Washington, Illinois

Washington is a city in Tazewell County, Illinois, United States. Washington is on U.S. Route 24 and Illinois Route 8, northeast of East Peoria. The population was 15,134 at the 2010 census, a 39.6 percent increase over 2000.[3]

Denhart Bank Building at 101 Washington Sq.
"Your Pathway To Discovery; Enjoyment And Knowledge"
Location of Washington in Tazewell County, Illinois.
Location of Illinois in the United States
Coordinates: 40°42′N 89°25′W
CountryUnited States
  Total8.04 sq mi (20.81 km2)
  Land8.02 sq mi (20.78 km2)
  Water0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)
757 ft (231 m)
  Density2,100.60/sq mi (811.05/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (CST)
  Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP Code(s)
Area code(s)309
FIPS code17-79033
Wikimedia CommonsWashington, Illinois


Washington was founded in 1825[4] by William Holland, Sr., who came from North Carolina and was hired by the U.S. government to provide blacksmith services to the local Native Americans. During his long and eventful life he was married three times, and was the father of twenty-one children: fourteen by his first wife and seven by his second wife. He had eighty-two grandchildren and fifty great grandchildren. He died in Washington on November 27, 1871, at the age of ninety-one. The post office (and later the city) was originally named Holland's Grove in 1833[4] before being renamed in honor of the first U.S. president, George Washington, in 1837.[4]

In the 1920s, a man named George Heyl put Washington on the map as the home of the famous Heyl Pony Farm.[5] Some of the original barns still exist on North Main Street. The Heyl Pony Farm supplied Shetland ponies to buyers around the world; George Heyl also raised pure bred poultry. When Heyl died suddenly in 1932, it was recorded as one of the largest funerals ever held in Washington.

Another local site of interest is the "old canning factory", which is now occupied by American Allied Railway Equipment Company Inc. In 1943, the canning factory (which after the war was run by the Libby's company) had a shortage of workers, and the government needed K rations and canned goods to feed the troops. So 50 captured German soldiers from the prisoner of war camp known as Camp Ellis in Fulton County were brought in.[6] The Washington sub-camp was first commanded by Colonel John S. Sullivan, and later by Captain T. A. Cox. The POWs were brought in on the old rail line that ran down Wood Street (the foundation of a sentry tower can be seen just northeast of the intersection of Wood and Jefferson near the entrance to the bike trail). They were trucked from the camp to various local farms to help with the pumpkin harvest. The prisoners were allowed no visitors, nor could residents speak to the prisoners. An exception was made for local ministers, such as Pastor Kammeyer from St. Mark's Lutheran who spoke fluent German and ministered to the POWs spiritual needs. Once a POW jumped from a truck going down South Main Street and was almost shot before the guard realized he was just trying to retrieve his hat which had blown off.

Years later when the Libby plant burned, they found a U.S. Army rifle issued to a soldier who was a guard. It was reported missing, and suspected hidden by a prisoner.

A new community center, named Five Points Washington, opened in October 2007. The facility houses the Washington Public Library, a performing arts center, swimming pools, fitness center, and banquet center.[7]

A new assisted living center for seniors was opened in early 2008, across the street from the Washington Christian Village.

2013 tornado

An EF4 tornado, part of the tornado outbreak of November 17, 2013, entered Washington from the southwest in East Peoria. Three people were killed, one during the storm and two others later from injuries, including a United States Army veteran.[8][9] The tornado then destroyed the Georgetown Common apartment complex, including ripping second floors off most of the 16 apartment buildings. Hundreds of homes were destroyed as the tornado moved through town before finally exiting on the north side.[10]


Washington is located at 40°42′N 89°25′W (40.7039, -89.4206).[11] According to the 2010 census, Washington has a total area of 8.182 square miles (21.19 km2), of which 8.17 square miles (21.16 km2) (or 99.85%) is land and 0.012 square miles (0.03 km2) (or 0.15%) is water.[12]


Washington has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa), with cold, snowy winters, and hot, humid summers. Monthly daily mean temperatures range from 22.5 °F (−5.3 °C) to 75.2 °F (24.0 °C). Snowfall is common in the winter, averaging 26.3 inches (67 cm), but this figure varies considerably for different years. Precipitation, averaging at 36 inches (914 mm), peaks in the spring and summer, and is the least in winter. Extremes have ranged from −27 °F (−33 °C) in January 1884 to 113 °F (45 °C) in July 1936.


District 308 is Washington Community High School and has 1359 students in attendance as of August 2017.[13] District 308 contains four elementary public school districts: District 50 (John L. Hensey and Beverly Manor), 51 (Central), and 52 (which consists of Lincoln Grade and Washington Middle school) as well as St. Patrick's Catholic Grade School.


U.S. Route 24 runs east-west outside of Washington. Business U.S. 24 runs through the downtown square of Washington.


Historical population
Est. 201816,704[2]10.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[14]

As of the census[15] of 2000, there were 10,841 people, 4,189 households, and 3,091 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,450.0 people per square mile (559.6/km²). There were 4,403 housing units at an average density of 588.9 per square mile (227.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.36% White, 0.26% African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.42% Asian, 0.26% from other races, and 0.62% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.67% of the population.

There were 4,189 households out of which 35.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.8% were married couples living together, 7.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.2% were non-families. 22.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the city, the population was spread out with 26.0% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 23.3% from 45 to 64, and 13.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $71,702,[16] and the median income for a family was $61,184. Males had a median income of $64,388 versus $43,460 for females.[17] The per capita income for the city was $24,231. About 2.8% of families and 4.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.5% of those under age 18 and 3.5% of those age 65 or over.


As of 2000, 66.8% of people aged 16 and over were employed in the civilian labor force, 2.8% were "unemployed" in the civilian work force, 0.1% were in the armed forces, and 30.3% were not in the labor force. Average travel time to work for Washington residents was 21.5 min.[18]

The Washington Chamber of Commerce lists the following information about employers:[19]

Employment by occupation category
Management and professional38.3%
Sales and office27.5%
Farming, fishing, and forestry0.1%
Construction, extraction, and maintenance8.1%
Production, transportation, and material moving12.8%
Employers - Manufacturers and distributor
Company nameBusiness typeApprox.
Illinois Valley Plasticsmolded components100
BTD Manufacturingmetal fabrication70
American Allied Railway Equipmentrail wheels and brakes66
WICC, Ltd.electrical components41
RP Short Runprinting and graphics36
Global Fire Equipment/MESfire trucks, apparatus36
Akron Brassfire fighting equipment26
Employers - Retailers
Company nameBusiness typeApprox.
Wal-Mart Supercentergeneral merchandise340
Uftring Chevrolet-Saabautomobile sales and service105
Lindy's Downtown Marketgrocer54
Employers - Services and institutions
OrganizationBusiness typeApprox.
Washington school districts (combined)education425
Washington Christian Villageelderly care125
City of Washingtonlocal government80
Washington Park Districtparks and recreation entity76


  • Beverly Manor Middle School (District 50)
  • Central Primary School (District 51)
  • Central Intermediate School (District 51)
  • John L. Hensey Elementary School (District 50)
  • Lincoln Grade School (District 52)
  • Washington Middle School (District 52)
  • Washington Community High School District 308
  • St. Patrick School (Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria)

Tazewell County has a joint special education service, the Tazewell-Mason Counties Special Education Association (TMCSEA).[20]

Annual events

  • Good Neighbor Days, previously called the Cherry Festival.
  • Memorial Day Parade
  • Take Pride in Washington Day
  • Veterans Day Parade

Notable people

See also


  1. "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jun 30, 2017.
  2. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  3. "Washington (City) QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau". census.gov.
  4. Callary, Edward. 2009. Place Names of Illinois. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, p. 366.
  5. "George Heyl". historicillinois.com.
  6. Fulton County Tourism Archived 2007-09-15 at the Wayback Machine
  7. "Home - Five Points Washington". Five Points Washington.
  8. WLS-TV (November 18, 2013). "Washington IL tornado ranked as EF-4; victim ID'd". abclocal.go.com. Retrieved 2013-11-25.
  9. Steve Stein (January 5, 2014). "Army vet injured in tornado dies". pjstar.com. Retrieved 2014-01-20.
  10. "Tornado in Washington claims one life, injures dozens". PJStar.com. Peoria, Illinois: GateHouse Media. Retrieved 2013-11-25. (Warning: Site uses popup ads.)
  11. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  12. "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  13. "School Profile - WCHS #308". Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  14. "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  15. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  16. "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Washington city, Illinois; Illinois". Census Bureau QuickFacts.
  17. "Washington, IL". datausa.io.
  18. "DP-3. Profile of Selected Economic Characteristics: 2000: Washington city, Illinois". American FactFinder. United States Census. Retrieved 2008-07-24.
  19. "Washington Community Profile". Washington Chamber of Commerce. 2008-02-15. Retrieved 2008-07-24.
  20. "Tazewell-Mason Counties Special Education Association". Pekin, Illinois: Tazewell-Mason Counties Special Education Association. Retrieved 2016-10-05.
  21. "GPSHOF Inductee Mark Dennis". gpshof.org.
  22. "Doug Lee Stats - Basketball-Reference.com". Basketball-Reference.com.
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