Zion, Illinois

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Zion, Illinois
Zion-Benton Township High School
"Historic past, dynamic future"
Location of Zion in Lake County, Illinois.
Location of Zion in Lake County, Illinois.
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Coordinates: 42°27′12″N 87°50′25″W / 42.45333°N 87.84028°W / 42.45333; -87.84028
CountryUnited States
FoundedJuly 1901
Burned down1937
Founded byJohn Alexander Dowie
Named forMount Zion, Israel
 • MayorBilly McKinney
 • Total9.93 sq mi (25.72 km2)
 • Land9.93 sq mi (25.72 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
615 ft (187 m)
Highest elevation
(9th St and Greenbay Rd.)
740 ft (230 m)
Lowest elevation
582 ft (177 m)
 • Total24,655
 • Density2,482.63/sq mi (958.58/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Code(s)
Area codes847, 224
FIPS code17-84220
Wikimedia CommonsZion, Illinois

Zion is a city in Lake County, Illinois, United States. Per the 2020 census, the population was 24,655.[2]


The city was founded in July 1901 by John Alexander Dowie (1847-1907), a Scots-Australian evangelical minister and faith healer who had migrated to the United States in 1888. By 1890, he had settled in Chicago, where he built a large faith healing business (which included a large mail order component) and had attracted thousands of followers.

He bought land 40 miles north of Chicago to found Zion, where he personally owned all of the land and most businesses. The city was named after Mount Zion in Israel.[3]

Dowie also founded the Zion Tabernacle of the Christian Catholic Apostolic Church, which was the only church in town. The structure was built in the early 1900s and was burned down in 1937, following several decades of tumultuous rule by Dowie's successor, Wilbur Glenn Voliva.[4][5]


Zion is located at 42°27′12″N 87°50′25″W / 42.453221°N 87.840222°W / 42.453221; -87.840222.[6]

According to the 2010 census, Zion has a total area of 9.813 square miles (25.42 km2), of which 9.81 square miles (25.41 km2) (or 99.97%) is land and 0.003 square miles (0.01 km2) (or 0.03%) is water.[7]

Location within Lake County

Major streets[edit]

  • Illinois 137.svg Sheridan Road
  • Illinois 173.svg 21st Street/Bethlehem Avenue
  • Illinois 131.svg Green Bay Road
  • Galilee Avenue
  • 9th Street
  • Shiloh Boulevard
  • 23rd Street
  • 29th Street
  • 33rd Street
  • Lewis Avenue
  • Wadsworth Road

Illinois Beach State Park[edit]

Zion is the closest municipality to South Beach within Illinois Beach State Park. The North Beach is in Winthrop Harbor. The beach was originally part of Camp Logan, developed in 1892 as a rifle range by the Illinois National Guard. In World War I and World War II, it served as a rifle range for the Great Lakes Naval Training Station. The range remained in operation until 1973, when it was transferred to the Illinois Department of Conservation.

In 1950, the Illinois Dunes Preservation Society was established to maintain the natural qualities of the beach. With the help of the Illinois Department of Conservation, the area south of Beach Road was established as the state's first natural preserve. The sections of the northern beach, between Beach Road and the Wisconsin state border, were acquired by the state between 1971 and 1982.[8]

The Illinois Beach Resort and Conference Center is located at the south beach. The North Point Marina, one of the largest in the Great Lakes region, is at the north beach. It is Illinois' newest and largest marina.

On May 9, 2000, the area encompassing Illinois Beach State Park and North Point Marina was officially designated as the Cullerton Complex in honor of William J. Cullerton, Sr., a war hero, avid environmentalist, and long-time friend of conservation.[9]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
2010[11] 2020[12]

2020 Census[edit]

Zion city, Illinois – Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010[11] Pop 2020[12] % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 8,787 5,808 35.99% 23.56%
Black or African American alone (NH) 7,391 7,484 30.27% 30.35%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 53 55 0.22% 0.22%
Asian alone (NH) 546 534 2.24% 2.17%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 10 15 0.04% 0.06%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 129 177 0.53% 0.72%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 739 1,100 3.03% 4.46%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 6,758 9,482 27.68% 38.46%
Total 24,413 24,655 100.00% 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.

2010 Census[edit]

At the 2010 census,[13] there were 24,508 people, 7,552 households and 5,558 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,789.5 per square mile (1,077.0/km2). There were 8,036 housing units at an average density of 980.3 per square mile (378.5/km2). The racial make-up was 48.9% White, 31.10% African American, 0.4% Native American, 2.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 12% from other races and 5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 27.7% of the population.

There were 7,552 households, of which 44.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.9% were married couples living together, 20.0% had a female householder with no husband present and 26.4% were non-families. 21.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.96 and the average family size was 3.44.

33.2% of the population were under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 31.4% from 25 to 44, 17.4% from 45 to 64 and 8.4% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.0 males.

The median household income was $45,723 and the median family income was $50,378. Males had a median income of $37,455 and females $27,563. The per capita income was $17,730. About 10.1% of families and 11.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.5% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those age 65 or over.


Zion Metra Station

The city is served by Metra's Union Pacific/North Line through Zion railway station on the east side. It connects the city to Chicago, Kenosha and intermediate communities. Pace bus line 571 provides internal transit service in Zion and connects the city to Waukegan.


The 8,500-seat Fielders Stadium was planned to open in May 2010. Once completed, it was to host the home games of the Lake County Fielders North American League baseball team co-owned by the actor Kevin Costner. The Fielders' name is an homage to Costner's 1989 film Field of Dreams, with the logo showing a ballplayer standing in a field of corn.[14]

The Fielders' site has been subject to a court dispute between the owners and the city over a breach in contract.

Notable people[edit]


Zion Industries at Shiloh Tabernacle, July 1904, Zion City, Illinois
The former seal

Until the 1940s, Zion enshrined the Flat Earth doctrine in its religious code.[17]

Man pouring two bottles of beer into trough into the sewer system during Prohibition in 1921, detail, from- Zion City, Ill., destroys 80,000 pint bottles of beer

The former city seal was the subject of a 1990 Federal Court case, because it featured a crown and scepter, a dove, a cross and the words "God Reigns". The founder of Zion and designer of the city seal, John Alexander Dowie, intended for these to be Christian symbols and added them "for the purpose of the extension of the Kingdom of God upon earth ... where God shall rule in every department of family, industry, commercial, educational, ecclesiastical and political life".[18] The court ruled the city could not use these religious symbols in its seals and emblems. While the Christian symbolism was removed, the phrase "In God We Trust" could be used on the new city seal since it was already acceptable religious language in the public arena.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  2. ^ "Zion city, Illinois". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 15, 2022.
  3. ^ Chicago and North Western Railway Company (1908). A History of the Origin of the Place Names Connected with the Chicago & North Western and Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railways. p. 142.
  4. ^ Simane, Donald E. "The Flat Earth". Archived from the original on January 28, 2013. Retrieved September 4, 2008.
  5. ^ Weill, Kelly. "When a Flat Earther Refused to Concede and All Hell Broke Loose". The Daily Beast. Retrieved December 27, 2020.
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  7. ^ "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved December 27, 2015.
  8. ^ State.il.us Archived June 1, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Megan, Graydon (January 16, 2013). "William Cullerton, 1923-2013 WWII pilot, entrepreneur, radio host and well-known outdoorsman championed conservation". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
    - Grano, Laurie (May 10, 2000). "Cullerton Complex Christened At State Park". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  10. ^ "Decennial Census of Population and Housing by Decades". US Census Bureau.
  11. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE – 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – Zion city, Illinois". United States Census Bureau.
  12. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE – 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – Zion city, Illinois". United States Census Bureau.
  13. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  14. ^ Rotenberk, Lori (April 4, 2009). "Major League Hopes Pinned on the Minors". New York Times. Retrieved May 19, 2009.
    - "Lake County, IL to Finally have its minor league "Field of Dreams"". Lake County Baseball. Archived from the original on February 6, 2009. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  15. ^ "1991 World Series - Minnesota Twins over Atlanta Braves (4-3) | Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  16. ^ 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Media Guide.
  17. ^ "Looking for Life on a Flat Earth". The New Yorker. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  18. ^ "Harris v. City of Zion, 729 F. Supp. 1242 (N.D. Ill. 1990)". Justia. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  19. ^ "Zion, IL". Encyclopedia of Chicago. 2004. Retrieved November 19, 2019.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°27′12″N 87°50′25″W / 42.453221°N 87.840222°W / 42.453221; -87.840222