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Sullivan, Illinois facts for kids

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South side of courthouse square in Sullivan
South side of courthouse square in Sullivan
"More Than Just a Small Town”
Location of Sullivan in Moultrie County, Illinois.
Location of Sullivan in Moultrie County, Illinois.
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Country  United States
State  Illinois
County Moultrie
Township Sullivan
Founded 1845
Named for Sullivan's Island, Charleston Harbor, South Carolina
 • Total 2.78 sq mi (7.19 km2)
 • Land 2.77 sq mi (7.17 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.02 km2)
673 ft (205 m)
 • Total 4,413
 • Density 1,593.72/sq mi (615.44/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Code(s)
Area code(s) 217
FIPS code 17-73495
Wikimedia Commons Sullivan, Illinois

Sullivan is a city in Moultrie County, Illinois, United States. The population was 4,413 at the time of the 2020 census. It is the county seat and largest city of Moultrie County. Sullivan is named after Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, where Fort Moultrie is located.


Sullivan is located at 39°35′54″N 88°36′36″W / 39.59833°N 88.61000°W / 39.59833; -88.61000 (39.598270, -88.610038).

According to the 2010 census, the city has a total area of 2.68 square miles (6.9 km2), all land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 528
1870 742 40.5%
1880 1,305 75.9%
1890 1,468 12.5%
1900 2,399 63.4%
1910 2,621 9.3%
1920 2,532 −3.4%
1930 2,339 −7.6%
1940 3,101 32.6%
1950 3,470 11.9%
1960 3,946 13.7%
1970 4,112 4.2%
1980 4,526 10.1%
1990 4,354 −3.8%
2000 4,326 −0.6%
2010 4,440 2.6%
2020 4,413 −0.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 4,326 people, 1,820 households, and 1,188 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,121.5 people per square mile (818.8/km2). There were 1,945 housing units at an average density of 953.8 per square mile (368.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.68% White, 0.30% African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.16% Asian, 0.09% from other races, and 0.65% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.39% of the population.

There were 1,820 households, out of which 28.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.8% were married couples living together, 10.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.7% were non-families. 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.84.

In the city the population was spread out, with 22.8% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 25.9% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 21.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 84.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,197, and the median income for a family was $41,894. Males had a median income of $31,754 versus $20,631 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,693. About 5.4% of families and 8.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.3% of those under age 18 and 8.9% of those age 65 or over.

History and points of interest

Sullivan Courthouse
The Moultrie County Courthouse in Sullivan


Sullivan was founded in 1845. Two years after Sullivan was founded, the first official courthouse of the county was built. It was a simple two-story brick building with a hipped roof. Abraham Lincoln passed through this first court house many times as he practiced law in the Moultrie County circuit court.

When Lincoln was campaigning for senate against Stephen Douglas, he gave a speech in Freeland's Grove (now Wyman Park) and there is a monument to his speech today.

The Little Theatre on the Square

Sullivan has a theatre known as one of the best places in central Illinois to see a professional live stage production. Actors such as Mickey Rooney, Vincent Price, Bob Crane, Jonathan Frid, Alan Alda, Margaret Truman, Dennis Weaver, Andy Devine, Michael Giberson, Ann Miller, Ben Affleck, Don Ameche, Betty Grable, Durward Kirby, John Carradine, Leonard Nimoy, Rosemary Prinz, Forrest Tucker, Don Ameche, George Chakaris, Stubby Kaye, and Ann B. Davis have done shows there. The theatre is a non-profit; it received $20,000 from President Obama's 2009 Economic Stimulus package, and in 2013 they received $23,200 from the Illinois Arts Council for general operating expenses.

Water system

A current water safety report<> provides information about the safety of municipal water.

Ward Museum

The Ward Museum at Mason Point, a nursing home just east of Sullivan, displays a collection of items collected from around the world by the Ward family, including one of the largest collections of seashells in the nation. The Ward's collection went on display in 1948, and the collection has remained intact since then. It was featured on an episode of the TV show "Illinois Adventure." The museum was established by Abraham Lincoln "Link" Ward, a farmer, livestock dealer, and auctioneer, and his wife, Cora Anne (Hinterly) Ward. In addiitoin to seashells, the museum contains over 1,000 pieces of antique glassware, including 400 antique goblets. Frontier life items include wooden wheel clocks, circa 1830, copper-toed shoes, spinning wheels, and broad axes. The museum was established in 1948; Cora Ward died in 1967, and the executor of her estate burned the catalog compilation, so the origin of the over 5,000 items donated by the couple, who travelled widely, is unknown.

City budget, public debt, and Tax Increment Financing Districts

The City of Sullivan has three TIFs (Tax Increment Financing Districts)." TIF funds are reserved for areas that are "blighted" or in danger of becoming blighted. In 2010, the City of Sullivan issued $8.3 million in bonds by pledging previously unencumbered real estate increment generated annually by the City's three TIF districts. Recipients of TIF funds in 2013 were reported in the City of Sullivan's Resolution 13-E, which is available online. An auditor from West & Company, L.L.C. stated before the Sullivan City Council on January 28, 2013 that revenue that the City of Sullivan receives from the State of Illinois that is designated as TIF sales tax will be used to pay off these (Build America) bonds. The audit evaluated the City of Sullivan's current financial condition as "stable to sound," meaning that it is able to meet its obligations on a daily basis, but that it does not have much room for error in financial decisions. An auditor addressing the Sullivan City Council on January 7, 2014, noted that the City received its final quarterly TIF District 1 Sales Tax Payment from the State of Illinois, in June 2013; this means that the $400,000 to $500,000 in TIF funds that the Sullivan was receiving annually for TIF Funds will no longer be available for TIF projects, and now must go directly into the city's general fund.

Nixon rally and buffalo burger

Vice President Richard Nixon held a campaign rally during his unsuccessful 1960 Presidential bid. He discarded a half-eaten buffalo burger that was the product of the slaughter of buffalo owned by the City of Sullivan and housed at their street maintenance facility. The discarded burger was retrieved by Sullivan resident Steve Jenne, who preserved it. Jenne exhibited the burger on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" in 1988 and was a guest on the Game Show Network's "I've Got A Secret" in 2006.

Sullivan Redskins

Sullivan's High School sports teams have the name "Redskins."


Sullivan is home to Sullivan Community Unit School District 300 the sports teams have the nickname "Redskins."

The official school song is Northwestern University's "Go Northwestern," and the fight song is entitled "Hail Red and Black." The school fight song has lyrics written by a Sullivan High School alumnus, but the music was composed by Dr. Paul Van Buskirk Yoder, a notable composer, arranger, and band director of the twentieth century.

Notable people

  • Albert J. Beveridge, American historian and US senator
  • Steve Buxton, NFL football player
  • Gregory Cochran, physicist, anthropologist, and writer
  • William Granville Cochran, Illinois state judge and legislator
  • John R. Eden, attorney and U.S. Representative
  • Tiny Hill, bandleader
  • R. Eden Martin, American lawyer
  • Samuel W. Moulton, attorney and U.S. Representative
  • Gary Noffke, artist, raised in Sullivan
  • Harold Pogue, football player
  • Art Schwind, Major League Baseball player, 1912
  • William Irving Shuman, businessman and politician
  • Douglas Wilson, interior designer on Trading Spaces; former owner of Doug Wilson's Jibby's

See also

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

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Famous Hispanic aviators
Manuel J. Fernandez
Robert Cardenas
Richard G. Candelaria
Oscar F. Perdomo
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