Ina, Illinois

Ina is the southernmost village in Jefferson County, Illinois, United States. The population was 2,338 as of the 2010 census.[3] It is part of the Mount Vernon Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Ina, Illinois
Location of Ina in Jefferson County, Illinois
Location of Illinois in the United States
Coordinates: 38°9′2″N 88°54′17″W
CountryUnited States
TownshipSpring Garden
  Total2.44 sq mi (6.33 km2)
  Land2.44 sq mi (6.33 km2)
  Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
430 ft (130 m)
  Density955.40/sq mi (368.81/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
  Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)618
FIPS code17-37179
Wikimedia CommonsIna, Illinois


Ina is located at 38°9′2″N 88°54′17″W (38.150648, -88.904709).[4] Illinois Route 37 is the village's Main Street, and Interstate 57 runs through the west side of town, with access from Exit 83. Mount Vernon, the Jefferson county seat, is 11 miles (18 km) to the north, and Benton is the same distance to the south.

According to the 2010 census, Ina has a total area of 2.45 square miles (6.35 km2), all land.[5]

Ina is located on high ground between Casey Creek and Gun Creek, both tributaries of the Big Muddy River. The Big Muddy has been dammed to form Rend Lake, with arms of the lake extending up the two tributaries.


Many Cherokee families settled in Ina around 1840. They were apparently refugees from the Trail of Tears. In the 1800s, Ina was jokingly referred to as "the Cherokee Reservation".

The main settlement in this area was Spring Garden, about 3 miles (5 km) northeast of Ina. Spring Garden prospered from 1848 until the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad was built in 1905. After that, the population and business shifted over to the depots at Ina and Bonnie.

Ina is the home of the Big Muddy River Correctional Center. Rend Lake College, with an Ina mailing address, is outside the village limits to the southwest.


A famous murder case occurred in Ina in 1924, when Rev. Lawrence Hight and his lover Elsie Sweeten poisoned Sweeten's husband in July and Hight's wife in September. Autopsies revealed arsenic. Hight and Sweeten were both sent to prison. Elsie Sweeten was granted another trial and was later acquitted of murder and released from jail.

Over six decades later a quadruple homicide occurred outside of town. The victims were the Dardeen family, who lived in a mobile home on Illinois Route 37 just north of the Franklin County line. One evening in November 1987, the police came to the house since Keith Dardeen had not shown up for his job at the Rend Lake Water Conservancy District treatment plant that morning and did not answer phone calls.[6]

Inside they found the bodies of Elaine Dardeen, her son Peter and the baby she had been seven months pregnant with, born during the attack. All had been beaten to death. Keith was suspected of the crime until his body was found in a field a mile away; he had been shot and his penis cut off.[6]

Elaine had not been raped, valuable items remained in the house, and police found no reason why anyone might want to have killed the family. Serial killer Tommy Lynn Sells confessed to the crime after he was arrested in Texas in 2000; however, police and the other members of the Dardeen family did not completely believe his accounts, which he changed three times, and he did not seem to know any nonpublic information about the crime. He was never charged before his 2014 execution, and officially the Dardeens' killings remain unsolved.[6]


Historical population
Est. 20162,335[2]−0.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]

The following population figures for Ina are greatly influenced by the approximately 1,850 male inmates who are included from the Big Muddy River Correctional Center, which has been annexed to the original village. (The population of the village outside of the Correctional Center is approximately 600 people.) As of the census[8] of 2000, there are officially 2,455 people, 199 households, and 140 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,020.6 people per square mile (393.3/km²). There were 233 housing units at an average density of 96.9 per square mile (37.3/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 55.15% White, 41.79% African American, 0.45% Native American, 0.24% Asian, 2.12% from other races, and 0.24% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.48% of the population.

There were 199 households out of which 26.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.8% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.6% were non-families. 25.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the village, the population was spread out with 5.1% under the age of 18, 18.7% from 18 to 24, 54.9% from 25 to 44, 16.7% from 45 to 64, and 4.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 874.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 1,082.2 males. These last two statistics are heavily influenced by the approximately 1850 male inmates in the Big Muddy River Correctional Center.

The median income for a household in the village was $24,453 and the median income for a family was $32,500. Males had a median income of $33,950 versus $20,625 for females. The per capita income for the village was $8,596. About 10.4% of families and 19.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.4% of those under age 18 and 21.0% of those age 65 or over.


Spring Garden School District 178 operates area schools, including Spring Garden Elementary School (with a Mount Vernon postal address but outside of the city) and Spring Garden Middle School in Ina.[9]


  1. "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jun 29, 2017.
  2. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  3. "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001): Ina village, Illinois". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  4. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  5. "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-08-04.
  6. Suhr, Jim (April 12, 2014). "Unsolved 1987 slaying of Illinois family haunting". Associated Press. Retrieved November 6, 2017 via Northwest Herald.
  7. "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  8. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  9. Home. Spring Garden School District 178. Retrieved on May 28, 2019.
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