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Seneca, Illinois
Business district in Seneca
Business district in Seneca
Location of Seneca in Grundy County, Illinois.
Location of Seneca in Grundy County, Illinois.
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Country United States
State Illinois
Counties LaSalle, Grundy
Townships Manlius, Brookfield, Erienna, Norman
 • Total 6.58 sq mi (17.03 km2)
 • Land 6.21 sq mi (16.08 km2)
 • Water 0.37 sq mi (0.95 km2)
503 ft (153 m)
 • Total 2,353
 • Density 378.97/sq mi (146.31/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Code(s)
Area code(s) 815
FIPS code 17-68640
Wikimedia Commons Seneca, Illinois

Seneca is a village in LaSalle and Grundy counties in the U.S. state of Illinois. The population was 2,371 at the 2010 census.

The LaSalle County portion of Seneca is part of the Ottawa Micropolitan Statistical Area, while the small portion that lies in Grundy County is part of the ChicagoNapervilleJoliet Metropolitan Statistical Area.


A French missionary by the name of Father Gabriel de la Ribourde brought Catholicism to the Seneca area 175 years before St. Patrick’s Parish was founded. In 1680, he was traveling with an exploratory party from Quebec when he was ambushed and killed by a band of Kickapoo Indians. A wooden cross marks the spot where Illinois’ first martyr to the Catholic faith is believed to have died (which is located next to St. Patricks Catholic Church). Seneca was first settled by Jeremiah Crotty, an entrepreneur and contractor who helped build the Illinois and Michigan Canal. Crotty built the first residence in 1850 and established the town in 1854 with a post office in his name. Residents retained the name Crotty Town until 1957, when they incorporated the town as Seneca. Before 1957 Seneca was known as Crotty in paper but known locally as Seneca.


Seneca is located at 41°18′40″N 88°36′35″W / 41.31111°N 88.60972°W / 41.31111; -88.60972 (41.3111442, -88.6097936).

According to the 2010 census, Seneca has a total area of 7.058 square miles (18.28 km2), of which 6.63 square miles (17.17 km2) (or 93.94%) is land and 0.428 square miles (1.11 km2) (or 6.06%) is water.

Most of the village lies in LaSalle County, although a small portion extends into west central Grundy County. In the 2000 census, all of Seneca's 2,082 residents lived in LaSalle County. According to 2006 population estimates, 2,082 of the village's 2,087 residents (99.8%) lived in LaSalle County and 5 (0.2%) lived in Grundy County.

Seneca is located on the Illinois River, which connects Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 738
1890 1,190 61.2%
1900 1,036 −12.9%
1910 1,005 −3.0%
1920 994 −1.1%
1930 1,185 19.2%
1940 1,235 4.2%
1950 1,435 16.2%
1960 1,719 19.8%
1970 1,781 3.6%
1980 2,098 17.8%
1990 1,878 −10.5%
2000 2,053 9.3%
2010 2,371 15.5%
2020 2,353 −0.8%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 2,053 people, 744 households, and 569 families residing in the village. The population density was 620.7 people per square mile (239.5/km2). There were 786 housing units at an average density of 237.6 per square mile (91.7/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 98.59% White, 0.05% Native American, 0.05% Asian, 0.88% from other races, and 0.44% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.46% of the population.

There were 744 households, out of which 40.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.3% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.4% were non-families. 20.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.76 and the average family size was 3.22.

In the village, the population was spread out, with 30.7% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 28.4% from 25 to 44, 22.5% from 45 to 64, and 11.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.1 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $52,188, and the median income for a family was $57,552. Males had a median income of $42,431 versus $24,438 for females. The per capita income for the village was $19,273. About 6.2% of families and 7.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.8% of those under age 18 and 5.8% of those age 65 or over.


Seneca is located on the Illinois River, which connects the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan. Seneca hosts three marinas on the south side of the Illinois River, as well as a public boat launch on the north side of the Illinois River. Seneca is rich with history with the Illinois and Michigan Canal running through the center of the city's downtown area. The business community continues to change as the small businesses and merchants unite to improve the existing business community and attract new businesses.

The Village has recently developed The Seneca Business Association which has united more than 100 businesses in the village. The goal of the association is to promote local shopping as well as downtown revitalization. The association has already developed a business directory and coordinated a number of fundraisers for local non-profit agencies.

Seneca participates in the Mapping & Visioning for your Community project. The group of local volunteers establish goals community improvement goals and enlists the help of a VISTA Volunteer to accomplish the goals. The group also hopes to apply for grants to better the community.


Every year at the end of July or the beginning of August, Seneca hosts Seneca Prairie Shipyard Days during which a carnival comes to town and a fireworks display is presented. Some people call this "Summer Fest" or "Seneca Fun Days". The fest was originally called Seneca Prairie Shipyard Festival in honor of the LSTs (also known as Landing Ship, Tank), built in Seneca during World War II. The Seneca Prairie Shipyard Days has made many improvements including adding a "Cruise Night" to the festival where Illinois Route 170 (Main Street) is closed in the downtown for a display of antique cars, trucks, motorcycles, and tractors. The festival committee has recently changed the festival name to "Seneca Prairie Shipyard Days" to reflect the historical significance of their village as well as have respect for their past. Everyone also enjoys dancing to a live band at the beer garden and the food of local venues.

Notable people

  • Dave Callahan, outfielder with the Cleveland Naps, born in Seneca
  • John Tracy Ellis, Catholic church historian, born in Seneca
  • Father Gabriel de la Ribourde, Spiritual leader of Cavelier de La Salle's expeditionary party. Slain by Kickapoo Indians, September 19, 1680. A wooden cross marks the spot where America’s first martyr for the Catholic faith is believed to have died (which is located next to St. Patrick's Catholic Church).

See also

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

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