Main Births etc
Washington, Illinois
Motto: "Your Pathway To Discovery; Enjoyment And Knowledge"
Country United States
State Illinois
County Tazewell
Township Washington
Elevation 757 ft (231 m)
Coordinates 40°42′N 89°25′W / 40.7, -89.417
Area 8.19 sq mi (21 km²)
 - land 8.18 sq mi (21 km²)
 - water 0.01 sq mi (0 km²)
Population 15,134 (2010)
Density 1,851.3 / sq mi (715 / km²)
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code 61571
Area code 309
Location of Washington within Illinois
Location of Washington within Illinois
Locator Red.svg
Location of Washington within Illinois

Wikimedia Commons: Washington, Illinois
Website: City Website

Washington is a city in Tazewell County, Illinois, United States. The population was 15,134 at the 2010 census, a 39.6 percent change from 2000.[1]


Washington was founded in 1825[2] 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[2] before being renamed in honor of the first U.S. president, George Washington, in 1837.[2]

In the 1920s, a man named George Heyl put Washington on the map as the home of the famous Heyl Pony Farm.[3] 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 George 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.

The solution was to bring in 50 captured German soldiers from the prisoner of war camp known as Camp Ellis in Fulton County[4] The Washington sub-camp was first commanded by Colonel John S. Sullivan, and later by Captain T. A. Cox.

Captain Cox at one point in the war commanded the 1613th Service Command Unit, detachment 5 guarding German POWs at the Mayo hospital in Galesburg.[5]

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. 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.

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.

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.[6]

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

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.[7][8] The tornado then destroyed the Georgetown Common apartment complex, including ripping second floors off most of the 16 apartment buildings.[9]


Washington is located at 40°42′N 89°25′W / 40.7, -89.417 (40.7039, -89.4206).[10] According to the 2010 census, the city has a total area of 8.19 square miles (21.2 km2), of which 8.18 square miles (21.2 km2) (or 99.88%) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.026 km2) (or 0.12%) is water.[11]


As of the census[12] 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 $52,210, and the median income for a family was $61,184. Males had a median income of $44,896 versus $26,035 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.[13]

The Washington Chamber of Commerce lists the following information about employers:[14]

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


  • Washington Community High School

Annual events[]

  • Good Neighbor Days
  • Memorial Day Parade
  • Take Pride in Washington Day

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[15]
  • Doug Lee, shooting guard and small forward with the Houston Rockets, New Jersey Nets, and Sacramento Kings; grew up in Washington; member of the IBCA and Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame[16]
  • John Ronane, British actor; lived in Washington
  • Mark Warner, US senator[17] and the 69th Governor of Virginia; grew up in Washington (1966 to 1969)[18]

See also[]

  • Ronald Reagan Trail


  1. ^ Washington (City) QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau
  2. ^ a b c Callary, Edward. 2009. Place Names of Illinois. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, p. 366.
  3. ^ George Heyl
  4. ^ Fulton County Tourism
  5. ^ German POWs
  6. ^ Five Points Washington
  7. ^ WLS-TV (November 18, 2013). "Washington IL tornado ranked as EF-4; victim ID'd". Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  8. ^ Steve Stein (January 5, 2014). "Army vet injured in tornado dies". Retrieved 2014-01-20. 
  9. ^ "Tornado in Washington claims one life, injures dozens". (Peoria, Illinois: GateHouse Media). Retrieved 2013-11-25.  (Warning: Site uses popup ads.)
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  11. ^ "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files for Places – Illinois". United States Census. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  12. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  13. ^ "DP-3. Profile of Selected Economic Characteristics: 2000: Washington city, Illinois". American FactFinder. United States Census. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  14. ^ "Washington Community Profile". Washington Chamber of Commerce. 2008-02-15. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  15. ^ GPSHOF Inductee Mark Dennis
  16. ^ New Jersey Nets 1983 - 1986GPSHOF Inductee Doug Lee
  17. ^ "Mark R. Warner". 
  18. ^ Mark Warner Timeline

External links[]


This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Washington, Illinois. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.