Mendota, Illinois

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Mendota, Illinois
Illinois Avenue
Illinois Avenue
The World's Greatest Little City
Location of Mendota in LaSalle County, Illinois.
Location of Mendota in LaSalle County, Illinois.
Mendota, Illinois is located in Illinois
Mendota, Illinois
Mendota, Illinois
Location of Mendota in LaSalle County, Illinois.
Coordinates: 41°32′50″N 89°07′02″W / 41.54722°N 89.11722°W / 41.54722; -89.11722Coordinates: 41°32′50″N 89°07′02″W / 41.54722°N 89.11722°W / 41.54722; -89.11722
CountryUnited States
 • TypeMayor
 • MayorDavid W. Boelk (I)
 • Total5.15 sq mi (13.34 km2)
 • Land5.06 sq mi (13.10 km2)
 • Water0.10 sq mi (0.25 km2)
Elevation741 ft (226 m)
 • Total7,372
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,415.74/sq mi (546.58/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code815, 779
FIPS code17-48333
WebsiteOfficial website

Mendota is a city in LaSalle County, Illinois, United States, in the state's north-central region. The population was 7,372 at the 2010 census, and was estimated to be 7,057 by July 2018.[3] It is part of the Ottawa-Peru, IL Micropolitan Statistical Area. Mendota is located approximately 85 miles west of Chicago, 70 miles east of Moline and 55 miles south of Rockford. The current mayor is David W. Boelk, an independent elected to a four-year term.


Mendota was founded in 1853.[5] The name "Mendota" is derived from a Native American word meaning "junction of two trails", which was found appropriate for the city since there was a nearby railroad junction.[6]


According to the 2010 census, Mendota has a total area of 5.096 square miles (13.20 km2), of which 5 square miles (12.95 km2) (or 98.12%) is land and 0.096 square miles (0.25 km2) (or 1.88%) is water.[7]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20187,057[4]−4.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]

As of the 2010 census[9] there were 7,372 people and 2,826 households residing in the city. The population density was 1,475.9 people per square mile (569.8/km²). There were 3,037 housing units at an average density of 607.4 per square mile (233.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.3% White, 0.7% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 8.5% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 24.5% of the population.

There were 2,826 households out of which 29.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.8% were married couples living together, 11% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.4% were non-families. 28.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.14.

The population consisted of 27.7% aged 19 or younger and 18% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.2 years. Females comprised 52.4% of the total population.

The median income for a household in the city was $43,534. The per capita income for the city was $21,995. Median income for males was $40,938 and $26,753 for females. 12.3% of the population were below poverty level, including 16.2% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.


A number of businesses operate within Mendota including:[10]

Arts and culture[edit]

The Mendota Sweet Corn Festival[12] attracts thousands of visitors each August; it features a parade, carnival, beer garden with live bands, free sweet corn cooked in a vintage steam engine, and other special events. The city closes down several streets in the downtown area to host the annual event which is sponsored by Del Monte Foods. The Mendota Tri-County Fair[13] is held every Labor Day weekend at the Mendota Fairgrounds. The fair hosts a carnival, beer garden, and several other events.


The Hume-Carnegie Museum[14] showcases artifacts of local history, including items manufactured in Mendota and a small collection pertaining to Wild Bill Hickok, who was born in nearby Troy Grove. It is located in a former Carnegie library building in Veteran's Park.[15]

The Union Depot Railroad Museum[16] houses the current Amtrak station, several rooms of vintage railroad artifacts, passenger train cars from the 1930s and 1940s. It is also home to CB&Q No. 4978, a 2-8-2 class Locomotive built in September 1923 by Baldwin Locomotive Works.[17]

The Breaking the Prairie Museum[18] is a small barn replica showcasing a rotating display with one large item (a vintage tractor or large item of farm husbandry) and several smaller items. Adjacent to the barn is "The Country Chapel", a small church which is owned by the museum. Completed in 2004, it houses a restored pump organ from the 1880s. It is closed to the public, however special tours can be arranged by contacting the Mendota Historical Society Office.[19]

Parks and recreation[edit]

The city has two man made lakes, Lake Mendota and Lake Kakusha, used for boating and fishing. Mendota also maintains a community swimming pool as well as several parks including Snyders Grove, a 104-acre (0.42 km2) reserve/park.[20]


Mendota has four public schools and one private school. The three public grade schools: Blackstone, Lincoln, and Northbrook are part of Mendota Consolidated Community School District 289; while the Mendota Township High School is district 280. Blackstone School houses kindergarten and first grade, and had an enrollment of 271 students in 2010. Lincoln School houses second through fourth grades, and had a student enrollment of 391 in 2010. Northbrook School is home to the fifth through eighth grades, as well as pre-kindergarten; and had an enrollment of 644 in 2010. The student enrollment of the high school in 2010 was 611 students.[21] A new high school facility was built in 2002 at 2300 Main Street (U.S. Route 52). Holy Cross Roman Catholic Parish[22] has a private school which educates students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.

Aurora University was originally chartered as Mendota College on the north side of Mendota where the high school was located from 1917–2003.[23]

Wartburg College (now located in Waverly, Iowa) was located in Mendota from 1875 to 1885.[24]


Mendota has one weekly newspaper, The Mendota Reporter[25]

Mendota has two commercialized radio stations.

FM radio stations
Frequency Call sign Name Format Owner City
100.1 FM WGLC-FM World's Greatest Little City Country music The Radio Group Mendota, Illinois
102.9 FM WMKB Mex Mix Regional Mexican KM Broadcasting Earlville, Illinois



Mendota is served by U.S Interstate 39, U.S. Route 34, U.S. Route 52, and many state highways including Illinois Route 251. Three Amtrak trains in each direction stop daily at the Mendota Amtrak station: the Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg between Chicago and Quincy, and the Southwest Chief from Chicago to Kansas City and Los Angeles. (The California Zephyr passes through without stopping.) There are also two small airports near-by.

Notable people[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

The Arctic Monkeys, an English rock band, filmed their music video "One For the Road" at the Tri-Country Fairgrounds in September, 2013.[26]


  1. ^ "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jun 29, 2017.
  2. ^ "Elevation Mendota, IL". Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). US Geological Survey. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  3. ^ a b "2015 Population Estimates". American FactFinder. US Census Bureau. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  5. ^ Illinois Central Magazine. Illinois Central Railroad Company. 1922. p. 43.
  6. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 205.
  7. ^ "G001 – Geographic Identifiers – 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  8. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  9. ^ "2010 Demographic Profile Data". American FactFinder. US Census Bureau. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  10. ^ "Mendota Manufacturers Archived 2011-10-10 at the Wayback Machine." Retrieved on October 16, 2011.
  11. ^ "Del Monte closing corn-packing plant in northern Illinois". Associated Press. Mendota, Illinois. August 21, 2019. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  12. ^ "The Mendota Sweet Corn Festival." Retrieved on February 19, 2011.
  13. ^ "The Mendota Tri-County Fair." Retrieved on February 19, 2011.
  14. ^ "Hume-Carnegie Museum." Retrieved on February 19, 2011.
  16. ^ "The Union Depot Railroad Museum." Retrieved on February 19, 2011.
  17. ^ "CB&Q No. 4978, 2-8-2, Steam Locomotive, Mendota, IL - Locomotives on".
  18. ^ "Breaking the Prairie Museum." Retrieved on February 19, 2011.
  19. ^ "Breaking the Prairie Museum :: About".
  20. ^ "Mendota Parks, Recreation, and Pool." Retrieved on February 19, 2011.
  21. ^ "Illinois Interactive Report Card." Retrieved February 19, 2011.
  22. ^ "Holy Cross Catholic Parish." Retrieved February 19, 2011.
  23. ^ "Tracks of Time: Mendota, Illinois 1853–1978" p. 138
  24. ^ "History of Wartburg College Archived 2009-04-10 at the Wayback Machine." Wartburg College. Retrieved February 20, 2011.
  25. ^ "The Mendota Reporter." Retrieved February 11, 2011.
  26. ^ "Breaking News from your Local News Source Leader in Mendota, Illinois - The Mendota Reporter".

External links[edit]