Monticello, Illinois

Monticello (/ˌmɒntɪˈsɛl/ MON-tih-SEL-oh) is a city in Piatt County, Illinois, United States. The population was 5,548 at the 2010 census, and 5,575 at a 2018 estimate. It is the county seat of Piatt County.[3]

City of Monticello
"Yesterday's charm, today's innovation"
Location of Monticello in Piatt County, Illinois.
City of Monticello
Location of Monticello in Piatt County, Illinois.
City of Monticello
City of Monticello (the United States)
Coordinates: 40°1′41″N 88°34′23″W
Country United States
State Illinois
TownshipsMonticello, Sangamon
  Total3.85 sq mi (9.98 km2)
  Land3.82 sq mi (9.88 km2)
  Water0.04 sq mi (0.10 km2)
660 ft (200 m)
  Density1,463.57/sq mi (565.12/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
  Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)217
FIPS code17-50244


Monticello is located at 40°1′41″N 88°34′23″W (40.028092, −88.573003).[4]

According to the 2010 census, Monticello has a total area of 3.829 square miles (9.92 km2), of which 3.8 square miles (9.84 km2) (or 99.24%) is land and 0.029 square miles (0.08 km2) (or 0.76%) is water.[5]

Monticello is located in East Central Illinois between the cities of Decatur and Champaign, Illinois.

Monticello is nearly equidistant from Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis.


Robert Allerton Park, which belongs to the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and includes 1500 acres of woodland and prairie areas, a meadow, a conference and retreat center, formal sculpture gardens, hiking trails, lodging facilities, a summer camp location, and a Georgian style mansion, is located just outside Monticello, to the southwest.[6] The Allerton Natural Area within the park was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1970.[7]


Monticello's first non-native resident was George Haworth. Haworth came to the area in 1822 to serve as a U.S. liaison agent to local Native American tribes. Haworth did not remain, but in 1829, James A. Piatt purchased Haworth's small log cabin. Soon more settlers arrived.

In 1837, residents decided to form a new town. Abraham Marquiss, William Barnes, James McReynolds, and James A. Piatt Jr. formed a joint stock company and purchased land from James A. Piatt. Upon McReynold's suggestion, the town was christened Monticello – after the home of Thomas Jefferson. Monticello officially became a town on July 1, 1837. Townsfolk held a celebration on July 4.

The first house in the new town was built by a Mr. Cass who used the building as his home and a grocery store. The second house was a log cabin built by John Tenbrooke. In 1839, Nicholas DeVore built the "Old Fort" which was later used as a hotel. Monticello continued to grow as the population increased over the next decade.

The citizens of Monticello were unhappy with the distance required to travel to the county seat for their legal issues. Due to the petitions of George Patterson and others, a new county was established on Jan 27 1841: Piatt County – named in honor the first permanent settler, James A. Piatt. As it was the only town in the area at that time, Monticello was named the county seat. The county began legal functions on April 5, 1841 in the "Old Fort." In 1843, the first courthouse was built on land donated by William H. Piatt.

Monticello's star resident arrived in 1885. Dr. William B. Caldwell came to practice medicine in Monticello but his homemade mixture of senna and pepsin brought Monticello to a level of national prominence. The Pepsin Syrup Company was founded in 1893, and became the leading employer in the city for decades until its closure in 1985. The building in which it operated has since been demolished. The site is now used as an unofficial soccer practice field.

In 1987 the 150th birthday of the town was celebrated with an open air reenactment and other festivities.

The Potawatomi Trail of Death passed through the town in 1838.

In a 2012 episode of the Comedy Central program The Daily Show, host Jon Stewart used the town in a joke segment, referring to it as Dogshit Bluffs.[8]


Historical population
Est. 20185,575[2]0.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 5,138 people, 2,146 households, and 1,446 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,724.7 people per square mile (665.7/km²). There were 2,226 housing units at an average density of 747.2 per square mile (288.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 99.01% White, 0.08% African American, 0.14% Native American, 0.14% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.08% from other races, and 0.54% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.80% of the population.

There were 2,146 households out of which 29.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.4% were married couples living together, 6.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.6% were non-families. 29.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.91. Also home to Kirby Hospital. In the city, the population was spread out with 23.4% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 24.3% from 45 to 64, and 19.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $45,754, and the median income for a family was $57,287. Males had a median income of $41,074 versus $24,130 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,257. About 2.3% of families and 3.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.6% of those under age 18 and 7.5% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people


  1. "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jun 30, 2017.
  2. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  3. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  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 2015-12-27.
  6. "National Register of Historic Places Listings". National Park Service. Retrieved 2018-06-07.
  7. "Allerton Natural Area". National Natural Landmarks Program. National Park Service. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved 2017-04-30.
  8. "Dogshit Bluffs located near Monticello, says Daily Show : SPlog : Smile Politely". Retrieved 2018-06-07.
  9. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  10. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  11. "About Robert Allerton « Allerton". Retrieved 2018-06-07.
  12. " - Private First Class BURKE, ROBERT C., U.S. Marine Corps". Retrieved 2018-06-07.
  13. "McMILLEN, Rolla Coral - Biographical Information". Retrieved 2018-06-07.
  14. "MOORE, Allen Francis - Biographical Information". Retrieved 2018-06-07.
  15. 'Directory of the Legislature of Illinois of 1895, J.L. Pickering-editor, Springfield, Illinois: 1895, Biographical Sketch of James Polk Ownby, pg. 61
  16. "Andrew Peterson | Biography, Albums, Streaming Links | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2018-06-07.
  17. "Interns // ACE at Notre Dame". Alliance for Catholic Education. Retrieved 2019-06-11.
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