Mount Vernon (Illinois): Difference between revisions

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[[Magod:Map of USA IL.svg|175px|thumb|right|Tat: Illinois in Lamerikän.]] [[Magod:Mount Vernon, Illinois City Hall.JPG|thumb|right]]
'''Mount Vernon''' binon zif in komot: ''Mount Vernon (Mt. Vernon)''' is a town located near the center of [[Jefferson County, Illinois]], in the [[United States]]. In the [[2000 census (USA)|2000 census]], the town's reported population was 16,269 people.
 
==Geography==
Mount Vernon is located at {{coor dms|38|18|49|N|88|54|29|W|city}} (38.313512, -88.908159).{{GR|1}}
 
According to the [[United States Census Bureau]], the town has a total area of 30.1 [[km²]] (11.6 [[square mile|mi²]]). 29.8 km² (11.5 mi²) of it is land and 0.3 km² (0.1 mi²) of it (0.86%) is water.
 
Mt. Vernon is located on high ground between [[Casey Creek]] and the [[Big Muddy River]], which join south of the town in what is now [[Rend Lake]]. In pre-settlement times the area around these waterways was a swamp, a heavily forested area that was waist-deep in water during much of the winter and during wet summers. Mt. Vernon was thus often surrounded by water and swamp on three sides.
 
High ground was located to the north of Mt. Vernon. A ridge ran between the Big Muddy River and Casey Creek north toward what is now [[Dix, Illinois]].
 
There are high places west and east of Mt. Vernon from which one can see the town as a forested point of high ground jutting out into the bottoms. These high places are: from the west, near the [[Woodlawn, Illinois|Woodlawn]] interchange off Interstate 64 and from the east, on Old Fairfield Road near Summersville School, with the highest point located on Old Route 15 right before it merges with New Route 15, near [[Bluford, Illinois]].
 
==History==
Mt. Vernon was founded by [[Zadok Casey]], who was elected to the State Senate in [[1822]] and was elected Lieutenant Governor in [[1833]]. He served in the U.S. Congress between [[1833]] and [[1843]].
 
The town was named for [[George Washington]]'s plantation, [[Mount Vernon (plantation)|Mt. Vernon]], which was named for [[Edward Vernon]], a British naval hero.
When Mt. Vernon was founded, around [[1817]], there was no road to it. Travellers had to get there by either following the high ground from the north or crossing the swamps from the south.
 
In the early 1800s the [[Goshen Road]] crossed Illinois in a northwesterly direction from [[Old Shawneetown, Illinois]] to the [[Goshen Settlement]], near what is now [[Edwardsville, Illinois]]. This road was the main road in Illinois.
 
When Mt. Vernon was first settled, the Goshen Road made a wide arc across [[Jefferson County, Illinois|Jefferson, crossing Casey Creek and the [[Big Muddy River|Big Muddy]] north of Mt. Vernon, avoiding the swamps to the south, but by-passing Mt. Vernon. The Road entered the County at its southeast corner. It passed through, or near, what are now [[Opdyke, Illinois|Opdyke]], East Salem, Idlewood, [[Dix, Illinois|Dix]] and [[Walnut Hill, Illinois|Walnut Hill]].
 
It was apparent to the early settlers that the town would fail without roads. In [[1820]] - [[1821]], Ben Hood and Carter Wilkey built a bridge over Casey Creek, to the southeast of town. This bridge was near the present bridge on [[Illinois Route 142]]. A road was built from there northwest, over ground that is now impassable, toward the old cemetery behind the modern Bethel Cemetery. Deep cuts through the old cemetery attest to the location of the road. From there the road probably followed modern [[Illinois State Route 37|Route 37]] into town, somewhere shifting from 10th Street on west to 12th Street.
 
After the State capitol was moved to [[Vandalia, Illinois]] in [[1819]], it became apparent that a road to Vandalia was needed. A party was sent out to the northwest to mark the road.
 
In [[1823]], Thomas D. Minor and William Maxwell built the "Vandalia Road", now called the "Old Centralia Road". It runs northwest out of Mt. Vernon to [[Walnut Hill, Illinois|Walnut Hill]]. Although legend says that this road is crooked because of the drunken state of the surveyors, the path is probably just the natural path of a pioneer road following the terrain.
 
After the bridge and the Vandalia Road were built, Mt. Vernon was "on the map". The bridge across Casey Creek and the Vandalia Road provided a much shorter path across Jefferson County than the original Goshen Road. The new Goshen Road soon captured most of the traffic, and Mt. Vernon became an important stop on the road west.
 
In [[1836]] Joshua Grant came to Mt. Vernon from [[Christian County, Kentucky]] with several of his sons and daughters. His family was an extremely wealthy, southern, slave-owning family, most of which soon moved to [[Arkansas]], probably because slavery was illegal in Illinois. Joshua left behind several daughters and one son, Angus McNeil Grant, who soon became extremely important in the development of the town. "Upon his arrival, there were but four or five houses in the place, and from that time to the present (1883) he has constantly and ably exerted himself in securing to it the full development of its resources."
 
Angus M. Grant's brother, Joshua Grant, Jr., taught school in Mt. Vernon in 1838. Some sources cite him as the first school teacher in the town.
 
In [[1848]] the Illinois Supreme Court was relocated to Mt. Vernon. A stately building was constructed, which is still in use today as the Appellate Court House. When the Supreme Court was in session, the important lawyers in Illinois, including [[Abraham Lincoln]], gathered in Mt. Vernon to argue their cases. The lawyers gathered at the Mt. Vernon Inn, owned by Angus McNeil Grant and his in-laws, the Andersons.
 
In the 1870s Mt. Vernon for a time prohibited the sale of alcohol. A village called "East Mt. Vernon" was organized in 1877 to allow the sale of alcohol. A court fight eventually held that the village was organized illegally. Mt. Vernon then voted alcohol back in, and the area of East Mt. Vernon was annexed into the City.
 
On February 19, [[1888]], a tornado cut a path a half mile wide through Mt. Vernon, killing 37 people and destroying more than 450 houses. The Jefferson County Courthouse was destroyed. This event was one of the first disasters to which the [[American Red Cross]] responded. [[Clara Barton]] herself directed the relief efforts.
 
The Mt. Vernon Car Manufacturing Company opened in 1889 after moving from Litchfield, Illinois. This relocation may have been an outgrowth of the relief efforts following the tornado. The [[Louisville and Nashville Railroad]] hauled in some 1,900 carloads of supplies for reconstruction of the town. Somehow, this effort translated into a major business building railroad cars, at first building about ten cars per day. By 1909, the car shops were producing 25 cars per day, employing more than 1000 workers, with a payroll of $60,000 per month.
 
During [[World War II]], portions of the "Car Shops," as they were to come to be known, were converted over to wartime production, including the production of bomb casings.
 
In 1954, the car shops closed, causing a temporary jump in unemployment throughout the city and the 108 communities called "home" by its former employees.
 
Around 1939, a portion of the car shops was purchased by Precision Engineering, which originally built components for locomotives. During the 1970s, this company purchased old diesel/electric railroad locomotives, which it scrapped out or refurbished. Today, the plant thrives as a hub for [http://www.nationalrailway.com/mtvernon.asp National Railway Equipment]which rebuilds and services diesel electric locomotives for rail lines across the globe. Ironically, the facility is poised to again become one of the area's largest employers as sales of its innovative hybrid locomotives fuels plant expansion to include another facility across town.
 
The [[Interstate Highway System]] was built in the late 1950s and 1960s. The [[Concurrency (road)]] of I-57 and I-64 is along the western border of the ridgeline which divides the [[Big Muddy River]] and [[Casey Creek]]. The [[Stack interchange]] on the southwest side of town complements the historic Casey Creek bridges, allowing much shorter travel times through the swamps to the east and south.
 
In April of 2007, Mount Vernon voters [http://www.register-news.com/archivesearch/local_story_107211926.html elected the first female mayor] of the city, Ms. Mary Jane Chesley. She was [http://www.register-news.com/archivesearch/local_story_127125324.html sworn into office] on May 7, 2007.
 
Mount Vernon hosts a 48-acre facility for Continental Tire of North America - the German company's only manufacturing site in North America - and is home to major distribution centers for Anheuser-Busch, NAPA and Walgreens.
 
The town is a regional hub for recreation, retail, employment and health care.
 
==Demographics==
As of the [[census]]{{GR|2}} of 2000, there were 16,269 people, 6,988 households, and 4,157 families residing in the city. The [[population density]] was 545.3/km² (1,412.1/mi²). There were 7,814 housing units at an average density of 261.9/km² (678.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 84.25% [[White (U.S. Census)|White]], 12.36% [[African American (U.S. Census)|African American]], 0.17% [[Native American (U.S. Census)|Native American]], 0.77% [[Asian (U.S. Census)|Asian]], 0.02% [[Pacific Islander (U.S. Census)|Pacific Islander]], 0.47% from [[Race (United States Census)|other races]], and 1.97% from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic]] or [[Latino (U.S. Census)|Latino]] of any race were 1.49% of the population.
 
There were 6,988 households out of which 27.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.1% were [[Marriage|married couples]] living together, 13.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.5% were non-families. 35.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.92.
 
In the city the population was spread out with 24.7% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 19.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 84.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.4 males.
 
The median income for a household in the city was $28,145, and the median income for a family was $36,660. Males had a median income of $31,569 versus $20,198 for females. The [[per capita income]] for the city was $16,268. About 13.0% of families and 17.1% of the population were below the [[poverty line]], including 20.5% of those under age 18 and 12.9% of those age 65 or over.
 
 
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