Carbondale, IL


Carbondale is a city in Southern Illinois in the midwest United States, about one hour north of Cairo. It is known mainly as the site of the main campus of Southern Illinois University. The city is located in Jackson County, Illinois. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 30,069.


Carbondale, as its name suggests, began its days as a coal mining town. By the time of the American Civil War, the area had been incorporated as a village. After the war it developed into a center of business and transport for the region.

On April 29, 1866, one of the first formal Memorial Day observations was held at the city's Woodlawn Cemetery, with local resident, General John A. Logan, giving the principal address.

Southern Illinois Normal University, a major factor in Carbondale's economy, which later became known as Southern Illinois University, was founded in Carbondale in 1869.

The city is in an area of the state known as Little Egypt.

On November 8, 1969 Carbondale was the site of a concert given by Simon and Garfunkel. Recordings of at least some of the tracks from this concert have been widely bootlegged, most notably on Head Records' CD "Village Vanguard," tracks 4-11.

Carbondale is also infamous for a series of civil altercations that have occurred on Halloween. "The Strip", as the main stretch of local businesses and bars is known in the city, has often been shut down on Halloween in order to quell the riotous, alcohol-inspired behavior. Since 2000, the city has closed The Strip on Halloween with success. Although the riot activity has often been attributed to the presence of Southern Illinois University (most often by the Chicago media), most of those arrested by police during these activities were actually out-of-towners. However, in 2005, a small riot erupted after the Chicago White Sox won the World Series, giving the city reason to keep The Strip closed on Halloween.

The city was the location for the controversial Green Party Congress in 2001.

One main site of interest is the area of Highway 51 by SIU's campus known as "The Strip." The Strip has an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants including Quatros, Booby's, Harbaugh's Cafe, Paglias Pizza, and an outdoor Dairy Queen, which is said to be the only original outdoor Dairy Queen in the country, to name a few.


Carbondale is located at 37°43'35" North, 89°13'13" West (37.726418, -89.220270).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 31.4 km2 (12.1 mi2). 30.8 km2 (11.9 mi2) of it is land and 0.6 km2 (0.2 mi2) of it is water. The total area is 2.06% water.

Outdoor Activities


Giant City State Park Little Grand Canyon Piney Creek Ravine


Just five minutes south of Carbondale is the city reservoir, Cedar Lake, which is an outstanding place to kayak or canoe. The north access features several dramatic rock bluffs and interesting bays to explore. There are other lakes nearby, including Little Grassy, Devil's Kitchen and Crab Orchard. Another, more remote location is Cache River, which is the northern-most cypress swamp in North America.