“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
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Illinois Facts and Figures

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database


on February 17, 2020

1876 artwork by Henry Mitchell, via Wikipedia Commons

 Illinois ranks 28th among states and provinces with markers in this database. Illinois is a state in the United States of America located in the American Midwest. It is also in the Great Lakes region. Illinois is some 58 thousand square miles in size with a population of around 12.7 million people. The state is divided into 102 counties and 82 of them have entries in this database. In Illinois we have discovered historical markers in 279 cities and towns lying in 307 different ZIP Codes.

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How many historical markers are there in Illinois? There are least 1,412 of them, by our count. We have cataloged 1,287 historical markers and 122 war memorialsóeach individually presented on 1,391 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. Pages for historical markers from this state make up 1.0% of our total. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another 125 historical markers in Illinois that we donít yet have, and instead show on our Want List. Our correspondents have been finding and adding hundreds of markers a month to the database from all over the world, so next time you visit this page you will probably find that the numbers here have changed.

The first Illinois marker in the database, Reagan Home, was added July 9, 2007. It was photographed in Dixon in Lee County and was erected in 1999. The last one added was submitted on February 5, 2020, and titled Clyde Tombaugh. It is in Streator in LaSalle County and had been erected in 1985. Keeping in mind that the erection date of many markers in the database is not known, the earliest historical marker we know of in Illinois was erected in 1864. It was this one: Firefighters Memorial, and one of our correspondents found it in Chicago in Cook County on April 30, 2016.

Illinois Historical Categories
280 • Government and Politics
272 • Settlements and Settlers
239 • Industry and Commerce
133 • Roads and Vehicles
114 • Notable Buildings
106 • Cemeteries and Burial Sites
106 • Civil War
90 • Churches and Religion
80 • Man-Made Features
78 • Patriots and Patriotism
    ... and more ...

Illinoisans donít want to forget their Government and Politics history. How do we know? Because there are more historical markers in the database from Illinois about Government and Politicsó280 of themóthan about any other historical category. A close second is Settlements and Settlers with 272 markers.

The first marker added to the database with the Government and Politics category was Lincolnís Farewell to Springfield, added January 7, 2008. It had been erected in 1915 in Springfield in Sangamon County. The last one submitted was submitted on January 15, 2020, and titled Abraham Lincoln Spoke Here. It had been erected in Carlinville in Macoupin County. The earliest marker erected with the Government and Politics category that we have listed was erected in 1908. It was Lincoln and Douglas Debate, found in Ottawa in LaSalle County on May 13, 2013.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The Illinois county with the most historical markers listed in this database is Cook County, with 206 of them. It is followed by Sangamon County with 107 markers. The Chicago area of Cook County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 180. In Sangamon County the area with the most markers, 98, is Springfield.

Historical Markers in These
Illinois Counties
206 • Cook County
107 • Sangamon County
75 • Madison County
61 • Lake County
61 • Vermilion County
60 • St. Clair County
52 • Monroe County
47 • Fayette County
47 • Pike County
37 • Kane County
    ... and more ...

Checking the database for the city or town in Illinois with the most markers we again find Chicago at the top of the list with 180 markers in or near it. And Springfield also shows up again in next place, with 98 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers itís 62701 at the top of the list with 67 markers in its delivery area. (ZIP Code 62701 is assigned to Springfield IL.) It is followed by ZIP Code 62471 with 43 markers. (62471 is assigned to Vandalia IL including the Bear Grove, Hagarstown, and Shafter delivery areas.)

Historical Markers Near These
Illinois Cities and Towns
180 • Chicago
98 • Springfield
43 • Vandalia
33 • Danville
33 • Waterloo
31 • Alton
26 • East St. Louis
25 • Bloomington
25 • Quincy
23 • Decatur
    ... and more ...

Getting back to Cook County, the first marker added to the database from there, Victory, World War I Black Soldiersí Memorial, was added January 12, 2008. It was erected in 1927 in Chicago. The last one submitted was uploaded on September 8, 2019, and is titled Residence of Charles Gates Dawes and was erected in 1963, in Evanston. The earliest marker erected in Cook County that we have listed was erected in 1864. It was Firefighters Memorial, found in Chicago on April 30, 2016.

Latest entry from Illinois. Click to go there
February 6, 2020
Latest Entry from Illinois
“Clyde Tombaugh”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Springfield. The first: The Lincoln Depot, was added January 6, 2008. It had been erected in 1966. The last: The Temporary Vault added on January 9, 2020. The earliest marker erected was erected in 1874: Lincolnís Tomb, added on January 20, 2008.

Who Puts Up Historical Markers?

State of Illinois Historic Preservation Agency is currently in charge of the familiar dark brown and silver official historical markers found all over the state. You will also find official markers erected by the the Illinois State Historical Society, a predecessor. We have 258 of their markers in the database. Also, a number of counties have erected historical markers on their streets and roads and within their public areas, as have some cities and towns.

Latest entry from Illinois. Click to go there
By J. J. Prats, July 10, 2017
A State of Illinois Historic Preservation Agency Historical Marker

Then there are federal government agencies that put up historical markers, especially in national parks and other areas under their jurisdiction. And finally, there are the numerous public and private organizations and individuals that erect markers. Some do this as a continual endeavor, and others once in a while, to mark something, someone, or someplace they find important or interesting. When one of our correspondents comes across one that satisfies our criteria, we add it to the database.

Off the Beaten Path

Youíll find that even the smallest, least populated, or most rural areas of Illinois have been marked with history. Check out Fulton County, Franklin County and Clay County. We've only found one historical marker in each. Visiting one or more of these parts of Illinois might make for a pleasant road trip, and maybe youíll discover more historical markers while youíre there. If you do, perhaps youíll take the time to photograph them and, when you get home, become an HMdb correspondent by adding them to the database. Happy Hunting!

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