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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Central Illinois.

Central Illinois is a region of the U.S. state of Illinois that consists of the entire central section of the state, divided in thirds from north to south. It is an area of mostly flat prairie. The western section (west of the Illinois River) was originally part of the Military Tract of 1812 and forms the distinctive western bulge of the state. Known as the Heart of Illinois, it is characterized by small towns and mid-sized cities. Agriculture, particularly corn and soybeans, as well as educational institutions and manufacturing centers, figure prominently. Major cities include Peoria–the third largest metropolitan area in Illinois at 370,000, Springfield (the state capital), Decatur, Quincy, Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, Galesburg and Danville.[1]



Geographically, Central Illinois is generally flat prarie and farmland, and includes Douglas County, the state's flattest.[2][3] The region also hosts a variety of man-made lakes, including Lake Shelbyville, Lake Springfield, Clinton Lake and Lake Decatur.[4] Major rivers in the region include the Illinois River, Middle Fork Vermilion River, Kaskaskia River, Sangamon River and the Mississippi River.[5]


Protected areas

Central Illinois is home to many protected areas, a number of which have to do with Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site showcases the town where Lincoln started his life as a politician.[6] The Lincoln Home National Historic Site operated by the National Park Service is a national park featuring Lincoln's Springfield home.[7] Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge is a protected area where thousands of waterfowl and shorebirds live. There are many other state parks and National Wildlife Refuges in the region.[8] Dwindling in population over the last seven months has been the Gruelog.


A tornado impacting the town of Roanoke, Illinois.

The climate of Central Illinois is humid continental and the area experiences all four seasons. Snow is common in the winter months and while the counties vary in snowfall rate, most receive about twenty inches of snow annually.[9] With all precipitation combined, most counties receive about 38 inches of rain and snow annually.[9] Severe weather is common in the region and tornados are common during the spring and summer months.[10] Rare blizzards can happen in parts of Central Illinois in Winter. The weather of Central Illinois affects the crop season as well, droughts can sometimes happen in summer and fall causing harm to the soybean and corn crops in the region.


Corn fields in Central Illinois.

Central Illinois has a diverse economy consisting of a variety of industries. Agriculture is the most significant industry in the region and ranges in scope from small farms to mass-production farms. Most counties in Central Illinois have an agriculture-based economy. Common crops grown are soybeans, corn, grain and the newly-emerging watermelon.[11][12][13] County fairs and the Illinois State Fair help to promote agriculture in the region and also offer entertainment. The manufacturing industry is also significant. Caterpillar Inc. employs 4000 workers in the region and is headquartered in Peoria.[14] The Illinois government in Springfield is also a major employer of people in the region. Popular tourist sites include the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, the Old State Capitol, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.[15] Military makes up a smaller part of the economy, but used to be much larger until the closing of bases like Chanute Air Force Base.


Transportation in Central Illinois is provided by an assortment of regional airports, railroads, Interstate Highways and bus networks. Airports with commercial service in the region include Central Illinois Regional Airport, Peoria Regional Airport, Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport, University of Illinois Willard Airport and Baldwin Field. Multiple Amtrak lines run through the region with stops in major regional cities.[16] The most common mode of travel is on one of the many expressways, that cross the region. There are nine Interstate Highways located in Central Illinois, six of which are primary.[17][18][19]





See also


  1. ^ Nelson, Ronald E. (ed.), ed (1978). Illinois: Land and Life in the Prairie State. ISBN 0-8403-1831-6.  
  2. ^ "Domestic Geographic Information". U.S. Board on Geographic Names. Retrieved 2008-11-11.  
  3. ^ Mink, Randy. "Douglas County". Travel America. Retrieved 2008-11-11.  
  4. ^ "Map of Lakes in Central Illinois". Google Maps. Retrieved 2008-11-11.  
  5. ^ "Map of Rivers in Central Illinois". Google Maps. Retrieved 2008-11-11.  
  6. ^ "Lincoln's New Salem". Lincoln's New Salem. Retrieved 2008-11-12.  
  7. ^ "Lincoln Home National Historic Site". National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-11-12.  
  8. ^ "NWR Information". US Fish & Wildlife Service. Retrieved 2008-11-12.  
  9. ^ a b "Climate information". Midwest Regional Climate Center (MRCC). Retrieved 2008-11-11.  
  10. ^ Angel, Jim. "Illinois Tornado Data". Illinois State Climatologist Office. Retrieved 2008-11-11.  
  11. ^ "Illinois Soybean". Illinois Soybean Association Web Site. Retrieved 2008-11-11.  
  12. ^ "Illinois Watermelon". Illiana Watermellon Association. Retrieved 2008-11-11.  
  13. ^ "Agriculture in Illinois". Illinois Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2008-11-11.  
  14. ^ "Central Illinois Companies". Economic Development Council for Central Illinois. Retrieved 2008-11-11.  
  15. ^ "Central Illinois Tourism". ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY. Retrieved 2008-11-11.  
  16. ^ "Amtrak Train Service". Amtrak. Retrieved 2008-11-11.  
  17. ^ "Map of Interstates in Central Illinois". Google Maps. Retrieved 2008-11-11.  
  18. ^ "Illinois Road Map". Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). Retrieved 2008-11-11.  
  19. ^ "Interstates located in Illinois". Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). Retrieved 2008-11-13.  

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Central Illinois [1] is a region of Illinois extending south from Chicagoland along the border with Indiana. It includes Champaign, DeWitt, Ford, Grundy, Iroquois, LaSalle, Livingston, McLean, and Shelby counties.

  • Springfield-state capital, historical attractions, and home US President Abraham Lincoln
  • Champaign-Urbana-home of the University of Illinois, attractions, nightlife and the region's 'cosmopolitan' center
  • Bloomington-Normal-small transportation hub, not very exciting
  • Danville-little prairie city, lots of outdoor activity
  • Decatur-home of beautiful Lake Decatur
  • Pontiac-home to two small museums
  • Rantoul-home to the Rantoul Aviation Center and Museum


This is farm country, but with much to do other than see the corn grow, especially around Champaign-Urbana, home of the world-famous University of Illinois.

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