Jacksonville is a city in Morgan County, Illinois, United States. The population was 18,940 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Morgan County.
The town was named in 1825 for future president Andrew Jackson, the commander of American forces at the Battle of New Orleans (1815) and presidential hopeful in 1824. Jacksonville was a major stopping point on the historic Underground Railroad. An Annual Civil War reenactment celebration is named for Jacksonville resident U.S. Army General Benjamin Grierson.
Jacksonville is the principal city of the Jacksonville Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Morgan and Scott counties.
Jacksonville is located at (39.731936, -90.234394).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 26.8 km² (10.3 mi²). 26.2 km² (10.1 mi²) of it is land and 0.5 km² (0.2 mi²) of it (1.84%) is water.
As of the census
of 2000, there were 18,940 people, 7,336 households, and 4,416 families residing in the city. The population density
was 721.9/km² (1,869.1/mi²). There were 8,162 housing units at an average density of 311.1/km² (805.5/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.33% White
, 6.66% African American
, 0.21% Native American
, 0.69% Asian
, 0.01% Pacific Islander
, 0.70% from other races
, and 1.40% from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 1.54% of the population.
There were 7,336 households out of which 27.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.4% were married couples living together, 12.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.8% were non-families. 34.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.89.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.0% under the age of 18, 14.2% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 91.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $33,117, and the median income for a family was $45,595. Males had a median income of $31,474 versus $22,615 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,482. About 7.2% of families and 12.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.2% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over.
The city's daily newspaper, the Jacksonville Journal-Courier
, is the oldest continuously published newspaper in Illinois (since 1830).
Jacksonville is the home of Eli Bridge Company, manufacturer of Ferris Wheels and other amusement rides such as the Scrambler. W.E. Sullivan founded the firm with the introduction of his first portable "Big Eli" Wheel on the Jacksonville Square on May 23, 1900.
EMI (formerly Capitol Records), Pactiv, Nestle Beverage Co. and ACH Foods have facilities in Jacksonville.
Jacksonville is somewhat unusual for a city of its size in that it is home to two private four-year colleges, Illinois College
and MacMurray College
. Illinois College is the second oldest college in Illinois, founded in 1829 (and the first to grant a degree - 1835) by one of the famous Yale Bands -- students from Yale University that traveled westward to found new colleges. It briefly served as the state's first medical school from 1843-1848, and became co-educational in 1903. Beecher Hall, the first college building erected in Illinois, is named after its first president, Edward Beecher
, sibling to Henry Ward Beecher
and Harriet Beecher Stowe
Jacksonville is also home to four state-run institutions including the Illinois School for the Deaf, the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired, the Jacksonville Developmental Center (formerly a state hospital), and the Jacksonville Correctional Center. Lincoln Land Community College's Western Region Education Center is also located in Jacksonville.
In 2005, Sufjan Stevens released Illinois, a concept album referencing various people and places associated with the state. Its fifth track, "Jacksonville," references various landmarks in the town, such as Nichols Park. It also contains a story about A. W. Jackson, a "colored preacher" urban legend supposes the town is named after, as well as President Andrew Jackson (President from 1829-1837) after whom the town's officials say it is actually named.
Cultural offerings include the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, the Jacksonville Theatre Guild, the Art Association of Jacksonville and its David Strawn Art Gallery, as well as many public events and activities hosted by MacMurray College and Illinois College. Recent additions to the cultural scene include the Imagine Foundation and the Noir and Eclectic art galleries, both located in the city's revitalized downtown.
- Illinois Governor Joseph Duncan (1794–1844).
- Classical scholar, botanist, and political activist Jonathan Baldwin Turner (1805-1899).
- Richard Yates, (1818-1873), a prominent Republican politician who served as United States Congressman from 1851-1855, Governor of Illinois from 1861-1865, and United States Senator from 1865-1871.
- Civil War General Benjamin Grierson (1826-1911).
- Father of Modern Dentistry Dr. Greene Vardiman Black, (1836-1915), first to use Nitrous-Oxide gas "for extracting teeth without pain"
- U.S. Postmaster General J. Edward Day (1914-1996).
- Pro golfer Jerry Barber (1916-1994).
- U.S. Congressman Paul Findley (1921 - ).
- Milton McPike (1939-2008), , Educator, NFL Player, Community Leader
- Pro boxer Ken Norton (1943- ), who broke Mohammed Ali's jaw in an epic heavyweight fight.
- Missouri State Treasurer Nancy Farmer (1956- ).
- Mary Louise Preis, (1941- ) former member of Maryland House of Delegates.
- J. F. Powers (1917-1999), Roman Catholic short-story author and novelist, was born in Jacksonville.
- Frank Reaugh (1860-1945), Western artist from Texas, was born in Jacksonville.
- Wilson "Bob" Tucker (1914-2006), a mystery, adventure, and science fiction writer, lived in Jacksonville for many years.
- Lawyer, statesman and politician William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925), graduated from Illinois College and practiced law in Jacksonville. He later ran for president of the U.S. and is perhaps most well-known for his involvement in the famous "Scopes Monkey Trial." The home Bryan built in Jacksonville still stands at 1225 W. College Ave. and is owned and treasured by a prominent local historian and his family.
- Pro baseball pitcher Luther Haden "Dummy" Taylor (1875-1958), died in Jacksonville where he had been a coach, teacher, and administrator at the Illinois School for the Deaf.
- Pro baseball pitcher Henry Eli "Harry" Staley (1866-1910), born in Jacksonville.
- Olympic water polo bronze medalist F. Calvert "Cal" Strong (1907-2001), born in Jacksonville.
- U.S. Senator, presidential candidate Stephen A. Douglas (1813-1861), settled in Jacksonville and was admitted to the bar there.
- Don H. Doyle, The Social Order of a Frontier Community: Jacksonville, Illinois, 1825-70, 1978
- Vernon R.Q. Fernandes, The People of Jacksonville--A Pictorial History, 1991
- Vernon R.Q. Fernandes, Faces & places--a Morgan County family album, 1995
- Vernon R.Q. Fernandes, Passavant Area Hospital : 125 years of caring, 1999