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Monticello, Illinois facts for kids

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City of Monticello
Piatt County Courthouse
"Yesterday's Charm, Tomorrow's Innovation"
Location of Monticello in Piatt County, Illinois.
Location of Monticello in Piatt County, Illinois.
City of Monticello is located in Illinois
City of Monticello
City of Monticello
Location in Illinois
City of Monticello is located in the United States
City of Monticello
City of Monticello
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  Illinois
County Piatt
Townships Monticello, Sangamon
 • Total 3.89 sq mi (10.08 km2)
 • Land 3.85 sq mi (9.98 km2)
 • Water 0.04 sq mi (0.10 km2)
660 ft (200 m)
 • Total 5,941
 • Density 1,542.32/sq mi (595.50/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 217
FIPS code 17-50244

Monticello ( MON-tih-SEL-oh) is a city in Piatt County, Illinois, United States. The population was 5,941 at the 2020 census. It is the county seat of Piatt County.


Monticello is located at 40°1′41″N 88°34′23″W / 40.02806°N 88.57306°W / 40.02806; -88.57306 (40.028092, -88.573003).

According to the 2010 census, Monticello has a total area of 3.829 square miles (9.92 km2), of which 3.8 square miles (9.84 km2) (or 99.24%) is land and 0.029 square miles (0.08 km2) (or 0.76%) is water.

Monticello is located in East Central Illinois between the cities of Decatur and Champaign, Illinois.

Monticello is nearly equidistant from Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis.


Robert Allerton Park, which belongs to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and includes a conference center, a garden, summer camp location, and forest art museum, is located just outside Monticello.


Monticello Illinois Post Office
Monticello Post Office

Monticello's first resident was George Haworth. Haworth came to the area in 1822 to serve as a U.S. liaison agent to local Native American tribes. Haworth did not remain, but in 1829, James A. Piatt purchased Haworth's small log cabin. Soon more settlers arrived.

In 1837, residents decided to form a new town. Abraham Marquiss, William Barnes, James McReynolds, and James A. Piatt Jr. formed a joint stock company and purchased land from James A. Piatt. Upon McReynold's suggestion, the town was christened Monticello – after the home of Thomas Jefferson. Monticello officially became a town on July 1, 1837. Townsfolk held a celebration on July 4.

The first house in the new town was built by a Mr. Cass who used the building as his home and a grocery store. The second house was a log cabin built by John Tenbrooke. In 1839, Nicholas DeVore built the "Old Fort" which was later used as a hotel. Monticello continued to grow as the population increased over the next decade.

The citizens of Monticello were unhappy with the distance required to travel to the county seat for their legal issues. Due to the petitions of George Patterson and others, a new county was established on Jan 27 1841: Piatt County – named in honor the first permanent settler, James A. Piatt. As it was the only town in the area at that time, Monticello was named the county seat. The county began legal functions on April 5, 1841 in the "Old Fort." In 1843, the first courthouse was built on land donated by William H. Piatt.

Monticello's star resident arrived in 1885. Dr. William B. Caldwell came to practice medicine in Monticello but his homemade mixture of senna and pepsin brought Monticello to a level of national prominence. The Pepsin Syrup Company was founded in 1893, and became the leading employer in the city for decades until its closure in 1985. The building in which it operated has since been demolished. The site is now used as an unofficial soccer practice field.

Bottle of the Syrup Pepsin Company. It reads Monticello, Illinois on the left side.

In 1987 the 150th birthday of the town was celebrated with an open air reenactment and other festivities.

The Potawatomi Trail of Death passed through here in 1838.

In a 2012 episode of the Comedy Central program The Daily Show, host Jon Stewart used the town in a joke segment, referring to it as Dogshit Bluffs.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 163
1860 577 254.0%
1870 871 51.0%
1880 1,337 53.5%
1890 1,643 22.9%
1900 1,982 20.6%
1910 1,981 −0.1%
1920 2,280 15.1%
1930 2,378 4.3%
1940 2,523 6.1%
1950 2,612 3.5%
1960 3,219 23.2%
1970 4,130 28.3%
1980 4,753 15.1%
1990 4,549 −4.3%
2000 5,138 12.9%
2010 5,548 8.0%
2020 5,941 7.1%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 5,138 people, 2,146 households, and 1,446 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,724.7 people per square mile (665.7/km2). There were 2,226 housing units at an average density of 747.2 per square mile (288.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 99.01% White, 0.08% African American, 0.14% Native American, 0.14% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.08% from other races, and 0.54% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.80% of the population.

There were 2,146 households, out of which 29.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.4% were married couples living together, 6.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.6% were non-families. 29.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.91. Also home to Kirby Hospital. In the city, the population was spread out, with 23.4% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 24.3% from 45 to 64, and 19.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $45,754, and the median income for a family was $57,287. Males had a median income of $41,074 versus $24,130 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,257. About 2.3% of families and 3.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.6% of those under age 18 and 7.5% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Monticello (Illinois) para niños

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