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Tuscola, Illinois facts for kids

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Douglas County Courthouse in Tuscola
Douglas County Courthouse in Tuscola
"A Complete Community"
Location of Tuscola in Douglas County, Illinois.
Location of Tuscola in Douglas County, Illinois.
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Country  United States
State  Illinois
County Douglas
Township Tuscola
 • Total 2.96 sq mi (7.66 km2)
 • Land 2.95 sq mi (7.64 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)
650 ft (200 m)
 • Total 4,636
 • Density 1,572.06/sq mi (606.92/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Code(s)
Area code(s) 217
FIPS code 17-76407
Wikimedia Commons Tuscola, Illinois
Tuscola Illinois Post Office
Tuscola, Illinois, post office

Tuscola is a city in Douglas County, Illinois, United States. The population was 4,480 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Douglas County.


Tuscola is located at 39°47′52″N 88°16′54″W / 39.797682°N 88.281564°W / 39.797682; -88.281564 (39.797682, -88.281564).

According to the 2010 census, Tuscola has a total area of 2.747 square miles (7.11 km2), of which 2.74 square miles (7.10 km2) (or 99.75%) is land and 0.007 square miles (0.02 km2) (or 0.25%) is water.


The founding Supervisor of Tuscola township was O. C. Hackett, elected in 1868. Hackett was elected Supervisor with a majority of only one vote over W. B. Ervin. O. C. Hackett was the grandson of noted Kentucky frontiersman and Boonsborough resident Peter Hackett. O. C. planted Hackett's Grove, a sassafras grove situated on Section 31, Township 16, Range 9, on the east side of the township. This 20-acre (81,000 m2) grove is traversed by a branch of Scattering Fork of the Embarrass River, long known as Hackett's Run, and according to the History of Douglas County (1884), the grove had been owned by the Hacketts since long before Douglas County had an existence. O.C. Hackett's father, John Hackett, settled in nearby Coles County in 1835. Family legend holds that Abraham Lincoln stayed at the Hackett farm during the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858.

From the 1890s to the 1940s, Tuscola had a sizeable number of African-American citizens, including Arthur Anderson, the "most graceful walker" at the 1898 Colored Folks Cake Walk in Tuscola; his partner Cozy Chavous; the musician Cecil "Pete" Bridgewater, father of internationally known musicians Cecil Bridgewater and Ronnie Bridgewater; the educator and musician Ruth Calimese, daughter of automobile worker "Big Jim" Calimese; musician Solomon "Sol" Chavous; mail carrier and war veteran Bruce Hayden (father of distinguished violinist Bruce Hayden, Jr.); Lemuel and Nettie Riley; football star and garage owner Tommy Wright; and dozens of other people. Tuscola had two churches with mainly black congregations, the African Methodist Episcopal Church on North Niles, and the White Horse Riders church on Houghton Street. Unlike the neighboring town of Arcola, Tuscola did not have the ordinance, common in small Illinois towns at the time, that an African-American person could not be on the streets after sundown. The black and white people of Tuscola got along well. However, between 1922 and 1924 two large Ku Klux Klan gatherings were held in Tuscola. The 1924 rally consisted of nearly 2,000 Klan cars, a hundred marching Klansmen, burning crosses, and a naturalization ceremony in Tuscola's Ervin Park.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 1,457
1890 1,897 30.2%
1900 2,569 35.4%
1910 2,453 −4.5%
1920 2,564 4.5%
1930 2,569 0.2%
1940 2,838 10.5%
1950 2,960 4.3%
1960 3,875 30.9%
1970 3,917 1.1%
1980 3,839 −2.0%
1990 4,155 8.2%
2000 4,448 7.1%
2010 4,480 0.7%
2020 4,636 3.5%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 4,448 people, 1,885 households, and 1,261 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,084.9 people per square mile (806.3/km2). There were 2,000 housing units at an average density of 937.5 per square mile (362.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.11% White, 0.31% African American, 0.40% Native American, 0.52% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.20% from other races, and 0.43% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.06% of the population.

There were 1,885 households, out of which 30.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.1% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.1% were non-families. 29.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 25% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 29% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 16.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $39,608, and the median income for a family was $44,816. Males had a median income of $35,063 versus $22,090 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,465. About 2.3% of families and 4.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3% of those under age 18 and 5% of those age 65 or over.


Tuscola is home to Tuscola Community Unit School District 301 and Tuscola Community High School.

Notable people

  • Smiley Burnette, actor
  • James E. Callaway, politician
  • John H. Campbell, jurist
  • Joseph Gurney Cannon, longtime Speaker of the US House
  • Philip F. Deaver, author
  • Gary Forrester, author
  • Marianne Boruch, author
  • Jennie Garth, actress
  • Linda Metheny, Olympic gymnast
  • Fred Wakefield, NFL football player
  • Jean Waters, 1975 Miss Illinois
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