Springfield, IL

Springfield, Illinois

Political Statistics
CountyBoroughParishSangamon County
MayorTimothy Davlin
Geographic Statistics
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

156.2 km2 (60.3 mi2)

16.3 km2 (6.3 mi2) 10.46% 
 - City (2000)
 - Density
 - Metropolitan

Time zoneCentral (UTC "6)
WGS-84 (GPS)
39.7833° N 89.6504° W
Website: www.springfield.il.us

Springfield is the capital of the U.S. state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County. The city was founded in 1819, became the county seat in 1823, and received its city charter in 1840. It was made the capital of Illinois in 1837, and the Legislature convened here for the first time in 1839. As of the 2000 census, its population is 111,454.


As the current capital of Illinois, Springfield is also home to the sixth and current Illinois State Capitol built near the grounds of the old state capitol, and home to the Illinois State Government.

The city is the site of a number of attractions centered around President Abraham Lincoln, who started his political career in Springfield. This includes a national park site including his home after marriage as well as the preserved surrounding neighborhood; the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices State Historic Site; the Old State Capitol State Historic Site; the newly built Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum; the train depot from whence he departed to Washington; and his burial mausoleum. The Museum of Funeral Customs, located near Lincoln's tomb, also features exhibits related to the president's funeral. North of Springfield, near the village of Petersburg, is New Salem (Menard County), Illinois, a restored hamlet of log cabins recreating New Salem, where Lincoln lived as a young man.

In addition, a severe race riot in 1908 led to the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) by a coalition of black and white citizens the following year. The Donner Party, a group of pioneers who resorted to cannibalism while snowbound in the Sierra Nevada, originated in Springfield. Springfield's Dana-Thomas House is among the best preserved and most complete of Frank Lloyd Wright's early "Prairie" houses. It was built in 1902-1904 and has retained many of the furnishings Wright designed for it. Springfield is known for its carillon and festival. In August, the city is the site of the Illinois State Fair.

Noted American poet Vachel Lindsay (1879 - 1931) was born and died in Springfield. Ragtime composer Artie Matthews (1888 - 1958) was raised in Springfield. The astronomer Seth Barnes Nicholson (1891 - 1963) was born in Springfield. Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887 - 1973), the philanthropist and founder of General Foods Corporation was also born there. Current Philadelphia 76ers player Andre Iguodala was born and raised in Springfield.

The Springfield campus of the University of Illinois is located on the southeast side of the city. The city is also home to the Bunn company, known as a global leader in coffee-making equipment and supplies.

I-55 runs from north to south of Springfield while I-72, also known as US 36, runs from east to west. The city also lies along historic Route 66. When state senator Vince Demuzio died on Tuesday, April 27, 2004, Governor Rod Blagojevich declared a part of Interstate of I-55 from Carlinville, which Demuzio represented and is about an hour from the capitol, to Springfield as the "Vince Demuzio Expressway."


Springfield is located at 39°46'60" North, 89°39'1" West (39.783250, -89.650373).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 156.2 km2 (60.3 mi2). 139.9 km2 (54.0 mi2) of it is land and 16.3 km2 (6.3 mi2) of it is water. The total area is 10.46% water.


The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, built 1868 - 1888

As of the census of 2000, there were 111,454 people, 48,621 households, and 27,957 families residing in the city. The population density was 796.9/km2 (2,063.9/mi2). There were 53,733 housing units at an average density of 384.2/km2 (995.0/mi2). The racial makeup of the city was 81.01% White, 15.34% African American, 0.21% Native American, 1.45% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.47% from other races, and 1.49% from two or more races. 1.20% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 48,621 households out of which 27.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.1% were married couples living together, 12.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.5% were non-families. 36.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.94.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.0% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 23.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 88.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $39,388, and the median income for a family was $51,298. Males had a median income of $36,864 versus $28,867 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,324. 11.7% of the population and 8.4% of families were below the poverty line. 17.3% of those under the age of 18 and 7.7% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

Local culinary creations

The corn dog on a stick also originated in Springfield, where it is sometimes still called a Cozy Dog. Another culinary pecularity that is not nearly as well known outside of the city is the horseshoe sandwich, a type of open-faced sandwich. For many years the popular Reisch Beer was brewed in Springfield. Springfield is also known to many as the "Chilli capital of the World." The unique double 'l' spelling is comonly used in many area parlors throughout the city and county. This peculiar spelling of "chilli" in Springfield originated with the founder of the Dew Chilli Parlor in 1909. His sign in the parlor was misspelled. Other folks believe the spelling matches the first four letters in Illinois. A proclamation proclaiming Springfield "the Chilli Capital of the Civilized World" was passed by the Illinois legislature in 1993. It's backed up by the city's long chilli history.

Tornadoes of March 12, 2006

Main article: March 2006 Tornado Outbreak Sequence#Springfield, Illinois Tornado

On the evening of March 12, 2006, the south side of Springfield was hit by two F2 tornadoes. The first tornado hit about 8:20 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST), with ground action of about 6 minutes in length, and the second tornado formed as the first one was dissolving and itself dissolved about 8:30 p.m. with ground action of about 5 minutes in length. The storms affected Springfield, two small suburbs, Jerome, Illinois and Clear Lake, Illinois, and unincorporated areas within Sangamon County.

Although the death toll in the Springfield area was zero, property damage from the storm cell was estimated at $100 million. As of March 16, the city had logged 1,741 damaged buildings, including homes, churches, and commercial and industrial buildings. A significant subset of these buildings were total losses.

Some of the worst-hit buildings were commercial structures on Springfield's southwest side. On most evenings, these buildings were crowded with shoppers, but because the day the tornadoes hit was a Sunday, few persons were shopping and many of these store buildings were empty or almost empty of people.

Points of interest

Lincoln's receiving vault (foreground) and tomb (background)
  • Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
  • Lincoln Home National Historic Site
  • Lincoln's Tomb
  • Museum of Funeral Customs
  • Washington Park Botanical Garden