Wabash County, Illinois

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Wabash County, Illinois
Wabash County Courthouse in Mount Carmel.jpg
The county courthouse in Mount Carmel
Map of Illinois highlighting Wabash County
Location in the state of Illinois
Map of the United States highlighting Illinois
Illinois's location in the U.S.
Founded 1824
Named for Wabash River
Seat Mount Carmel
Largest city Mount Carmel
 • Total 228 sq mi (591 km2)
 • Land 223 sq mi (578 km2)
 • Water 4.3 sq mi (11 km2), 1.9%
 • (2010) 11,947
 • Density 54/sq mi (21/km²)
Congressional district 15th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Cherry St. in Mount Carmel, still paved in brick, is home to many interesting examples of around the start of the 20th century architecture

Wabash County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 11,947.[1] Its county seat is Mount Carmel.[2] It is located in the southern portion of Illinois known locally as "Little Egypt".


Wabash County was formed in 1824 out of Edwards County, to avert an armed confrontation between the militias of Albion and Mt. Carmel after the county seat was moved from a town near the current city of Mount Carmel to Albion.

The County is named for the Wabash River, which forms its eastern and southern borders. The name "Wabash" is an English spelling of the French name for the river, "Ouabache." French traders named the river after the Miami Indian word for the river, "Wabashike," (pronounced "Wah-bah-she-keh"), the word for "pure white." Much of the river bottom is white limestone, now obscured by mud.

A 329 acres (1.33 km2) remnant of the county's original Eastern Woodlands ecosystem can be found in the Forest of the Wabash located within the county's Beall Woods State Park.

In the 1920s there existed a famous hotel and resort that existed in Wabash County nearby the Grand Rapids Dam on the Wabash River. The hotel was named the Grand Rapids Hotel and was owned by Frederick Hinde Zimmerman. During the hotel's nine-year existence it catered to individuals from all over the United States. In July 2011, John Matthew Nolan wrote a detailed history of the Grand Rapids Hotel.


On the morning of April 18, 2008, at 4:37am local time, one of the largest earthquakes in Illinois history hit the area. The epicenter of this tremor was in Lick Prairie Township, near the middle of the county. The tremor was felt more than 400 miles away in Nebraska.[3]


Bridge on Illinois Route 15 connecting Wabash and Gibson counties. This span no longer exists.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 228 square miles (590 km2), of which 223 square miles (580 km2) is land and 4.3 square miles (11 km2) (1.9%) is water.[4] It is the fifth-smallest county in Illinois by area.

Climate and weather[edit]

Mount Carmel, Illinois
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: The Weather Channel[5]

In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Mount Carmel have ranged from a low of 21 °F (−6 °C) in January to a high of 89 °F (32 °C) in July, although a record low of −19 °F (−28 °C) was recorded in January 1985 and a record high of 102 °F (39 °C) was recorded in July 1988. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 2.73 inches (69 mm) in February to 5.12 inches (130 mm) in May.[5]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1830 2,710
1840 4,240 56.5%
1850 4,690 10.6%
1860 7,313 55.9%
1870 8,841 20.9%
1880 9,945 12.5%
1890 11,866 19.3%
1900 12,583 6.0%
1910 14,913 18.5%
1920 14,034 −5.9%
1930 13,197 −6.0%
1940 13,724 4.0%
1950 14,651 6.8%
1960 14,047 −4.1%
1970 12,841 −8.6%
1980 13,713 6.8%
1990 13,111 −4.4%
2000 12,937 −1.3%
2010 11,947 −7.7%
Est. 2014 11,549 [6] −3.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
1790-1960[8] 1900-1990[9]
1990-2000[10] 2010-2013[1]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 11,947 people, 5,012 households, and 3,310 families residing in the county.[11] The population density was 53.5 inhabitants per square mile (20.7/km2). There were 5,585 housing units at an average density of 25.0 per square mile (9.7/km2).[4] The racial makeup of the county was 96.9% white, 0.6% black or African American, 0.6% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 0.5% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.3% of the population.[11] In terms of ancestry, 25.6% were German, 12.3% were English, 11.7% were American, and 8.4% were Irish.[12]

Of the 5,012 households, 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.9% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 34.0% were non-families, and 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.91. The median age was 42.0 years.[11]

The median income for a household in the county was $46,026 and the median income for a family was $55,611. Males had a median income of $44,932 versus $28,292 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,350. About 7.2% of families and 13.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.2% of those under age 18 and 8.6% of those age 65 or over.[13]




Unincorporated communities[edit]


Wabash County is one of 17 Illinois counties that use the term precinct.

Precincts of Wabash County

Wabash County precincts and their boundaries

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Nolan, John Matthew, "2,543 Days: A History of the Hotel at Grand Rapids Dam on the Wabash River" 2011, ISBN 978-1-257-04152-7


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 9, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Jim Suhr, Associated Press (April 18, 2008). "5.2 earthquake rattles skyscrapers, nerves across Midwest". San Francisco Chronicle. It was the kind of tremor that might be ignored in earthquake-savvy California, but the temblor shook things up from Nebraska to Atlanta and rattled nerves in Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Louisville, Ky., where bricks toppled to the pavement... Dozens of aftershocks followed, including one with a magnitude of 4.6. 
  4. ^ a b "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  5. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for Mount Carmel, Illinois". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  6. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  7. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 9, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 9, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 9, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 9, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  12. ^ "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  13. ^ "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-07-12. 

Coordinates: 38°26′N 87°50′W / 38.44°N 87.84°W / 38.44; -87.84