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Mendota, Illinois
Sign leading into Mendota
Sign leading into Mendota
The World's Greatest Little City
Country United States
State Illinois
County LaSalle
Incorporated 1855
 • Type Mayor
 • Total 5.08 sq mi (13.16 km2)
 • Land 4.98 sq mi (12.90 km2)
 • Water 0.10 sq mi (0.26 km2)
741 ft (226 m)
 • Total 7,254
 • Density 1,457/sq mi (562/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code 815, 779

Mendota is a city in LaSalle County, Illinois, United States, in the state's north-central region. The population was 7,372 at the 2010 census, and was estimated to be 7,204 by July 2015. It is part of the Ottawa-Peru, IL Micropolitan Statistical Area. Mendota is located approximately 70 miles east of Moline and 55 miles south of Rockford. The current mayor is David W. Boelk, an independent elected to a four-year term.


Mendota is a name derived from a Native American word meaning "junction of two trails", which was found appropriate for the city since there was a nearby railroad junction.


Mendota is served by U.S Interstate 39, U.S. Route 34, U.S. Route 52, and many state highways including Illinois Route 251. Three Amtrak trains in each direction stop daily at the Mendota Amtrak station: the Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg between Chicago and Quincy, and the Southwest Chief from Chicago to Kansas City and Los Angeles. (The California Zephyr passes through without stopping.) There are also two small airports near-by.


Mendota is located at 41°32′58″N 89°7′6″W / 41.54944°N 89.11833°W / 41.54944; -89.11833 (41.549397, -89.118377).

According to the 2010 census, Mendota has a total area of 5.096 square miles (13.20 km2), of which 5 square miles (12.95 km2) (or 98.12%) is land and 0.096 square miles (0.25 km2) (or 1.88%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 1,934
1870 3,546 83.4%
1880 4,142 16.8%
1890 3,542 −14.5%
1900 3,736 5.5%
1910 3,806 1.9%
1920 3,934 3.4%
1930 4,008 1.9%
1940 4,215 5.2%
1950 5,129 21.7%
1960 6,154 20.0%
1970 6,902 12.2%
1980 7,134 3.4%
1990 7,018 −1.6%
2000 7,272 3.6%
2010 7,372 1.4%
Est. 2015 7,204 −2.3%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the 2010 census there were 7,372 people and 2,826 households residing in the city. The population density was 1,475.9 people per square mile (569.8/km²). There were 3,037 housing units at an average density of 607.4 per square mile (233.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.3% White, 0.7% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 8.5% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 24.5% of the population.

There were 2,826 households out of which 29.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.8% were married couples living together, 11% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.4% were non-families. 28.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.14.

The population consisted of 27.7% aged 19 or younger and 18% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.2 years. Females comprised 52.4% of the total population.

The median income for a household in the city was $43,534. The per capita income for the city was $21,995. Median income for males was $40,938 and $26,753 for females. 12.3% of the population were below poverty level, including 16.2% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.


The Mendota Sweet Corn Festival attracts thousands of visitors each August; it features a parade, carnival, beer garden with live bands, free sweet corn cooked in a vintage steam engine, and other special events. The city closes down several streets in the downtown area to host the annual event which is sponsored by Del Monte Foods. The Mendota Tri-County Fair is held every Labor Day weekend at the Mendota Fairgrounds. The fair hosts a carnival, beer garden, and several other events.

The city has two man made lakes, Lake Mendota and Lake Kakusha, used for boating and fishing. Mendota also maintains a community swimming pool as well as several parks including Snyders Grove, a 104-acre (0.42 km2) reserve/park.

Mendota has three museums:

  • The Hume-Carnegie Museum showcases artifacts of local history, including items manufactured in Mendota and a small collection pertaining to Wild Bill Hickok, who was born in nearby Troy Grove. It is located in a former Carnegie library building in Veteran's Park.
  • The Union Depot Railroad Museum houses the current Amtrak station, several rooms of vintage railroad artifacts, passenger train cars from the 1930s and 1940s. It is also home to CB&Q No. 4978, a 2-8-2 class Locomotive built in September 1923 by Baldwin Locomotive Works.
  • The Breaking the Prairie Museum is a small barn replica showcasing a rotating display with one large item (a vintage tractor or large item of farm husbandry) and several smaller items. Adjacent to the barn is "The Country Chapel", a small church which is owned by the museum. Completed in 2004, it houses a restored pump organ from the 1880s. It is closed to the public, however special tours can be arranged by contacting the Mendota Historical Society Office.

In popular culture

The Arctic Monkeys, an English rock band, filmed their music video "One For the Road" at the Tri-Country Fairgrounds in September, 2013.

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