Canton, Illinois

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Motto: "We do that here"
Country United States
State Illinois
County Fulton
Townships Canton, Buckheart
Coordinates 40°33′28″N 90°2′3″W / 40.55778°N 90.03417°W / 40.55778; -90.03417Coordinates: 40°33′28″N 90°2′3″W / 40.55778°N 90.03417°W / 40.55778; -90.03417
Area 8.07 sq mi (21 km2)
 - land 7.90 sq mi (20 km2)
 - water 0.16 sq mi (0 km2)
Population 15,288 (2000)
Density 1,947.8 / sq mi (752 / km2)
Founded Founded
 - established 1 Incorporated
Date 1825[2]
 - date 1 1837[2]
Government Mayor–council[1]
Mayor Jeffrey Fritz
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code 61520
Area code 309
Location within Fulton County
Location within Illinois
Wikimedia Commons: Canton, Illinois

Canton is the largest city in Fulton County, Illinois, United States. The population was 15,288 as of the 2000 Census. The Canton Micropolitan Statistical Area covers all of Fulton County; it is in turn part of the wider Peoria-Canton, IL Combined Statistical Area (CSA).


Canton is located at 40°33′28″N 90°02′03″W / 40.557737°N 90.034264°W / 40.557737; -90.034264.[3]

According to the 2010 census, Canton has a total area of 8.063 square miles (20.88 km2), of which 7.9 square miles (20.46 km2) (or 97.98%) is land and 0.163 square miles (0.42 km2) (or 2.02%) is water.[4]


Canton was founded in 1825 by settler Isaac Swan, who believed his new town and Canton, China were antipodes.[2] In 1964, a research team at Canton Community College conducted studies which determined that Swan's estimate was, in fact, accurate to within 100 meters. Abundant coal and labor, and the proximity of railroads and the Illinois River made Canton a factory town. The major manufacturing plant in town was P&O (Parlin & Orendorff) Plow Works, later International Harvester, which closed in 1983. In 1997, the 30-acre (120,000 m2) plant was destroyed by an arson fire, leaving the former industrial heart of the city a smoldering ruin, which has since been leveled. The town's employers now include the Illinois state prison named the Illinois River Correctional Center, the city's Graham Hospital, Cook Medical, Spoon River College and retail stores.

Founder Isaac Swan, his infant child, and three other people died in a devastating tornado of June 1835. Isaac Swan and his child were found in the wreckage of their cabin, the baby dying in its mother's arms. (Twp_Histories/Canton.htmlChapman, Chas. C. (17 Sep 2012). "History of Fulton County Illinois, Page 526". History of Fulton County Illinois. J.W. Franks & Sons, Peoria, Ill., 1879. Retrieved 17 Sep 2012. ) ( leading some to conclude that the tornado represented divine retribution for the city allowing a circus performance the previous week. The city was hit by another F-3 tornado on July 23, 1975. Two people were killed and the storm caused major damage to the downtown area.[5] A circus had visited the city just one week prior, the first circus to entertain in Canton since 1835. In November, 1975, the Canton City Council passed an ordinance banning circuses within the city limits in perpetuity.

Much of the city, particularly the northern portion, has been undermined by room and pillar extraction of coal that took place in the 1800s.[6] Sinkholes occasionally have occurred, leading to loss of property, but no documented injuries or deaths. Areas afflicted by mine subsidence have been cleverly redeveloped as parkland and recreational lakes.

Central Illinois Energy, a locally-financed cooperative, began planning for a corn-fermentation ethanol plant in 2002. Construction and finance delays resulted in its opening in 2007, approximately 4 miles south of the city. Beset by financial problems and construction delays on the plant, the cooperative declared bankruptcy. Central Illinois Energy's assets were bought by a private company, construction was completed, and the plant began production in the Summer of 2008, renamed Riverland Biofuels.[7] The plant was shuttered again in 2010, and its facilities purchased by Avantine Renewable Energy. High grain prices have led to its continued idling, although production could be restarted on short notice.

In December 2008, Cook Medical announced that it would open a new medical device factory at the old International Harvester site. Company owner William "Bill" Cook had grown up in Canton and wanted to do something to help revitalize his home town community. Some of the costs related to Cook Medical were planned to be paid for with state funds: a $750,000 Community Development Assistance Program grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and a $1.1 million grant from Illinois Department of Transportation for infrastructure improvements near the plant.[8] Scott Eells, the chief operating officer for Cook Group, has said that the factory will eventually be 45,000 square feet (4,200 m2) and more than 300 employees. Bill Cook had previously announced he was buying and renovating several old Canton buildings, including the 1883 Randolph Building on the town square.[9]


Canton is served by a daily newspaper, The Daily Ledger as well as by WBYS & WCDD radio and a free monthly community magazine, Canton Area Communities Magazine. Canton also is a part of the Peoria, IL viewing area, covered by news stations WEEK (NBC), WHOI (ABC), WMBD (CBS), WTVP (PBS), and WYZZ (Fox). and three Springfield, IL news stations WICS (ABC), WRSP FOX, and WAND NBC


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 762
1850 1,568 105.8%
1860 2,373 51.3%
1870 3,308 39.4%
1880 3,762 13.7%
1890 5,604 49.0%
1900 6,564 17.1%
1910 10,453 59.2%
1920 10,928 4.5%
1930 11,718 7.2%
1940 11,577 −1.2%
1950 11,927 3.0%
1960 13,588 13.9%
1970 14,217 4.6%
1980 14,626 2.9%
1990 13,922 −4.8%
2000 15,288 9.8%
2010 14,704 −3.8%
Est. 2014 14,307 [10] −2.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]

As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 15,288 people, 5,677 households, and 3,616 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,947.8 people per square mile (751.9/km²). There were 6,098 housing units at an average density of 776.9 per square mile (299.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.59% White, 8.85% African American, 0.14% Native American, 0.41% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.44% from other races, and 0.56% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.09% of the population.

There were 5,677 households out of which 28.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.7% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.3% were non-families. 32.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.86.

In the city the population was spread out with 20.3% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 31.2% from 25 to 44, 20.0% from 45 to 64, and 18.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 115.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 119.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,011, and the median income for a family was $39,910. Males had a median income of $30,519 versus $20,891 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,012. About 10.1% of families and 13.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.9% of those under age 18 and 5.4% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "Form of Government". City of Canton. 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Canton Area Chamber of Commerce (January 1996). "The History of Canton, Illinois". Macomb, Illinois: Infobahn Outfitters, Inc. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  4. ^ "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-12-25. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Fate of Riverland Biofuels plant still unclear". 
  8. ^ "Cook Medical Brings New Beginning to Canton" (Press release). Bloomington, Indiana: Cook Medical. 2008-12-11. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  9. ^ Froehling, John (2009-12-11). "Welcome Home, Bill Cook". Canton Daily Ledger (Canton, Illinois: GateHouse Media, Inc.). Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  10. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  12. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]