Calumet City, Illinois

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Calumet City, Illinois
One of the two smiley face water towers in Calumet City
One of the two smiley face water towers in Calumet City
Official seal of Calumet City, Illinois
Location of Calumet City in Cook County, Illinois.
Location of Calumet City in Cook County, Illinois.
Calumet City is located in Illinois
Calumet City
Calumet City
Location within Illinois
Calumet City is located in the United States
Calumet City
Calumet City
Location within the United States
Coordinates: 41°36′51″N 87°32′47″W / 41.61417°N 87.54639°W / 41.61417; -87.54639Coordinates: 41°36′51″N 87°32′47″W / 41.61417°N 87.54639°W / 41.61417; -87.54639
Country United States
Incorporated (Village)February 13, 1893
(as West Hammond)[1]
Incorporated (City)1924
(as Calumet City)[2][3]
 • TypeCouncil-Mayor
 • MayorThaddeus Jones
 • Total7.30 sq mi (18.92 km2)
 • Land7.18 sq mi (18.60 km2)
 • Water0.12 sq mi (0.32 km2)  1.64%
 • Total37,042
 • Estimate 
 • Density5,001.11/sq mi (1,930.91/km2)
Standard of living (2009-11)
 • Per capita income$20,390
 • Median home value$121,900
ZIP code(s)
Area code(s)708
FIPS code17-10487
Demographics (2010)[6]
White Black Asian
19.2% 70.6% 0.3%
Islander Native Other Hispanic
(any race)
0.02% 0.6% 9.3% 15.0%

Calumet City (/ˌkæljʊˈmɛt/ KAL-yuu-MET) is a city in Cook County, Illinois. The population was 37,042 at the 2010 census,[7] a decline of 5.2% from 2000. The ZIP code is 60409.

Calumet City (commonly referred to locally as "Cal City") was founded in 1893 when the villages of Schrumville and Sobieski Park merged under the name of West Hammond, since it lies on the west side of the Illinois-Indiana line from Hammond, Indiana.[1] In 1924, West Hammond officially became Calumet City after its citizens voted to change the name in 1923.[2][3]

In addition to being bordered to the east by Hammond, it is also bordered by Burnham and Chicago to the north, Lansing to the south, and South Holland and Dolton to the west.

The Smiley Towers[edit]

A landmark and point of pride among Cal City residents is the pair of large water towers painted like the popular "Have a Nice Day" smiley faces which are located on Ring Road near River Oaks Mall, the other State Street near Interstate 94.[8]


Calumet City is located at 41°36′51″N 87°32′47″W / 41.61417°N 87.54639°W / 41.61417; -87.54639 (41.614188, −87.546389).[9]

According to the 2010 census, Calumet City has a total area of 7.314 square miles (18.94 km2), of which 7.19 square miles (18.62 km2) (or 98.3%) is land and 0.124 square miles (0.32 km2) (or 1.7%) is water.[10]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)35,913[5]−3.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]

As of the 2010 census,[12] there were 37,042 people living in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 20.4% White, 71.9% African American, 1.2% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 8.1% from other races, with 1.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.0% of the population, including 13.4% of Mexican descent.

There were 13,978 households (and 9,052 families), out of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.8% were husband-wife families, 27.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 35.2% were non-families. 38.8% Of all households had individuals under 18 years and 25.9% housed someone 65 years of age or older. 12.6% were people over 65 years of age living alone. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.35.

In the city, the age distribution of the population was 28.2% under the age of 18, 60.1% from 18-65 and 11.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35.1 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.2 males.

According to the 2015 American Community Survey[13] The median income for a household in the city was $38,557, and the median income for a family was $49,086. Full-time, year-round male workers had a median income of $43,494 versus $39,573 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,483. About 19.2% of families and 22.2% of the population were below the poverty line in the past 12 months, including 33.9% of those under age 18 and 13.9% of those age 65 or over. 51.9% were employed, and 12.9% were unemployed.


Calumet City has a Mayor-Council type government.

The City has 7 Wards.

Calumet City is in Illinois' 2nd congressional district.

The mayor of Calumet City is currently Thaddeus Jones. He has served as Mayor since being elected to the office in 2021.[14]

Notable people[edit]

A 1903 portrait of Virginia Brooks, an unidentified woman and men sitting in a room, probably in a courthouse or police station. The women are probably associated with vice in Calumet City

In popular culture[edit]

Calumet City is featured or mentioned in a number of major movies. John Belushi's "Joliet Jake" and Dan Aykroyd's "Elwood" characters from The Blues Brothers were born in Calumet City, and so is the orphanage they grew up in which they save "on a mission from God" by paying $5,000 in property taxes from a $10,000 record deal at their concert, as well as "Ray's Music Exchange" that holds the famed Ray Charles "Shake Your Tail-Feather" scene of the movie. In the book and film The Silence of the Lambs, Buffalo Bill is thought to be hiding in Calumet City, when he is actually in Belvedere, Ohio. The Calumet City scenes in the film were filmed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, however. Lily Tomlin's prim but assertive housewife/spokesperson "Mrs. Judith Beasley" is said to be a resident of Calumet City. She said, "Hi. I am not an actress, but a real person like yourself."

Calumet City is also referenced by a number of popular music acts. The Black Crowes included a video of the Smiley Towers in their 1990 video for "Hard to Handle". A photograph of the "Dolton" smiley water tower is featured on the back of the Dead Kennedys album Plastic Surgery Disasters. Rapper Twista has referenced Calumet City. Kanye West's reference to Calumet in his 2005 song "Drive Slow" does not refer to Calumet City, but rather to Calumet High School, which was located in the South Side of Chicago and not in Calumet City.

The Smiley Tower is also featured in the movie Natural Born Killers; it is seen out the window of Mallory's family home (part of that movie was filmed in Hammond, Indiana). In the Nine Inch Nails music video on the director's cut of the same film, the Smiley Tower and Dolton Avenue/State Street is featured.

The founders of the Calumet Baking Powder Company adopted its brand name from the original Native American word for the land that became Calumet City. They later named one of thoroughbred horse racing's most famed and successful enterprises, Calumet Farm, after the company.

In 2004, Alan Keyes purchased a raised ranch house in Calumet City to establish residency in Illinois so he could run for the U.S. Senate in place of Jack Ryan against Barack Obama, although instead of residing in the house, he officially moved into an apartment elsewhere in town, on Garfield Avenue.

In 2010, pop music group Hanson remade the "Shake Your Tailfeather" scene from The Blues Brothers for the music video for their hit "Thinkin' 'Bout Somethin'" in Tulsa, Oklahoma, paying homage to Calumet City's Ray's Music Exchange, John Belushi, and Ray Charles.

Jean Shepherd (writer and narrator of the classic movie A Christmas Story) in radio broadcasts from WOR radio, New York in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s and in his PBS specials of the 1970s and 1980s, and his many books, often refers to it as Cal City or just Calumet. He grew up next door in Hammond, Indiana.


Calumet City is served by several elementary school districts:[24]

The city is served by two high school districts:


  1. ^ a b "Calumet City History". City of Calumet City, Illinois. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  2. ^ a b Ann Durkin Keating (2008). "Chicago Neighborhoods and Suburbs: A Historical Guide". Illinois: University of Chicago Press. pps.120-121.
  3. ^ a b (1993). "Calumet City Centennial Celebration". Illinois: Centennial History Committee.
  4. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  6. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Calumet City city, Illinois". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
  7. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Calumet City city, Illinois". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
  8. ^ "The Smiley Towers". Archived from the original on 2011-09-27.
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  10. ^ "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2015-12-25.
  11. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  12. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2017-02-07. Retrieved 2017-04-29.
  13. ^ Bureau, U.S. Census. "American FactFinder - Results". Archived from the original on 13 February 2020. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  14. ^ "Office of the Mayor". The City of Calumet City. Retrieved 2020-12-20.
  15. ^ "Landon Cox". Cincinnati Bengals. Archived from the original on 1 September 2011. Retrieved 22 Aug 2011. High School: Thornton Fractional North High School (Calumet City, Illinois)
  16. ^ 'Illinois Blue Book 1997-1998,' Biographical Sketch of Arline M. Fantin, pg. 85
  17. ^ 'Illinois Blue Book 1993-1994,' Biographical Sketch of Frank Giglio, pg. 80
  18. ^ "John Jurkovic". Football 2011. Archived from the original on 22 November 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2011. High School: Thornton Fractional North (Calumet City, IL)
  19. ^ Foltman, Bob (3 May 2001), "WMVP shuffles afternoon lineup: Low ratings cost Simonson-Canellis", Chicago Tribune, retrieved 11 May 2011, Jurkovic, who played with the Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars before retiring in 1999, was voted the NFL's funniest player in a Sport Magazine poll in 1998. He is a Calumet City native and a graduate of Thornton Fractional North High School.
  20. ^ anonymous (n.d.). "Mirko Jurkovic". Notre Dame Athletics. Archived from the original on 22 December 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
  21. ^ Hamnik, Al (11 September 2010), "Cal City's Tomczak won't ever forget 'miracle' ride", Northwest Indiana Times, retrieved 11 May 2011, They had accepted Tomczak, the rookie, and occasionally he was allowed to play among them. "It was a miracle ride for me," the T.F. North grad and former Ohio State star said.
  22. ^ Myslenski, Skip; Kay, Linda (17 September 1986), "Planning ahead: Mike Tomczak reached inside the breast...", Chicago Tribune, retrieved 11 May 2011, Both Jo Ann and Ron Tomczak, who coached Mike at Thornton Fractional North, dashed the theory that their son had a case of the jitters Sunday.
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-10-14. Retrieved 2006-11-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ "Welcome to Calumet City School District 155 in Calumet City, IL". Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  26. ^ "School District 149". Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  27. ^ "Lincoln Elementary School District 156". Lincoln Elementary School District 156. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  28. ^ "Home - Hoover-Schrum Memorial School District 157". Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  29. ^ "Thornton Township High Schools District 205 / Overview". Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  30. ^ "Thornton Fractional High School District #215". Retrieved 28 March 2018.

External links[edit]