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Mount Carmel, Illinois: Wikis


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City of Mount Carmel
Mount Carmel welcome sign facing Indiana bearing its annual Ag Days announcement
Country United States
State Illinois
County Wabash
Precinct Mount Carmel
Coordinates 38°24′53″N 87°46′7″W / 38.41472°N 87.76861°W / 38.41472; -87.76861
Area 4.8 sq mi (12 km2)
 - land 4.6 sq mi (12 km2)
 - water 0.2 sq mi (1 km2), 4.17%
Population 7,982 (2000)
Density 1,728.7 /sq mi (667 /km2)
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Zip Code 62863
Area code Area code 618
Local Numbers
262, 263, 264
Location of Mount Carmel within Illinois
Location of Illinois in the United States

Mount Carmel is the county seat of Wabash County, Illinois. At the time of the 2000 census, the city population was 7,982, while the next largest town in Wabash County is Allendale, Illinois, population 528. The city, sitting at the confluence of the Wabash River, the Patoka River and the White River, Mount Carmel borders both Gibson and Knox Counties of Indiana. A small community known informally as East Mount Carmel sits near the mouth of the Patoka River on the opposite (Gibson County, Indiana) side of the Wabash River from Mount Carmel. Mount Carmel is 5 miles (8.0 km) northeast of the Forest of the Wabash, a National Natural Landmark within Beall Woods State Park and about a mile north-northeast of one of its main employers, the Gibson Generating Station. Mount Carmel is also the home of Wabash Valley College, part of the Community College System of Eastern Illinois.


Employment and environment

Market St. in midsummer

Mount Carmel lost 270 jobs in 2003 to the closing of a Snap-on Tools factory that had been in operation since 1937. However, the town has an unemployment rate of just 4.6%, as of May 2006 [1]. The situation has substantially improved since 1992, when the unemployment rate peaked as high as 15.1% [2]. However, the town incured another significant loss. On April 5, 2007, Foundation Coal Holdings, Inc., of Linthicum Heights, Maryland, announced plans to close the Wabash Mine in nearby Keensburg, Illinois, meaning a loss of nearly 230 jobs in Wabash County.[citation needed]

Duke Energy's Gibson Generating Station is the nearest employer of substantial size. The Gibson County, Indiana power plant is located less than a mile away from Mount Carmel, directly across the river. It is the third largest coal power plant in the world [3], and the ninth largest power plant in the United States [4]. Its pollution has prompted considerable debate, partially because of repeated incidents where the plant created a blue toxic cloud after adding new emissions control systems.[5]

Additional nearby employers include Indiana's Toyota factory, producing the Tundra pickup truck line, and a Champion Laboratories plant in Albion, Illinois that produces air and fuel filters. Local employers include several oil & gas firms, exploiting the Southern Indiana Oil Basin, which extends into Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky, which once had reserves of over four billion barrels of crude oil.


MCHS's Riverview Stadium, affectionately referred to as the Snakepit.

Mount Carmel is home to Wabash Valley College, part of the Illinois Eastern Community Colleges (IECC). The college has 1375 students, and has an active international student program. The small town atmosphere provides a laid back, comfortable setting in which international students may study English as a second language (ESL). As part of the IECC, residents benefit from a reciprocal agreement where some of the out-of-state fees to attend the University of Southern Indiana are waved, in exchange for similar tuition discounts for Indiana students in IECC schools. Their men's basketball team, the Warriors, won the NJCAA Division I championships in 2001.

Mount Carmel's K-12 school district is Wabash Community Schools District 348. It has two elementary schools, divided by grade (South and North Schools), a new middle school Mount Carmel Middle School, built in 2000, and Mount Carmel High School, the only high school in the county. The high school's football team, The Golden Aces, won the class 3A state championships in 1981, and the team made it to the playoffs 21 years in a row. They play at home in Riverview Stadium, more commonly known as the Snakepit.[6] The stadium is notable for having been built into the side of a large hill. The school's business communications class teaches students webpage construction and the students design and maintain numerous sites for businesses in town.


Bridge over the Wabash River formerly featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not! The bridge is in the process of being replaced with a wider bridge.

Mount Carmel is located at 38°24′53″N 87°46′7″W / 38.41472°N 87.76861°W / 38.41472; -87.76861 (38.414859, -87.768596)[7] on the Wabash River, which demarcates the Indiana border. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.8 square miles (12.4 km²), of which, 4.6 square miles (12.0 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.4 km²) of it (3.14%) is water.

The city was featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not! for its once multi-colored bridge over the Wabash, painted white and black on the Illinois and Indiana sides of the state line, respectively. The bridge, now entirely green, connects Princeton, Indiana to Mount Carmel via Indiana State Road 64 and Illinois Route 15.[8] Illinois Route 1 and Illinois Route 15 meet just a few blocks from the bridge. One rail bridge runs parallel to the IN-64/IL-15 bridge, and another sits just a few miles south, near the southern most edge of the city. There are plans to build a new bridge while Indiana prepares to expand Indiana 64 to a four-lane highway as part of their Major Moves Project.[9]


Mount Carmel is within the Wabash Valley seismic zone. On April 18, 2008 at 09:36:56 UTC (04:36:56 Central) an earthquake of 5.2 magnitude was centered near the city, and just hours later an aftershock of 4.6 magnitude shook Mt. Carmel and its residences. It was felt widespread across southern Illinois and eastern portions of Missouri including St. Louis, 123 miles (198 km) away. Aftershocks continued into July.[10][11][12][13]


Cherry St. near 7th street is home to some of the oldest homes in Mount Carmel, and still retains its brick surface and sidewalk.

As of the census[14] of 2000, there were 7,982 people, 3,302 households, and 2,146 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,728.7 people per square mile (667.1/km²). There were 3,653 housing units at an average density of 791.2/sq mi (305.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.69% White, 0.48% African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.51% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 0.29% from other races, and 0.76% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.86% of the population.

There were 3,302 households out of which 29.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.2% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.0% were non-families. 30.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.6% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 19.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there are 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 88.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,715, and the median income for a family was $39,882. Males had a median income of $30,815 versus $17,129 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,391. Median house value is $51,200. About 10.2% of families and 15.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.5% of those under age 18 and 9.3% of those age 65 or over.

Notable residents

Other residents
  • Colonel Theodore S. Bowers (1832-1866), editor of the Mount Carmel Register newspaper, served on the personal staff of Ulysses S. Grant during most of the American Civil War. He was present at the Confederate surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.[15] [16]
  • During brief intervals, Broadway and television actress Nancy Dussault resided in Mount Carmel.
  • Indiana University basketball great Archie Dees, born in Mississippi, played his junior and senior years at Mount Carmel High School.
  • George W. Fithian (D) worked as a printer in Mount Carmel before going on to serve as U.S. Representative from Illinois from 1889-1895.
  • Orlando B. Ficklin (D) worked as a lawyer in Mount Carmel before going on to serve as U.S. Representative from Illinois from 1851-1853.
  • Silas Z. Landes (D) worked as a lawyer in Mount Carmel before going on to serve as U.S. Representative from Illinois from 1885-1889.
  • Juanita Havill Children's author known for the Jamaica Books.

External links


  1. ^ Illinois unemployment rates by county
  2. ^ Historical unemployment data
  3. ^ Attractions in Gibson County
  4. ^ Department of Energy listing of power plants by capacity
  5. ^ Indiana Law Blog discussing sulfur release & reprinting Princeton Clarion article on same topic
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  8. ^ Wabash County Museum - Crossing the Wabash
  9. ^ INDOT information on SR 64 bridge project
  10. ^ Television reports, KSDK, "Early Today", "Today in St. Louis at 5:00", April 18, 2008
  11. ^
  12. ^ Magnitude 5.2 - ILLINOIS
  13. ^
  14. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  15. ^ Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1891, vol. 1, p. 337.
  16. ^ American Service Magazine, vol. 5, April 1866, p. 360-363

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