Portal:Illinois

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The Illinois Portal

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Illinois is a state in the Midwestern United States. It is the 5th most populous and 25th largest state, and is often noted as a microcosm of the country. With Chicago and its suburbs in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base and is a major transportation hub.

Prehistoric Illinois was the site of Cahokia, the largest urban center of the Mississippian culture. The Illinois Confederation, from which the state takes its name, dominated the region during the contact period, but by the time of the American Revolution, only about 2,000 Native Americans and a small number of French villagers inhabited the area. Anglo-American settlers began arriving from Kentucky in the 1810s. Illinois achieved statehood in 1818. Northerners arrived later via the Great Lakes, founding Chicago in the 1830s. The invention of the steel plow and growth of railroads made it possible to profitably farm the rich prairie land of central Illinois, attracting large numbers of immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden. Northern Illinois provided major support for Illinoisans Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant during the American Civil War. By 1900, industry was growing rapidly in the northern cities, along with coal mines in central and southern areas. This industrialization attracted large numbers of immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe and many African Americans in the Great Migration from the Southern United States, who developed renowned jazz and blues cultures in Chicago.

Selected article

Interstate 355 map.

Interstate 355 is an interstate highway and tollway in the western and southwest suburbs of ChicagoIllinois, U.S.. Like other tollways in the northeastern portion of the state, I-355 is maintained by the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (abbreviated ISTHA, but commonly referred to as the "tollway authority"). I-355 runs from Interstate 80 in New Lenox north to Interstate 290 in Itasca, The highway is six lanes wide for its entire length.

The tollway authority opened I-355 as the North–South Tollway in 1989 to ease congestion on Illinois Route 53 (IL 53), a parallel two-lane state highway in central DuPage County. Initially, I-355 ran from I-55 north to I-290. The new highway helped cut travel times for commuters traveling north and south in the county. According to commercial real estate developers at the time, the new tollway also opened the western suburbs of Chicago to commercial and industrial development.

On November 112007, the tollway authority opened a southern extension of I-355 from I-55 to I-80, a distance of 12.5 miles (20.1 km); on its opening, the tollway authority changed the name of the tollway to "Veterans Memorial Tollway". The tollway authority laid the route of the new extension through Will County and a small portion of Cook County, one of the fastest-growing regions in Illinois. The tollway authority expects the extension to cut travel times in the region by 20 percent. (Read more...)

Selected biography

Marcus Ward Lyon, Jr. in 1917 at Washington Biologists’ Field Club on Plummers Island

Marcus Ward Lyon, Jr. was an American mammalogist, bacteriologist, and pathologist. He was born into a military family at Rock Island Arsenal, and demonstrated an early interest in zoology by collecting local wildlife around his father's army posts. He graduated from Brown University in 1897, and continued his studies at George Washington University while working part-time at the United States National Museum (USNM). He received his Ph.D. from George Washington University in 1913. In 1919, he and his wife, Martha, moved to South Bend, Indiana to join a newly opened clinic. Prior to moving, Lyon had published many papers on mammalogy, both during and after his tenure at the USNM. In these papers, he had formally described six species, three genera, and one family. Once in South Bend, he began to publish medical studies, too, but continued his work in mammalogy, with a particular focus on the local fauna of Indiana. He published more than 160 papers during his career.

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Mendota Hills Wind Farm
The Mendota Hills Wind Farm in Lee County. Built in 2003, Mendota Hills was the first utility scale wind farm in Illinois.
Photo credit: Dori

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