Channahon, IL


Channahon is a village located in Will County, Illinois. As of the 2000 census, the village had a total population of 7,344. Channahon is also the name of the township in which most of the village resides. The current mayor is Joe Cook.


Its name meaning "Meeting of the Waters" in the language of the area's original Potawatomi inhabitants, Channahon is located at the confluence of the Des Plaines and Kankakee rivers, where they form the Illinois River. The Illinois and Michigan Canal (including several locks) runs through most of the village, where it is fed by the water of the DuPage River. Later in the 19th century, a line that eventually came under the control of the Santa Fe Railroad was laid through the eastern portions of the township, but no railroad actually passed through the village itself. In the late 1920s, U.S. Highway 6 came through Channahon; Interstates 80 and 55 followed in the 1960s (although I-80 runs approximately two miles to the north of the village limits).


Channahon's abundance of transportation links (as shown above) makes its historically small size somewhat of a puzzle. The demise of the I & M Canal by 1900 certainly contributed to the village's dwindling population, and the absence of a railroad only encouraged business to locate elsewhere. Another possible explanation is that, although the area has been settled by whites since the 1830s, the village did not formally incorporate until 1896, and disincorporated fifteen years later (to avoid liability in an early automobile accident). It did not reincorporate until 1962. The original downtown business district, along what is now Bridge and Fryer Streets fell out of favor when U.S. 6 was re-routed to a new alignment north of that area around 1940. While Channahon has a concentration of businesses along US6, it currently has no real downtown, and throughout the first three quarters of the 20th century it was primarily a working-class bedroom community for neighboring Joliet.

Serious development finally began in the 1970s, as the village's proximity to two trunk line interstates and white flight from Joliet resulted in both industrial growth (a Mobil oil refinery, two petrochemicals plants, a gigantic soybean oil production facility, and numerous support businesses for the freight hauling industry) and residential development. The village also saw an influx of population from eastern Kentucky in the wake of the closure of many of that area's coal mines. Beginning in the 1990s, development in Channahon took on a more middle-class bent, with subdivisions sprouting in the former gravel quarrying and dairy farming areas near the I&M Canal in the village's western areas, and a widely acclaimed public golf course opening in the hilly southeastern area of the village near I-55. A major natural gas pipeline to the Chicago area from Canada had its southern terminus built in Channahon in 2000, bringing even more jobs and desperately needed tax revenue (Channahonians are noted for their aversion to taxation) to the now fast-growing village.

Local Legends

  • The Potowatomi settled in the area because of its 'safety' from tornadoes. The reasoning behind this was that since Channahon was at a lower elevation than all of the surrounding towns, the tornadoes would 'fly over' the area.
  • US6 running through the center of town was built over the site of an old Potawatomi horse race track.
  • Abraham Lincoln spent the night in a house near the intersection of US6 & Bluff Road.
  • A settler decided to build near Potawatomi burial mounds on the river. The Potawatomi tried in vain to drive him from the land. Late one night, the settler noticed a rival tribe coming across the river to attack the Potawatomis. He alerted the Potawatomi tribe, and helped to drive off the invaders. As a reward for saving their village, the tribe granted his family the right to continue living near the burial mounds; the land could never be sold, only given to another family that was worthy of guarding them. The burial mounds are said to contain the remains of the chief mounted on his horse.
  • The burial mounds along the Des Plaines River are approximately 1,500 years old, created by the Hopewells and Early Woodland Villagers. They are a registered National Historic Landmark (1 of 2 in the village).
  • The Des Plaines River was a much smaller river in the Channahon area until the early 1930s, when neighboring farmland was flooded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to create the Illinois Waterway to accommodate commercial barge traffic.

Geographic Data

Channahon is located at 41°26'17" North, 88°12'59" West (41.438156, -88.216520). According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 20.4 km2 (7.9 mi2). 18.7 km2 (7.2 mi2) of it is land and 1.7 km2 (0.7 mi2) of it is water. The total area is 8.50% water.


As of the census of 2000, there were 7,344 people, 2,279 households, and 1,989 families residing in the village. The population density was 393.3/km2 (1,019.0/mi2). There were 2,346 housing units at an average density of 125.6/km2 (325.5/mi2). The racial makeup of the village was 97.22% White, 0.42% African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.27% Asian, none Pacific Islander, 0.95% from other races, and 1.02% from two or more races. 3.64% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,279 households out of which 50.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 78.6% were married couples living together, 5.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 12.7% were non-families. 10.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.22 and the average family size was 3.47.

In the village the population was spread out with 32.8% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 33.8% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 5.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 105.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.7 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $71,991, and the median income for a family was $74,481. Males had a median income of $52,479 versus $31,692 for females. The per capita income for the village was $22,867. 1.7% of the population and 1.8% of families were below the poverty line. 1.7% of those under the age of 18 and 3.8% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.