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Jacksonville, Illinois

City of Jacksonville
Civil War monument in Central Park
Motto: "Where People Make The Difference"[1]
Nickname: The Athens Of The Midwest[2]
Country United States
State Illinois
County Morgan
Elevation 610 ft (185.9 m)
Area 10.67 sq mi (27.6 km2)
 - land 10.47 sq mi (27 km2)
 - water 0.19 sq mi (0 km2), 1.8%
Population 19,446 (2010)
Density 805.5 / sq mi (311 / km2)
Founded 1825
Government Mayor-Council
Mayor Andy Ezard
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP Code 62650
Area code 217
Location of Jacksonville within Illinois

Jacksonville is a city in

  • Official Jacksonville, Illinois web site
  • Texts on Wikisource:
    • "Jacksonville. II. A city and the capital of Morgan co., Illinois".  
    • "Jacksonville, a city and the county-seat of Morgan county, Illinois, U.S.A.".  
    • "Jacksonville, a city and capital of Morgan co., Ill.". The New Student's Reference Work. 1914. 

External links

  • Don H. Doyle, The Social Order of a Frontier Community: Jacksonville, Illinois, 1825-70, 1978
  • Vernon R.Q. Fernandes, The People of Jacksonville—A Pictorial History, 1991
  • Vernon R.Q. Fernandes, Faces & places—a Morgan County family album, 1995
  • Vernon R.Q. Fernandes, Passavant Area Hospital : 125 years of caring, 1999

Further reading

  1. ^ "City of Jacksonville, Illinois". City of Jacksonville, Illinois. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Jacksonville Visitor's Guide" (PDF). City of Jacksonville, Illinois. Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Briska, William (1997). The History of Elgin Mental Health Center: Evolution of a State Hospital. Crossroads Communications. p. 12.  
  6. ^ Retrieved 2009-10-06 Archived August 17, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ a b "Voices of Jacksonville - Audio tour sites". Retrieved 2014-03-05. 
  8. ^ Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Vol. 2 pp. 369-373. as reported in The Illinois Sentinel September 12, 1856. Online at:;view=fulltext
  9. ^ "Personal Points".  
  10. ^ WolfJan 02, 2002, 12:01 AM (2002-01-02). "1960s press coverage of the Beatles` sales [Archive] - BeatleLinks Fab Forum". Retrieved 2014-03-05. 
  11. ^ Billboard, April 8, 1995 p. 44.
  12. ^ "EMI employment down to two dozen in Jacksonville". State-Journal Register. November 11, 2011. Retrieved March 11, 2013. 
  13. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  14. ^ "Places: Illinois". 2010 Census Gazetteer Files.  
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ [2]
  21. ^ Edward Beecher
  22. ^ "Illinois School for the Deaf". Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  23. ^ "". Retrieved 2014-03-05. 
  24. ^ "Education Service Areas". 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2012-05-01. 
  25. ^ "". Retrieved 2012-05-01. 
  26. ^ Reynolds, John (Nov 29, 2012). "Last of Jacksonville Developmental Center residents moved out".  
  27. ^ "History of Jacksonville - Jacksonville". 1955-08-26. Retrieved 2012-05-01. 


Jacksonville also holds the unusual distinction of having a large number of pipe organs for a city of its size - eleven in all - found at various local churches, as well as both of its four-year colleges.

Cultural offerings include the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, the Jacksonville Theatre Guild, the Art Association of Jacksonville and its David Strawn Art Gallery, as well as many public events and activities hosted by MacMurray College and Illinois College. Recent additions to the cultural scene include the Imagine Foundation and the Eclectic art gallery, both located in the city's downtown.

The Grammy-winning album Stones in the Road by singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter features the song "John Doe #24" that describes a series of events that occurred in Jacksonville relating to the person on whose life the song is based. The song tells the story of a blind and deaf man who was found wandering the streets in Jacksonville in 1945. The man was hospitalized for diabetes and kept in various institutions until he died nearly 50 years later in 1993. During his 48 years of institutionalization, nobody ever found out his name, nor did anyone who knew or was related to him come to Jacksonville to establish his identity. It was speculated that he was originally from New Orleans, but this was never verified. Likewise, how he came to Jacksonville remains a mystery to this day.

In 2005, Sufjan Stevens released Illinois, a concept album making reference to various people and places associated with the state. Its fifth track, "Jacksonville," refers to various landmarks in the town, such as Nichols Park. It also contains a story about A. W. Jackson, a "colored preacher" urban legend supposes the town is named after, as well as President Andrew Jackson (President from 1829–1837) after whom the town's officials say it is actually named.[27]


Notable people

The Jacksonville Developmental Center, a state facility, operated here from 1851 to November 2012.[26]

Passavant Area Hospital is the prime source of medical treatment in the area.

Health care


Several radio stations operate out of Jacksonville- WCIC 90.7-FM, WLDS 1180-AM, WEAI 107.1-FM, WJVO 105.5-FM, and WJIL, which simulcasts on 102.9-FM and 1550-AM.

The city's daily newspaper, the Jacksonville Journal-Courier,[25] is the oldest continuously published newspaper in Illinois (since 1830).


Jacksonville is home to three high schools, two private, and one public, including Routt Catholic High School. Jacksonville School District 117 provides education for the city and much of the county with six elementary schools, one junior high school, and one senior high school.

Jacksonville is also home to three state-run institutions, including the Illinois School for the Deaf,[22] the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired,[23] and the Jacksonville Correctional Center. Lincoln Land Community College's Western Region Education Center[24] is also located in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville is home to two private four-year colleges, Illinois College and MacMurray College. Illinois College is the second oldest[20] college in Illinois, founded in 1829 (and the first to grant a degree - 1835) by one of the famous Yale Bands—students from Yale University who traveled westward to found new colleges. It briefly served as the state's first medical school from 1843–1848, and became co-educational (Jacksonville Female Academy was founded in 1836 by John Adams) in 1903. Beecher Hall, the first college building erected in Illinois, is named after its first president,[21] Edward Beecher, sibling to Henry Ward Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe.


Pactiv (formerly a Mobil Plastics plant) and Nestlé Beverage Co. have facilities in Jacksonville. Bound to Stay Bound is a prime book Processing company and is located in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville is the home of the Eli Bridge Company, manufacturer of Ferris wheels and other amusement rides such as the Scrambler. W.E. Sullivan founded the firm with the introduction of his first portable "Big Eli" Wheel on the Jacksonville Square on May 23, 1900. Jacksonville was once home to the J. Capps & Son Company, one of the largest manufacturers of textiles and clothing in the United States, and owned by the Capps family, which was intermarried with the family of Jacob Bunn and John Whitfield Bunn of Springfield, Illinois, and Chicago.

Big Eli Wheel on corner of E. Morton and S. Main


The median income for a household in the city was $40,670, and the median income for a family was $56,343. Males had a median income of $42,409 versus $30,208 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,245. About 11.9% of families and 18% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.9% of those under age 18 and 11.8% of those age 65 or over.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.0% under the age of 18, 14.2% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 91.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.4 males.

There were 7,357 households out of which 24.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.8% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.3% were non-families. 36.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.88.

As of the census[19] of 2010, there were 19,446 people, 7,357 households, and 4,174 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,905 inhabitants per square mile (721.9/km²). There were 8,162 housing units at an average density of 805.5 per square mile (311.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.3% White, 10.2% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 1.1% from other races, and 2.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3% of the population.


The city sits in the middle of mostly flat, fertile farmland. Mauvaisterre Creek, a small brook, runs through the middle of the city and empties into Lake Mauvaisterre, a small reservoir surrounded on three sides by parkland. Just to the south of the city lies Lake Jacksonville, a 476-acre lake with 18.6 miles of shoreline.[15] Lake Jacksonville was named the Number One Fishing Spot in Illinois by Field and Stream Magazine.[16]

Jacksonville is located at (39.731936, -90.234394).[13] According to the 2010 census, the city has a total area of 10.67 square miles (27.6 km2), of which 10.47 square miles (27.1 km2) (or 98.13%) is land and 0.19 square miles (0.49 km2) (or 1.78%) is water.[14]


In the summer of 1965, in order to keep up with demand for Beatles records,[10] Capitol Records opened a vinyl record pressing plant located at 1 Capitol Way on the western outskirts of Jacksonville. The plant produced a number of highly collectible pressings. This plant eventually serviced the Capitol Records Club, producing vinyl LPs and later audiocassettes, CDs, and DVDs of a number of artists. At its peak, operating as EMI Records (owner of Capitol), the plant employed over 1,000 and was a significant location in the music industry. For example, all seven albums released by country western artist Garth Brooks sold over 50 million copies, in celebration of which a thank you luncheon for 1,000 was held at the Jacksonville plant March 10, 1995.[11] EMI ceased manufacturing operations at Jacksonville in 2004.[12]

[9] In 1911, Jacksonville adopted the

Abraham Lincoln occasionally had legal business in Jacksonville, frequently acting either as co-counsel or opposing counsel with David A. Smith, a Jacksonville resident.[7] In what is now Central Park Plaza, Lincoln delivered a very strong antislavery speech in support of the presidential campaign of John C. Frémont over the course of two hours on September 6, 1856.[8] A mural depicting the event is now painted on the side of a building at the southwest corner of the Park.[7] Jacksonville was a major stopping point on the historic Underground Railroad. An Annual Civil War reenactment celebration is named for Jacksonville resident U.S. Army General Benjamin Grierson.

In 1851, Illinois opened its first state mental hospital in Jacksonville, which was a major employer for the area.[5] The institution, now named the Jacksonville Developmental Center, serves developmentally challenged individuals.[6]

Jacksonville's education grew stronger with the establishment of the Illinois School for the Deaf, the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired, and the Illinois Conference Female Academy, which later became MacMurray College. By 1850, Illinois College had issued Illinois' first college degrees and opened the first medical school in the state. Because of this, Jacksonville earned the nickname of "Athens of the West."[4]

With the college, the population of Jacksonville continued to grow. A new courthouse was built on the square, churches were constructed, railroads were planned, and stores and taverns were built. By 1834, Jacksonville had the largest population of any city in the state of Illinois, even outnumbering Chicago. The Potawatomi Trail of Death passed through here in 1838.

Jacksonville was established on a 160-acre tract of land in the center of Morgan County in 1825, two years after the county itself was founded. The town grew at a rapid rate, and a town square quickly developed. In 1829, the Presbyterian Reverend John M. Ellis felt the need for a new "seminary of learning" in the new state of Illinois. A group of Congregational students at Yale University heard about his plans and headed westward to establish the new school. These students were a part of the famous "Yale Bands," which were groups of students that established multiple colleges in what is now the Midwest. Illinois College was one of the first institutions of higher learning in the Midwest.



  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Business 4
  • Education 5
  • Media 6
  • Infrastructure 7
    • Health care 7.1
  • Notable people 8
  • Culture 9
  • References 10
  • Further reading 11
  • External links 12

Jacksonville is the principal city of the Jacksonville Scott counties.


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