Marion, Illinois: Wikis


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City of Marion
City of Marion is located in Illinois
City of Marion
Location within the state of Illinois
Coordinates: 37°43′49″N 88°55′49″W / 37.73028°N 88.93028°W / 37.73028; -88.93028Coordinates: 37°43′49″N 88°55′49″W / 37.73028°N 88.93028°W / 37.73028; -88.93028
Country United States
State Illinois
County Williamson County
 - Mayor Robert L. Butler (I)
 - Total 13.5 sq mi (35.0 km2)
 - Land 12.8 sq mi (33.2 km2)
 - Water 0.7 sq mi (1.8 km2)
Population (2006)
 - Total 17,282 (city proper) 63,617 (Micro area)
 Density 1,250.2/sq mi (482.6/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Website City of Marion

Marion is a small city in Southern Illinois and serves the rural area as one of the region's largest retail trade centers. It is located at the intersection of Illinois Route 13 and Interstate 57. Originally platted in 1839 to become the county seat of the newly created Williamson County, it was named after American Revolutionary War hero General Francis "Swamp Fox" Marion.

Today it has 17,282[1] residents, according to a special census conducted in November 2006, and is continuing to grow. The city's longtime municipal leader, Mayor Robert L. "Bob" Butler has borrowed Boston, Massachusetts's nickname, stating the city is "Marion: Hub of the Universe."[2]

It sits at the edge of the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge with the Shawnee National Forest just a few miles away.

Southwest of the city is the United States Penitentiary, Marion, the federal government's replacement for Alcatraz Island prison.[3]


Historic tornado

On May 29, 1982, one of the larger tornadoes in Illinois history, an F-4 (max. wind speeds 207-260 mph), hit the city of Marion, Illinois and Williamson County. Ten people died and 200 people were injured after this tornado ripped across a 17-mile (27 km) stretch. The Shawnee Village apartment complex was destroyed, and the Marion Ford-Mercury dealership sustained heavy damage. This tornado caused between $85.0 million and $100.0 million in damages. A memorial to the ten people who perished that day was later erected on the Tower Square.[4]

The Marion Cultural and Civic Center

In 2004, the Marion Civic Center was awarded the Frank Lloyd Wright Award - Special Recognition from the American Institute of Architects, Illinois Chapter, at the organization's annual ceremony.The 35,000-square-foot (3,300 m2) facility, designed by White and Borgognoni Architects, was completed in June 2004. After a 1997 fire destroyed the city's former civic center, the new facility was crafted using parts of the old Orpheum Theater building.

The grand opening of the Orpheum Theatre was on January 2, 1922. Built in the southwest corner of the downtown square, she was the flag ship of a chain of vaudeville and moving picture theaters constructed to tap into the wealth generated by agriculture and mining in Southern Illinois. The Orpheum Theatre sat over 900, and was ornately decorated in a mix of Renaissance and Neoclassical styles, complete with gold leaf, elaborate plasterwork, and a multicolored terra-cotta facade.

The Orpheum was quite successful until the advent of television. Decreasing profits forced the Orpheum to exclusively be a motion picture theater in the mid-1950s and to close in 1971. The City of Marion purchased the building in 1973 with the intent of constructing a parking lot. The Mayor and the City Council reconsidered their plan when they found that their citizenry was in favor of restoring the old theater for use by the community as a cultural and entertainment center.

During the early morning hours, of March 10, 1997, a blaze quickly raced through the Civic Center, and totally gutted the theater, leaving it a smoldering shell after the blaze was put out. The facade of the Orpheum was salvaged, but the remainder of the theater was razed, and in 2000, it was decided that a new Cultural and Civic Center would be built on the site of the old Orpheum and a couple of other demolished neighboring structures.

Panoramic of Marion, Illinois Square. Taken 1910.

Commerce and industry

Marion is located at the intersection of Interstate 57 and State Route 13 in southern Illinois.

From quaint antique stores to a regional shopping mall, residents and visitors will find a wide variety of retail products and services from which to choose.

Marion's growth is phenomenal. It has become the fastest growing town south of St. Louis, and one of the fastest growing cities in Illinois. Its location, at the crossroads of Rt. 13 and Interstate 57 make it a prime candidate for future growth. One of the largest Wal-Mart Supercenter Stores in the world opened on September 20, 2006. It measures a staggering 206,000 sq ft (19,100 m2) in area, with 36 separate departments and over 500 employees. An equally large Menards store opened on The Hill in November, 2006, adding to further development of Marion's newest commercial district. Other restaurants, such as McAlister's Deli, Sao Asian Bistro[5], and 17th Street Bar And Grill are also located here, as well as banks, hotels and stores.

Marion is home to a U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs hospital and a federal high-security prison.

The newest attraction to open is a Rent One Park, which opened in May 2007, home to the Frontier League's Southern Illinois Miners.[6]

Popular local restaurants in Marion include Walt's,[7] Bennie's, 17th Street Bar and Grill (The only 3-time World Champion in BBQ),[8] La Fiesta and Tequilas, Honeybakers, among many others. Easy access to I-57 has made Marion a market of choice for several popular chain restaurants like Applebee's, Red Lobster and Cracker Barrel.


Marion is located at 37°43′49″N 88°55′49″W / 37.73028°N 88.93028°W / 37.73028; -88.93028 (37.730363, -88.930237)[9].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.5 square miles (35.0 km²), of which, 12.8 square miles (33.2 km²) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km²) of it (5.18%) is water.


At the 2000 census[10], there were 16,035 people, 6,902 households and 4,341 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,250.2 per square mile (482.6/km²). There were 7,555 housing units at an average density of 589.0/sq mi (227.4/km²). The population of Marion continues to grow rapidly. A special census done in 2006 shows the city population rising by more than 900 new citizens, bringing the total population to 17,011.

There were 6,902 households of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.0% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.1% were non-families. 33.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.4% 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 2.86.

Age distribution was 22.8% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 26.5% from 25 to 44, 22.5% from 45 to 64, and 20.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 87.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.4 males.

The median household income was $30,364, and the median family income was $39,275. Males had a median income of $31,520 versus $22,609 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,073. About 11.2% of families and 14.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.9% of those under age 18 and 10.6% of those age 65 or over.

Notable People

  • Robert L. Butler - Mayor of Marion Illinois since 1963.
  • Todd Poe - Major League Baseball Scout for the Atlanta Braves
  • Cory Bailey - Major League Baseball player in the Minors, Majors, and in China.
  • Matt Brown - Freshmen Redshirt QB playing at Illinois State
  • Eric Barrett - Minor League Pitcher in the Atlanta Braves Farm System.
  • Harry L. Crisp II - Owner of Pepsi MidAmerica
  • Ray Fosse - Major League baseball player
  • Rick Droit - Independent recording artist[11]
  • Nancy E. Brown - Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy[12]


Team Sport League Championships Venue
Southern Illinois Miners Baseball Frontier League; West Division Rent One Park


Williamson County Regional Airport serves the city.


External links



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