Creek, a southwest-flowing direct tributary of the Mississippi River.


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[15]

As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 1,541 people, 676 households, and 415 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,455.9 people per square mile (562.1 people/km2). There were 772 housing units at an average density of 729.4 per square mile (281.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.25% White, 0.52% African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.45% from other races, and 0.58% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.97% of the population.

There were 676 households, of which 26.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.3% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.5% were non-families. 34.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 20.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 24.3% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 27.1% from 25 to 44, 18.8% from 45 to 64, and 21.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,395, and the median income for a family was $36,953. Males had a median income of $30,054 versus $19,400 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,521. About 9.7% of families and 14.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.7% of those under age 18 and 7.0% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Benld, Illinois
  2. ^ a b "2022 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Illinois". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 7, 2023.
  3. ^ a b "P1. Race – Benld city, Illinois: 2020 DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171)". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved February 7, 2023.
  4. ^ Cahn, Lauren. "The Most Difficult-to-Pronounce Town in Every Single State". Reader's Digest. Archived from the original on June 26, 2019. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  5. ^ Chicago and North Western Railway Company (1908). A History of the Origin of the Place Names Connected with the Chicago & North Western and Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railways. p. 43.
  6. ^ Benld Chamber (Macoupin)[permanent dead link], accessed 2007-10-14
  7. ^ Temple, Robert D. Edge Effects: The Border-Name Places, (2nd edition, 2009), iUniverse, ISBN 978-0-595-47758-6, page 323.
  8. ^ Debra Landis (January 24, 2010). "Benld's Russian Orthodox cathedral to become monastery".
  9. ^ Alliband, Terry (1980). "Expressions: Folkways in Southern Illinois". THE EASTERN ORTHODOX COMMUNITY IN ROYALTON. Southern Illinois University Carbondale. p. 8.
  10. ^ "Illinois Meteorites". Archived from the original on June 1, 2018. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  11. ^ "Three Point Landing". Time. January 23, 1939. Archived from the original on October 20, 2012.
  12. ^ Nuñez, Clarita; Irving L. Diamond. "Meteorites at the Field Museum" (PDF). Field Museum of Natural History. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 29, 2007. Retrieved October 14, 2007.
  13. ^ "To rebuild our grade school that was destroyed in March of 2009". Archived from the original on November 25, 2010. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
  14. ^ "CUSD 7 approves $4 million Union Pacific settlement - Enquirer Democrat". Enquirer Democrat. August 17, 2017. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  15. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  16. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  17. ^ 'Illinois Blue Book 1981-1982,' Biographical Sketch of A. C. "Junie" Bartulis, pg. 167