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Beardstown, Illinois facts for kids

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The Beardstown Grand Opera House, a site on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Beardstown Grand Opera House, a site on the National Register of Historic Places.
Location of Beardstown in Cass County, Illinois.
Location of Beardstown in Cass County, Illinois.
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Country United States
State Illinois
County Cass
 • Total 3.65 sq mi (9.45 km2)
 • Land 3.62 sq mi (9.37 km2)
 • Water 0.03 sq mi (0.07 km2)
443 ft (135 m)
 • Total 5,951
 • Density 1,644.38/sq mi (634.85/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Code(s)
Area code(s) 217
FIPS code 17-04351
Wikimedia Commons Beardstown, Illinois

Beardstown is a city in Cass County, Illinois, United States. The population was 5,951 at the 2020 census. The public schools are in Beardstown Community Unit School District 15.


Beardstown is located at 40°0′44″N 90°25′43″W / 40.01222°N 90.42861°W / 40.01222; -90.42861 (40.012189, -90.428711) on the Illinois River.

According to the 2010 census, Beardstown has a total area of 3.627 square miles (9.39 km2), of which 3.57 square miles (9.25 km2) (or 98.43%) is land and 0.057 square miles (0.15 km2) (or 1.57%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 2,528
1880 3,135 24.0%
1890 4,226 34.8%
1900 4,827 14.2%
1910 6,107 26.5%
1920 7,111 16.4%
1930 6,344 −10.8%
1940 6,505 2.5%
1950 6,080 −6.5%
1960 6,294 3.5%
1970 6,222 −1.1%
1980 6,338 1.9%
1990 5,270 −16.9%
2000 5,766 9.4%
2010 6,123 6.2%
2020 5,951 −2.8%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 5,766 people, 2,172 households, and 1,437 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,692.1 people per square mile (652.9/km2). There were 2,339 housing units at an average density of 686.4 per square mile (264.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.76% White, 0.87% African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.33% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 7.01% from other races, and 0.76% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.90% of the population.

There were 2,172 households, out of which 32.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.1% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.8% were non-families. 28.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 26.1% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 29.2% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,104, and the median income for a family was $31,951. Males had a median income of $25,481 versus $20,054 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,777. About 17.0% of families and 19.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.7% of those under age 18 and 8.1% of those age 65 or over.


Beardstown was first settled by Thomas Beard in 1819; he erected a log cabin at the edge of the Illinois River, from which he traded with the local Native Americans and ran a ferry. The town was laid out in 1827 and was incorporated as a city in 1896. During the Black Hawk War in 1832, it was a base of supplies for the Illinois troops.

The town is also the site of famous Lincoln/Douglas debate at the Beardstown Courthouse. A Lincoln Museum is on the second floor of the courthouse along with many Native American relics.

The Beardstown Ladies

From 1984 to 1993, a group of 16 late-aged women were picking stocks in the Dow Jones and over the course of nine years were claiming returning of 23.4% on their stocks. Once they went public with the amazing returns, they gained national recognition for their success. The Beardstown Ladies, with an average age of 70 (1994), were asked to appear on The Donahue Show, CBS's Morning Show, NBC's The Today Show, and ABC's Good Morning America. For six straight years they were honored by the National Association of Investors Corp's "All-Star Investment Clubs". In 1993, they produced their first home video for investors called, The Beardstown Ladies: Cooking Up Profits on Wall Street. By 1994, they wrote their first book, The Beardstown Ladies' Common-Sense Investment Guide, which sold over 800,000 copies by 1998 and was a New York Times Best Seller. The Beardstown Ladies become a global phenomenon and TV stations from Germany, Brazil, and Japan were interviewing them and taping their monthly meetings in Beardstown. The seeds of scandal were planted in late 1998: a Chicago magazine noticed that the group's returns included the fees the women paid every month. Without them, the returns dwindled to just 9%, underperforming the Dow. An article in the Wall Street Journal led the ladies to hire an outside auditor, which proved they had indeed misstated their returns. Time magazine jokingly stated that they should be jailed for fraud and misrepresentation. As of 2006, the Beardstown Ladies were still buying stocks. Their books can be bought from for mere pennies.


Beardstown is located on the Illinois River, which plays an important role in the economy and history of the community, and is the site of two grain terminals where farm products are transferred to barges for transport. Hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation along the river contribute to the local economy.

A large pork slaughterhouse, formerly owned by Kraft and Cargill now by JBS, is a major employer and has attracted a substantial immigrant population to Beardstown in recent years.

Notable people

  • Frank McErlane spent his last years here
  • Walter Flanigan, co-founder of National Football League, born in Beardstown.
  • Richard Henry Mills, (born 1929) Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois (1985–1997). He was born in Beardstown.
  • Red Norvo, jazz vibraphone pioneer, born in Beardstown.
  • Janice O'Hara, All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player, born in Beardstown.
  • Jesse Wallace, United States Navy Captain and the 27th unique Governor of American Samoa, born in Beardstown.
  • Glen Seator (1956—2002), visual artist and architectural sculptor.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Beardstown para niños

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