Open main menu

Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Illinois (State)

ILLINOIS, a State in the North Central Division of the North American Union; bounded by Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Lake Michigan; admitted to the Union, Dec. 3, 1818: number of counties, 102; capital, Springfield; area, 56,650 square miles; pop. (1890) 3,826,351; (1900) 4,821,550; (1910) 5,638,591; (1920) 6,485,280.

Topography.—The surface of the State is generally flat, rising in an inclined plane from a depression of 300 feet near Cairo, to an elevation of 820 feet in Jo Daviess county. A spur of the Ozark Mountains crosses the S. part of the State. The principal physical features of the State are the great prairies or natural meadows, from which Illinois derives its popular name, the “Prairie State.” The river system of Illinois is the most extensive in the Union. The Mississippi forms its entire W. boundary, and its great E. tributary, the Ohio, with its affluents, the Illinois, Wabash, Kankakee, Des Plaines, Kaskaskia, Mackinaw, Sangamon, Vermilion, and their numerous tributaries, form a water system of over 280 streams. The Illinois river broadens out into an extensive basin, known as Lake Peoria in the central part of the State. This, with Lake Pishtaka in the extreme N. E., comprises the lake system of Illinois. There are numerous natural points of interest, among them being Starved Rock, a mass of sand and limestone rising abruptly to a height of 160 feet; Fountain Bluff, 6 miles in circumference and 300 feet high; and a large cave in Hardin county, on the Ohio river, formerly a noted retreat for river pirates.

Geology.—The N. part of the State shows Silurian origin, with Tertiary and Post-Tertiary formations in the S., and Devonian strata in the S. hills. Geological research seems to show that the Great Lakes were once connected with the Gulf through the channels of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, the whole region being an immense lake. Fresh water shells have been found in the Post-Tertiary clays and sands on the lake shore and marine shells are found in the soil of the prairies. Along the Mississippi river are steep bluffs of lime and sandstone, called from their form, Castle Rocks.

Mineralogy.—Bituminous coal is found in a field 375 miles long by 200 miles broad, usually in the form of cannel coal, though some excellent smelting coal is also found. The coal production of the State in 1918 was 91,263,000 tons, an increase of about 5,000,000 tons over 1917. The production of pig iron in the State in 1918 was 3,409,876 tons valued at $105,415,030. The production of natural gas in 1917 was 4,439,016 M. cubic feet, valued at $479,072. The production of petroleum in 1917 was 15,776,850 barrels, valued at $31,358,069. Other important mineral products are cement, of which about 5,000,000 barrels are produced annually; coke; mineral waters; sand and gravel; and clay products. The total value of the mineral products in 1917 was $216,914,229.

Soil.—The soil is generally black, light, rich, and warm, and free from stones and pebbles, though in places it is mixed with a siliceous sand. It is exceedingly fertile. In some places the loam has a depth of 25 feet. The prairie lands consist of the original diluvial sediment, overlaid with decomposed vegetable matter. The “American Bottom,” 5 miles in width and extending 90 miles along the Mississippi, has been cultivated ever since the first settlement, and its fertility still seems inexhaustible. The most abundant forest trees are the oak, black walnut, ash, hickory, sugar maple, locust, elm, linden, tulip, buckeye, poplar, beech, yellow pine, cypress, cedar, pecan, sycamore, cottonwood, and black birch.

Agriculture.—Illinois is one of the foremost States in agriculture. The fertility of its soil makes it especially adaptable for the raising of cereals, farm and garden vegetables, and fruit. Among its chief products are raspberries, strawberries, cherries, plums, peaches, grapes, apples, potatoes, tobacco, maple sugar, hops, flaxseed, and broomcorn. The production and value of the principal crops in 1919 were as follows: corn, 301,000,000 bushels, valued at $391,300,000; oats, 123,060,000 bushels, valued at $86,142,000; wheat, 65,675,000 bushels, valued at $137,918,000; hay, 4,810,000 tons, valued at $102,934,000; potatoes, 8,060,000 bushels, valued at $15,798,000.

Manufactures.—There were in 1914 18,388 manufacturing establishments in the State, employing 506,943 wage earners. The capital invested amounted to $1,943,826,000, and the wages paid to $304,910,000. The value of materials used was $1,384,184,000, and the value of the finished product was $2,247,323,000.

Banking.—On Oct. 31, 1919, there were 475 National banks in operation, having $79,415,000 capital, $25,069,286 in outstanding circulation, and $27,947,200 in United States bonds. There were also 905 State banks with $101,189,000 capital, and $67,135,000 surplus; 174 private banks, with $3,366,000 capital and $904,000 surplus. In the year ending Sept. 30, 1919, the exchanges at the United States clearing house, at Chicago, were $28,223,025,000, an increase over the previous year of $2,581,154,000.

Education.—The school population of the State is about 1,700,000, and the enrollment in public schools about 1,200,000. There are about 35,000 teachers employed, of whom about 26,000 are women. About $25,000,000 is annually paid to teachers and the annual yearly salary of teachers is about $700 annually. A total of $40,000,000 is paid annually for education purposes. There are five normal schools, with 260 teachers, and about 12,000 pupils.

Among the most notable colleges are the University of Chicago, Northwestern University at Evanston, University of Illinois at Urbana, Lake Forest University at Lake Forest, Knox College at Galesburg, Augustana College at Rock Island, Northwestern College at Napierville, Illinois Wesleyan at Bloomington, James Millikin at Decatur, Loyola University at Chicago.

Churches.—The strongest denominations in the State are the Roman Catholics, Methodist Episcopal, Baptist, Lutheran, Synodical Conference, Disciples of Christ, Presbyterian, German Evangelical Synod, Congregational, Protestant Episcopal, and United Brethren.

Railroads.—The railway mileage in the State in 1919 was 13,413 miles of single main line track. There was practically no new construction during the year. The roads having the longest mileage are the Illinois Central, the Wabash, and the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis.

Finances.—The receipts for the fiscal year 1919 amounted to $32,240,681, and the disbursements to $26,374,900. On Sept. 30, 1919, there was a balance in the treasury of $26,861,321. The State has a very small bonded debt amounting to about $17,500.

Charities and Corrections.—The most important charitable and correctional institutions are hospitals at Elgin, Kankakee, Jacksonville, Anna, Watertown, Peoria, Chicago, Chester, and Alton; school and colony at Lincoln; schools for the deaf and blind at Jacksonville; training school for girls at Greneva; training school for boys at St. Charles; industrial school for the blind, at Chicago. There are also other institutions for the care of the blind, deaf and the mentally defective. The State spent over $7,500,000 annually for the support of these institutions. There are about 260 benevolent institutions, hospitals, orphanages, homes and schools for deaf and blind in the State.

State Government.—The governor is elected for a term of four years and receives a salary of $12,000 per annum. Legislative sessions are held biennially and have no time limit. The Legislature has 51 members in the Senate and 153 in the House. There are 27 representatives in Congress. The State government in 1920 was Republican.

History.—The first white settlement in Illinois was the Jesuit mission at the Indian village Kaskaskia, founded by Marquette in 1673. In 1679 La Salle built Fort Crevecœur on the Illinois river near Lake Peoria, and in 1680 established a colony there. After the cession of Canada and the French possessions E. of the Mississippi to England in 1763, Illinois was considered part of Virginia, and in 1778 a military force from there seized Kaskaskia and obtained allegiance from the inhabitants. It was part of a county of Virginia till 1787, when it became part of the Northwest Territory, and in 1809 it became the Territory of Illinois. On Aug. 15, 1812, the garrison of Fort Chicago, and nearly all the settlers near by were massacred by the Indian allies of the British. Illinois was admitted to the Union in 1818 and in 1832 the Black Hawk War broke out. Several massacres occurred, but the Fox and Sac Indians were finally removed from the State. Hostility to the Mormons led to the murder, by a mob, of the founders of the sect, Hiram and Joseph Smith, in 1844, and the subsequent emigration of the Mormons from the State. In 1847 a new constitution was framed and became operative the same year. The present Constitution was ratified, July 2, 1870.


Collier's 1921 Illinois.jpg
Copyright, L. L. Poates Eng. Co., 1921