Eldorado, Illinois

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This article is about the Illinois city in Saline County. For the Illinois township in McDonough County, see Eldorado Township, McDonough County, Illinois.
Eldorado IL Grand 1939.jpg
According to the 1945 Film Daily Yearbook, the 500-seat Grand was one of three movie houses in operation at that time, which also included the Orpheum and the Knox. Today the former Grand is used as a meeting place for a fraternal order.
Country United States
State Illinois
County Saline
Elevation 390 ft (119 m)
Coordinates 37°48′51″N 88°26′27″W / 37.81417°N 88.44083°W / 37.81417; -88.44083Coordinates: 37°48′51″N 88°26′27″W / 37.81417°N 88.44083°W / 37.81417; -88.44083
Area 2.43 sq mi (6 km2)
 - land 2.39 sq mi (6 km2)
 - water 0.04 sq mi (0 km2)
Population 4,122 (2010)
Density 1,967.8 / sq mi (760 / km2)
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code 62930
Area code 618
FIPS code 17-23009
GNIS ID 2394639
Location of Eldorado within Illinois
Location of Eldorado within Illinois
Wikimedia Commons: Eldorado, Illinois

Eldorado (Listeni/ɛldəˈrd/ or /ɛldəˈrdə/) is a city in Saline County, Illinois, United States. The population was 4,122 at the 2010 census, with a 1925 peak of 8,000. Although the city's name is spelled as if it were Spanish, the name was originally "Elder-Reado"—a combination of the last names of the town's two founders,[1] Judge Samuel Elder and Joseph Read. According to legend, a signpainter for the railroad painted the name "Eldorado" on the train depot; as a result, the spelling and pronunciation was forever changed.

Eldorado is included in the Illinois-Indiana-Kentucky Tri-State Area and is a bedroom community in the Harrisburg Micropolitan Statistical Area.[2]


In September, 1963, five months before The Beatles' first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show brought them stardom in the United States, George Harrison performed at the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall in Eldorado with a local band. This was the first performance by a Beatle in the United States. At the time, Harrison and his brother were visiting their sister, Louise, who had recently relocated with her husband to nearby Benton.[3]

At one time there was an extensive maze of railroad tracks that arched out from the town's center. All but one are now replaced with bike trails.

In 1946, the adjacent village of Beulah Heights disincorporated and annexed to Eldorado.[4]

Eldorado was a sundown town until the offensive sign was removed in the 1960s.


Eldorado is located at 37°48′51″N 88°26′27″W / 37.81417°N 88.44083°W / 37.81417; -88.44083 (37.814212, -88.440937).[5]

According to the 2010 census, the city has a total area of 2.43 square miles (6.3 km2), of which 2.39 square miles (6.2 km2) (or 98.35%) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (or 1.65%) is water.[6]

The junction of the pioneer Kaskaskia and Goshen Trails was located just south of the city. The Goshen Trail began in Old Shawneetown, Illinois and ran along the east side of Eldorado and on to the Goshen Settlement, a community near the present day East St. Louis.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 1,445
1910 3,366 132.9%
1920 5,004 48.7%
1930 4,482 −10.4%
1940 4,891 9.1%
1950 4,500 −8.0%
1960 3,573 −20.6%
1970 3,876 8.5%
1980 5,198 34.1%
1990 4,536 −12.7%
2000 4,534 0.0%
2010 4,122 −9.1%
Est. 2014 4,076 [7] −1.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]

According to the 2010 census,[9] there were 4,122 people living within the city limits. Of the 4,078 persons who identified with one race, 4,010 (97.8%) were white, 33 (0.5%) were black or African-American, 9 American Indian, 4 Asian, 3 Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders, and 19 who claimed some other race. The Hispanic population was 52 (1.0 percent). There were 2,053 total housing units; 1,796 (87.5%) were occupied and 257 (12.5%) vacant.


Eldorado is home to one of the smallest daily newspapers in the United States, The Eldorado Daily Journal (circulation 1,200), which is a sister publication to Harrisburg's The Daily Register.[citation needed]

Health care[edit]

In 1925, Dr. J.V. Ferrell founded Ferrell Hospital, which exists today as a 52-bed facility operated by Southern Illinois Healthcare. Effective March 1, 2004, SIH entered into an agreement with Alliant Management Services to return the hospital to local ownership and governance. On April 1, 2005, Ferrell Hospital Community Foundation became a stand-alone facility managed by Alliant Management Services. As Ferrell is a small hospital, services are routinely provided via other hospitals by transportation via ambulance for non-critical issues, and Air Evac Lifeteam Air Ambulance (for transport to Evansville, IN hospitals Deaconess, or St. Mary's) for critical emergencies. Although, Ferrell Hospital employees are very knowledgeable and can diagnose many illnesses, the facility simply lacks those provided by, for example, many Level 1 Trauma Hospitals.[citation needed]


Eldorado holds a few records within the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). Two all-time scorers Mike Duff (2,113 points) and Cody Lane (2,006 points) grew up here, and Roger Grumley and Eric Brannock of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame were born in Eldorado.[citation needed]

Notable people[edit]

  • Todd Duffee, record holder for the Ultimate Fighting Championship's fastest knockout; grew up in Eldorado.[citation needed]
  • Dave Sanders, a teacher who was killed in the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. He was born in Eldorado.
  • James Barnett, co-founder of Xilinx, a leading Silicon Valley semiconductor company (field programmable gate arrays), grew up in Eldorado and graduated from Eldorado High School




  1. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 116. 
  2. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2007 (CBSA-EST2007-01)". 2007 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. March 27, 2008. Archived from the original (CSV) on September 5, 2008. Retrieved July 3, 2008. 
  3. ^ Daily Register Newspaper
  4. ^ 1951. Number of Inhabitants: Illinois. Washington D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Commerce/Bureau of the Census. 13-24.
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ "Places: Illinois". 2010 Census Gazetteer Files. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 3, 2012.  External link in |work= (help)
  7. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  9. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]