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Wilmington, Will County, Illinois facts for kids

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Wilmington, Illinois
The Island City
Location of Wilmington in Will County, Illinois.
Location of Wilmington in Will County, Illinois.
Country United States
State Illinois
Counties Will
Founded 1836
Incorporated 1854
 • Total 14.52 sq mi (37.61 km2)
 • Land 13.80 sq mi (35.75 km2)
 • Water 0.72 sq mi (1.86 km2)
 • Total 5,664
 • Density 410.35/sq mi (158.44/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 815 Exchange: 476
FIPS code 17-82101
GNIS feature ID 2397328

Wilmington is a city in Will County, Illinois, United States. It is approximately 60 miles south-west from downtown Chicago (the Chicago Loop). The population was 5,724 at the 2010 census.


Thomas Cox purchased land near Alden's Island in 1834 and built a sawmill, corn cracker, gristmill, and a carding machine facility all of which were powered by water wheels situated on a mill race off of the Kankakee river which runs through Wilmington.

The town is also home to the historic Eagle Hotel located on the northwest corner of state Rt 53 (Rt 66) and water street (Rt 102).

The Gemini Giant in Wilmington on U.S. Route 66

Wilmington was founded by Thomas Cox. It later became famous as a stop on U.S. Route 66, which followed the route of modern-day Illinois Route 53. The only rest-inn within the town is called "Van Duyne's" and is situated right on old Route 66. A notable attraction for travelers along this route is the "Gemini Giant" Muffler Man type statue located next to the former Launching Pad fast food restaurant. Countless photos of travelers, both domestic and foreign, standing at the base of the Gemini Giant are taken each year.

A bus-station scene from Planes, Trains & Automobiles was filmed in Wilmington. The bus station was demolished in 2011.


Wilmington is located at 41°18′27″N 88°08′46″W / 41.307515°N 88.146143°W / 41.307515; -88.146143. It is located on the banks of the Kankakee River, approximately 50 miles (80 km) southwest of Chicago and 15 miles (24 km) south of Joliet.

One of Wilmington's most notable geographical features is a large island in the Kankakee River, much of which is occupied by a city park. This island divides the river into a large channel and a smaller one which was used as a natural mill race during the early years of the city. The island is the source of the city's nickname, "The Island City."

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.5 square miles (12 km2), of which 4.2 square miles (11 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) (6.86%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 1,828
1880 1,872 2.4%
1890 1,576 −15.8%
1900 1,420 −9.9%
1910 1,450 2.1%
1920 1,384 −4.6%
1930 1,741 25.8%
1940 1,921 10.3%
1950 3,354 74.6%
1960 4,210 25.5%
1970 4,335 3.0%
1980 4,424 2.1%
1990 4,743 7.2%
2000 5,134 8.2%
2010 5,724 11.5%
2020 5,664 −1.0%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 5,134 people, 1,991 households, and 1,318 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,218.3 people per square mile (470.8/km2). There were 2,097 housing units at an average density of 497.6/sq mi (192.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.14% White, 0.74% African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.29% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.60% from other races, and 0.86% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.95% of the population.

There were 1,991 households, out of which 34.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.1% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.8% were non-families. 28.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 26.3% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 22.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $45,659, and the median income for a family was $53,648. Males had a median income of $41,966 versus $25,625 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,357. About 5.1% of families and 5.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.3% of those under age 18 and 9.3% of those age 65 or over.

Regional music

Wilmington has been the featured topic in no less than 4 songs:

  • - "The Wilmington Song" by White Trashistan; a party rock band
  • - "Mr. Wilmington" by Lucky Boys Confusion
  • - "(It's A) Wilmington Day" written by Charlie Stewart, 1994

"It's A Wilmington Day" by Charlie Stewart and Comet Country and "I Hate This Town" both rose to Number 1 requested songs on local radio stations.

Notable people

  • Damien Anderson, National Football League player (born 1979)
  • Harry Butcher, driver in the Indianapolis 500 (1892—1942)
  • George Cutshaw, Major League Baseball player (1887—1973)
  • John J. Feely, congressman (1875—1905)
  • Leroy Ioas, Hand of the Cause of the Bahá'í Faith (1896–1965)
  • Burt Keeley, Major League Baseball pitcher (1879-1952)
  • Kiiara, singer (born 1995)
  • Francis Joseph Magner, Roman Catholic bishop (1887-1947)
  • Tanner Roark, Major League Baseball player (born 1986)
  • Kelly Murphy (born 1989) Olympic Volleyball player
  • Josephine Trott, composer (1874-1950)
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