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Grand Tower
Grand Tower, Illinois, Front Street.jpg
Grand Tower, Illinois, Front Street
Country United States
State Illinois
County Jackson
Coordinates 37°37′57″N 89°30′7″W / 37.63250°N 89.50194°W / 37.63250; -89.50194
Area 1.25 sq mi (3 km²)
 - land 1.25 sq mi (3 km²)
 - water 0.00 sq mi (0 km²)
Population 624 (2000)
Density 496.0 /sq mi (192 /km²)
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code 62942
Area code 618

Grand Tower is a city in Jackson County, Illinois, United States. The population was 624 at the 2000 census. The town gets its name from Tower Rock, a landmark island in the Mississippi River.


Grand Tower is located at 37°37′57″N 89°30′7″W / 37.63250°N 89.50194°W / 37.63250; -89.50194 (37.632599, -89.501944).

According to the 2010 census, Grand Tower has a total area of 1.253 square miles (3.25 km2), of which 1.25 square miles (3.24 km2) (or 99.76%) is land and 0.003 square miles (0.01 km2) (or 0.24%) is water.

Grand Tower Pipeline Bridge, view from Illinois highway 166
Grand Tower Natural Gas Pipeline Bridge

Immediately to the south of the city is a small portion of Perry County, Missouri, which is known as "Grand Tower Island". The island's sole road connection terminates in Grand Tower. The Grand Tower Pipeline Bridge connects a natural gas pipeline across the Mississippi River between Wittenberg, Missouri and Grand Tower.


Former names of this town include La Tour ("The Tower"), Jenkins Landing, Cochran's Woodyard Landing, and Evans' Landing.

The earliest inhabitants were a band of river pirates, who settled here after, being driven off of Spanish soil, west of the Mississippi River, near the pirate ambush spot of Tower Rock. This outlaw settlement was destroyed by the United States Army dragoons in 1803. A subsequent settler was a man named Walker who is the namesake of Walker Hill. Severe flooding struck the town in 1947.


Grand Tower, Illinois, Devil's Backbone Park sign
Tower, Illinois, Devil's Backbone Park sign

Shawnee Elementary School, North - Once a public school, now a private residence as of 2016. A local post office with zip code 62942 provides mail service. Three churches, the First United Presbyterian Church, the Grand Tower United Methodist Church, and Light House Christian Assembly Church offer religious services. A work of levees protects the community from flooding when the Mississippi River water levels rise. The Devil's Backbone Park, named after a limestone ridge which created a natural bottleneck in the Mississippi River, provided easy opportunity for river pirates to attack keelboats and barges. This park provides RV camping, playgrounds, picnic facilities, and a shower house.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 966
1890 624 −35.4%
1900 881 41.2%
1910 873 −0.9%
1920 750 −14.1%
1930 953 27.1%
1940 1,043 9.4%
1950 963 −7.7%
1960 847 −12.0%
1970 664 −21.6%
1980 748 12.7%
1990 775 3.6%
2000 624 −19.5%
2010 605 −3.0%
2015 (est.) 588 −2.8%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 624 people, 268 households, and 169 families residing in the city. The population density was 496.0 people per square mile (191.2/km²). There were 309 housing units at an average density of 245.6 per square mile (94.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.24% White, 0.16% African American, 0.32% Native American, 0.64% from other races, and 0.64% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.96% of the population.

There were 268 households out of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.3% were married couples living together, 8.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.9% were non-families. 33.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the city, the population was spread out with 26.1% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and 15.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 95.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,135, and the median income for a family was $40,000. Males had a median income of $34,375 versus $23,750 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,525. About 11.3% of families and 20.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.4% of those under age 18 and 16.1% of those age 65 or over.

Popular Culture

  • The book written by Richard Peck A River Between Us was set in Grand Tower.


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