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Wilmington, Illinois

Coordinates: 41°18′27″N 88°08′46″W / 41.307515°N 88.146143°W / 41.307515; -88.146143
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Wilmington, Illinois
Baltimore Street (IL-53)
Baltimore Street (IL-53)
The Island City
Location of Wilmington in Will County, Illinois.
Location of Wilmington in Will County, Illinois.
CountryUnited States
 • MayorBen Dietz[1]
 • Total14.52 sq mi (37.61 km2)
 • Land13.80 sq mi (35.75 km2)
 • Water0.72 sq mi (1.86 km2)
Elevation528 ft (161 m)
 • Total5,664
 • Density410.35/sq mi (158.44/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code815
FIPS code17-82101 [4]
GNIS feature ID2397328[3]

Wilmington is a city in Will County, Illinois, United States. Located on IL-53 and Historic Route 66 along the east bank of the Kankakee River, it is approximately 60 miles south-west from downtown Chicago (the Chicago Loop). The population was 5,724 at the 2010 census. Wilmington is just south of Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, which is home the largest bison herd in the state.[5]


Thomas Cox purchased land near Alden's Island in 1834 and built a sawmill, corn cracker, gristmill, and a carding machine facility all of which were powered by water wheels situated on a mill right off of the Kankakee River which runs through Wilmington.[6]

The Gemini Giant in Wilmington, Illinois U.S. Route 66.
The Gemini Giant at its former location in Wilmington on U.S. Route 66

The city is home to the historic Eagle Hotel located on the northwest corner of state Rt 53 (Rt 66) and Water street (Rt 102). It later became famous as a stop on U.S. Route 66, which followed the route of modern-day Illinois Route 53. A notable attraction for travelers along this route is the Gemini Giant muffler man type statue. Countless photos of travelers, both domestic and foreign, standing at the base of the Gemini Giant are taken each year.[7]

Wilmington is also home to Cinder Ridge Golf Course, located off of I-55. Wilmington was the scene of the brutal murder of Riley Fox.

A mural depicting historic Downtown Wilmington was installed facing the Eagle Hotel in October 2023, in anticipation of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Route 66 coming up in 2026.[8]


Wilmington is located at 41°18′27″N 88°08′46″W / 41.307515°N 88.146143°W / 41.307515; -88.146143.[9] It is located on the banks of the Kankakee River, approximately 50 miles (80 km) southwest of Chicago and 15 miles (24 km) south of Joliet.

One of Wilmington's most notable geographical features is a large island in the Kankakee River, much of which is occupied by a city park. This island divides the river into a large channel and a smaller one which was used as a natural mill race during the early years of the city. The island is the source of the city's nickname, "The Island City."[6]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.5 square miles (12 km2), of which 4.2 square miles (11 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) (6.86%) is water.


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[10]

As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 5,134 people, 1,991 households, and 1,318 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,218.3 inhabitants per square mile (470.4/km2). There were 2,097 housing units at an average density of 497.6 per square mile (192.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.14% White, 0.74% African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.29% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.60% from other races, and 0.86% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.95% of the population.

There were 1,991 households, out of which 34.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.1% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.8% were non-families. 28.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 26.3% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 22.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $45,659, and the median income for a family was $53,648. Males had a median income of $41,966 versus $25,625 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,357. About 5.1% of families and 5.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.3% of those under age 18 and 9.3% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "City Officials". City of Wilmington. Retrieved June 23, 2021.
  2. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  3. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Wilmington, Illinois
  4. ^ "Wilmington, Illinois (Will County)". Roadside Thoughts. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  5. ^ Wetli, Patty (May 7, 2021). "It's a Bison Baby Boom at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie". WTTW News.
  6. ^ a b "Wilmington History". Wilmington Public Library. Archived from the original on November 12, 2023.
  7. ^ Searl, Ryan (March 11, 2021). "Legendary Route 66 Sights: The Gemini Giant". The First Hundred Miles. Archived from the original on May 18, 2021.
  8. ^ "Have you seen the new mural?". the DAILY 411. October 12, 2023.
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  10. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  11. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.

External links[edit]