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Pawnee, Illinois facts for kids

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Location of Pawnee in Sangamon County, Illinois.
Location of Pawnee in Sangamon County, Illinois.
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Country United States
State Illinois
County Sangamon
 • Total 1.33 sq mi (3.45 km2)
 • Land 1.33 sq mi (3.45 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
603 ft (184 m)
 • Total 2,678
 • Density 2,010.51/sq mi (776.33/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Code(s)
Area code(s) 217
FIPS code 17-58174
Wikimedia Commons Pawnee, Illinois

Pawnee is a village in Sangamon County, Illinois, United States. Its population was 2,739 at the 2010 census, and 2,651 at a 2018 estimate. It is part of the Springfield, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Pawnee was founded, by virtue of getting a Post Office, in 1854. Originally the community was called 'Horse Creek', which was an improvement from the nearby 'Dead Horse Creek' (where a dead horse was found in the creek Southwest of town), but the petition for a Post Office sent to the postmaster in Springfield, Illinois, was denied under that name. 'Pawnee' was suggested on the grounds that it was fashionably Native American for the time. Justus Henkle was the first settler in the township, and he came to the area in 1818.

Abraham Lincoln used to travel through Pawnee en route to Springfield, Illinois via the Black Diamond Road on the SE side of town, and sometimes the Pawnee Road on the SW side. The Black Diamond Road appears to have been so named based on a nearby coal mine of the same name.


Pawnee boasts Illinois' first poet laureate, Howard B. Austin, as its adopted son. Austin was awarded this title in 1936 by Governor Henry Horner. He was born July 27, 1886 on the family farm near Blue Mound, Illinois. He died April 1, 1962 at his home in Springfield, Illinois. Austin performed with the Pawnee Four, a barbershop quartet known in central Illinois. Austin wrote songs for the quartet to perform at conventions, fairs and private celebrations. While living in Pawnee, Austin worked at the Consolidated State Bank.

Austin was known to compose song lyrics quickly, often during the event at which the Pawnee Four were to perform. Austin would hold out a sheet of paper with the lyrics and the quartet would fall into harmonies on his lead. Often his songs were not only composed immediately prior to their performances, but they were frequently about the previous speakers or performers. This contributed to his reputation as a witty and clever poet. Carl Sandburg followed Austin as Illinois next poet laureate.

Pawnee was also the home of Frank Hart, founding member of the band known as Atomic Opera. Frank grew up in Pawnee although he was born in Springfield, Illinois.


Pawnee is located at 39°35′31″N 89°34′55″W / 39.59194°N 89.58194°W / 39.59194; -89.58194 (39.592050, -89.582012).

According to the 2010 census, Pawnee has a total area of 1.26 square miles (3.26 km2), all land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 192
1900 595
1910 1,399 135.1%
1920 1,200 −14.2%
1930 959 −20.1%
1940 1,006 4.9%
1950 974 −3.2%
1960 1,517 55.7%
1970 1,936 27.6%
1980 2,577 33.1%
1990 2,384 −7.5%
2000 2,647 11.0%
2010 2,739 3.5%
2020 2,678 −2.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

At the 2000 census there were 2,647 people, 1,028 households, and 747 families in the village. The population density was 2,221.0 people per square mile (858.8/km2). There were 1,086 housing units at an average density of 911.2 per square mile (352.4/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 98.83% White, 0.15% African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.19% Asian, 0.04% from other races, and 0.68% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.30%.

Of the 1,028 households 40.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.0% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.3% were non-families. 23.4% of households were one person and 12.5% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.06.

The age distribution was 28.1% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 31.8% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% 65 or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.6 males.

The median household income was $50,787 and the median family income was $54,736. Males had a median income of $37,171 versus $26,304 for females. The per capita income for the village was $21,599. About 5.9% of families and 6.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.6% of those under age 18 and 8.5% of those age 65 or over.

In popular culture

Pawnee is loosely represented in the video game Watch Dogs, though the geographic position is quite different. Due to contiguous map size constraints in the open-world game, Pawnee is shown to be relatively close to Chicago; however, it is actually located nearer to the center of Illinois, far from Chicago.

Black History Month on Kiddle
Famous African-American Architects:
Georgia Louise Harris Brown
Julian Abele
Norma Merrick Sklarek
William Sidney Pittman
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