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Cobden, Illinois facts for kids

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South Pass
Village of Cobden, Illinois
Downtown Cobden
Downtown Cobden
Location of Cobden in Union County, Illinois.
Location of Cobden in Union County, Illinois.
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Country United States
State Illinois
County Union
Named for Richard Cobden
 • Total 1.23 sq mi (3.18 km2)
 • Land 1.22 sq mi (3.16 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.02 km2)
 • Total 1,074
 • Density 880.33/sq mi (339.97/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Code(s)
Area code(s) 618
FIPS code 17-15300
Wikimedia Commons Cobden, Illinois

Cobden is a village in Union County, Illinois, United States, within the Southern Illinois region informally known as "Little Egypt.” The population as of the 2020 census is 1,034, a decline of 10.63% since the 2010 census. Cobden is regionally known for the mascot of its public school district, Cobden Unit School District #17, called the "Appleknockers,” which has been voted as one of the most unique high school mascots in the country by numerous publications. The area around Cobden is widely known for its many wineries and orchards, most notably Flamm Orchards, which is just north of town, and Rendleman Orchard in nearby Alto Pass, Illinois.


The village is named after British politician and free-trade advocate Richard Cobden, who visited the town in 1859. Cobden originated as a farming community (South Pass) known for its apples and peaches. The Illinois Central Railroad (now the Canadian National Railroad) still runs through the center of downtown, but once was Cobden's focal point. Cobden's innovative and industrious growers developed packing crates and techniques that kept fruit fresh and undamaged on its freightways to eastern and northern markets. A packaging industry thrived here for decades, and local orchards still thrive. Cobden is host to an annual fall Peach Festival to this day. Today's Cobden is diverse with growers, vineyards, artists, musicians, and shopkeepers leading the old town into a rebirth. A significant number of formerly Mexican citizens, who came here to work the orchards, have become an integral part of the social fabric of the community.


Cobden is located at 37°32′2″N 89°15′19″W / 37.53389°N 89.25528°W / 37.53389; -89.25528 (37.533949, -89.255409).

According to the 2010 census, Cobden has a total area of 1.229 square miles (3.18 km2), of which 1.22 square miles (3.16 km2) (or 99.27%) is land and 0.009 square miles (0.02 km2) (or 0.73%) is water.

Cobden is located near the crest of the Shawnee Hills. It is in "Cobden Col", a valley cut into rock by water near the summit of this ancient mountain range. How could water cut a canyon at the top of a mountain range? About 100,000 years ago, the Illinoian ice sheet covered almost all of Illinois. As it pushed south, the ice sheet climbed the Shawnee Mountains. The height of the ice sheet was much greater than that of the mountains. It stopped before it reached their summits. As it melted, a lake formed between the mountains and the glacier. Cobden Col was the outlet of this lake.


Cobden's claim to fame is its unique mascot, an Appleknocker, or a man with freckles wearing overalls, a flannel shirt, a straw hat, and chewing on a piece of straw. This nickname originated when the high school first began to compete in athletics. It did not yet have a mascot, so other schools made up this derogatory term to insult the new school because of their large industry in peach and apple orchards. However, when Cobden High School played for and lost the state basketball championship in 1964, this mascot became the pride of Cobden and Southern Illinois, showing the world what a small town could really do.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 800
1890 994 24.3%
1900 1,034 4.0%
1910 988 −4.4%
1920 944 −4.5%
1930 1,036 9.7%
1940 1,098 6.0%
1950 1,104 0.5%
1960 918 −16.8%
1970 1,114 21.4%
1980 1,210 8.6%
1990 1,090 −9.9%
2000 1,116 2.4%
2010 1,157 3.7%
2020 1,074 −7.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 1,116 people, 421 households, and 276 families residing in the village. The population density was 908.6 people per square mile (350.3/km2). There were 457 housing units at an average density of 372.1 per square mile (143.5/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 90.68% White, 1.43% African American, 0.63% Native American, 5.73% from other races, and 1.52% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.90% of the population.

There were 421 households, out of which 30.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.9% were married couples living together, 12.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.4% were non-traditional families. 30.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.16.

In the village, the population was spread out, with 25.2% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 23.8% from 25 to 44, 25.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 83.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.1 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $26,364, and the median income for a family was $32,500. Males had a median income of $25,938 versus $19,423 for females. The per capita income for the village was $13,978. About 13.7% of families and 22.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.5% of those under age 18 and 14.7% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people

  • Mary Tracy Earle (1864-1955), author

See also

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