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Denhart Bank Building at 101 Washington Sq.
Denhart Bank Building at 101 Washington Sq.
"Your Pathway To Discovery; Enjoyment And Knowledge"
Location of Washington in Tazewell County, Illinois.
Location of Washington in Tazewell County, Illinois.
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Country United States
State Illinois
County Tazewell
Township Washington
 • Type Council–manager
 • Total 8.56 sq mi (22.17 km2)
 • Land 8.54 sq mi (22.13 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)
757 ft (231 m)
 • Total 16,071
 • Density 1,880.75/sq mi (726.17/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP Code(s)
Area code(s) 309
FIPS code 17-79033
Wikimedia Commons Washington, Illinois

Washington is a city in Tazewell County, Illinois, United States. Washington is on U.S. Route 24 and Illinois Route 8, northeast of East Peoria. The population was 15,134 at the 2010 census, a 39.6 percent increase over 2000. It is a suburb of Peoria and is part of the Peoria Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Washington was founded in 1825 by William Holland, Sr., who came from North Carolina and was hired by the U.S. government to provide blacksmith services to the local Native Americans. During his long and eventful life he was married three times, and was the father of twenty-one children: fourteen by his first wife and seven by his second wife. He had eighty-two grandchildren and fifty great grandchildren. He died in Washington on November 27, 1871, at the age of ninety-one. The post office (and later the city) was originally named Holland's Grove in 1833 before being renamed in honor of the first U.S. president, George Washington, in 1837.

In the 1920s, a man named George Heyl put Washington on the map as the home of the famous Heyl Pony Farm. Some of the original barns still exist on North Main Street. The Heyl Pony Farm supplied Shetland ponies to buyers around the world; George Heyl also raised pure bred poultry. When Heyl died suddenly in 1932, it was recorded as one of the largest funerals ever held in Washington.

Another local site of interest is the "old canning factory", which is now occupied by American Allied Railway Equipment Company Inc. In 1943, the canning factory (which after the war was run by the Libby's company) had a shortage of workers, and the government needed K rations and canned goods to feed the troops. So 50 captured German soldiers from the prisoner of war camp known as Camp Ellis in Fulton County were brought in. The Washington sub-camp was first commanded by Colonel John S. Sullivan, and later by Captain T. A. Cox. The POWs were brought in on the old rail line that ran down Wood Street (the foundation of a sentry tower can be seen just northeast of the intersection of Wood and Jefferson near the entrance to the bike trail). They were trucked from the camp to various local farms to help with the pumpkin harvest. The prisoners were allowed no visitors, nor could residents speak to the prisoners. An exception was made for local ministers, such as Pastor Kammeyer from St. Mark's Lutheran who spoke fluent German and ministered to the POWs spiritual needs. Once a POW jumped from a truck going down South Main Street and was almost shot before the guard realized he was just trying to retrieve his hat which had blown off.

Years later when the Libby plant burned, they found a U.S. Army rifle issued to a soldier who was a guard. It was reported missing, and suspected hidden by a prisoner.

A new community center, named Five Points Washington, opened in October 2007. The facility houses the Washington Public Library, a performing arts center, swimming pools, fitness center, and banquet center.

A new assisted living center for seniors was opened in early 2008, across the street from the Washington Christian Village.

2013 tornado

Photograph showing the damage to houses and trees in Washington following the 11-17-2013 tornado
Damage to houses and trees shortly after the November 17, 2013 tornado.

One of the two EF4 tornadoes in the November 17, 2013 tornado outbreak entered Washington from the southwest in East Peoria. Three people were killed, one during the storm and two others later from injuries, including a United States Army veteran. The tornado then destroyed the Georgetown Common apartment complex, including ripping second floors off most of the 16 apartment buildings. Hundreds of homes were destroyed as the tornado moved through town before finally exiting on the north side.


Washington is located at 40°42′N 89°25′W / 40.700°N 89.417°W / 40.700; -89.417 (40.7039, -89.4206). According to the 2010 census, Washington has a total area of 8.182 square miles (21.19 km2), of which 8.17 square miles (21.16 km2) (or 99.85%) is land and 0.012 square miles (0.03 km2) (or 0.15%) is water.


Washington has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa), with cold, snowy winters, and hot, humid summers. Monthly daily mean temperatures range from 22.5 °F (−5.3 °C) to 75.2 °F (24.0 °C). Snowfall is common in the winter, averaging 26.3 inches (67 cm), but this figure varies considerably for different years. Precipitation, averaging at 36 inches (914 mm), peaks in the spring and summer, and is the least in winter. Extremes have ranged from −27 °F (−33 °C) in January 1884 to 113 °F (45 °C) in July 1936.


U.S. Route 24 runs east–west outside of Washington. Business U.S. 24 runs through the downtown square of Washington.


Washington's religions are Apostolic, Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Community, Baptist, Faith, and Methodist.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 712
1860 1,578 121.6%
1870 1,607 1.8%
1880 1,397 −13.1%
1890 1,301 −6.9%
1900 1,459 12.1%
1910 1,530 4.9%
1920 1,643 7.4%
1930 1,741 6.0%
1940 2,456 41.1%
1950 4,285 74.5%
1960 5,919 38.1%
1970 6,790 14.7%
1980 10,364 52.6%
1990 10,099 −2.6%
2000 10,841 7.3%
2010 15,134 39.6%
2020 16,071 6.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 10,841 people, 4,189 households, and 3,091 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,450.0 people per square mile (559.6/km2). There were 4,403 housing units at an average density of 588.9 per square mile (227.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.36% White, 0.26% African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.42% Asian, 0.26% from other races, and 0.62% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.67% of the population.

There were 4,189 households, out of which 35.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.8% were married couples living together, 7.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.2% were non-families. 22.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 26.0% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 23.3% from 45 to 64, and 13.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $71,702, and the median income for a family was $61,184. Males had a median income of $64,388 versus $43,460 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,231. About 2.8% of families and 4.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.5% of those under age 18 and 3.5% of those age 65 or over.


As of 2000, 66.8% of people aged 16 and over were employed in the civilian labor force, 2.8% were "unemployed" in the civilian work force, 0.1% were in the armed forces, and 30.3% were not in the labor force. Average travel time to work for Washington residents was 21.5 min.

The Washington Chamber of Commerce lists the following information about employers:

Employment by occupation category
Category percentage
Management and professional 38.3%
Service 13.3%
Sales and office 27.5%
Farming, fishing, and forestry 0.1%
Construction, extraction, and maintenance 8.1%
Production, transportation, and material moving 12.8%
Employers - Manufacturers and distributor
Company name Business type Approx.
Illinois Valley Plastics molded components 100
BTD Manufacturing metal fabrication 70
American Allied Railway Equipment rail wheels and brakes 66
WICC, Ltd. electrical components 41
RP Short Run printing and graphics 36
Global Fire Equipment/MES fire trucks, apparatus 36
Akron Brass fire fighting equipment 26
Employers - Retailers
Company name Business type Approx.
Wal-Mart Supercenter general merchandise 340
Uftring Chevrolet-Saab automobile sales and service 105
Kroger grocer 90
Lindy's Downtown Market grocer 54
Employers - Services and institutions
Organization Business type Approx.
Washington school districts (combined) education 425
Washington Christian Village elderly care 125
City of Washington local government 80
Washington Park District parks and recreation entity 76

Annual events

  • Good Neighbor Days, previously called the Cherry Festival.
  • Memorial Day Parade
  • Take Pride in Washington Day
  • Veterans Day Parade


  • Beverly Manor Middle School (District 50)
  • Central Primary School (District 51)
  • Central Intermediate School (District 51)
  • John L. Hensey Elementary School (District 50)
  • Lincoln Grade School (District 52)
  • Washington Middle School (District 52)
  • Washington Community High School District 308
  • St. Patrick School (Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria)

Tazewell County has a joint special education service, the Tazewell-Mason Counties Special Education Association (TMCSEA).

Notable people

  • Mark Dennis, offensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals and the Carolina Panthers; alumnus of Washington High School; member of the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame
  • Alec Peters, basketball player, second-round selection in 2017 NBA draft; born in Washington
  • Colton Underwood, former NFL player and star of ABC's The Bachelor, attended Washington Community High School
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