Arcola, Illinois

Last updated
Arcola IL E Main St.jpg
Main St, Arcola
Douglas County Illinois Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Arcola Highlighted.svg
Location of Arcola in Douglas County, Illinois
Illinois in United States (US48).svg
Location of Illinois in the United States
Coordinates: 39°41′1″N88°18′21″W / 39.68361°N 88.30583°W / 39.68361; -88.30583 Coordinates: 39°41′1″N88°18′21″W / 39.68361°N 88.30583°W / 39.68361; -88.30583
CountryFlag of the United States.svg  United States
StateFlag of Illinois.svg  Illinois
County Douglas
Township Arcola
  Total2.04 sq mi (5.29 km2)
  Land2.02 sq mi (5.24 km2)
  Water0.02 sq mi (0.06 km2)
677 ft (206 m)
  Density1,446.86/sq mi (558.67/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
  Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Code(s)
Area code 217
FIPS code 17-01881
Wikimedia CommonsArcola, Illinois

Arcola is a city in Douglas County, Illinois, United States. The population was 2,916 at the 2010 census. The city was founded in 1855, when the Illinois Central Railroad was built through the county. The railroad itself was responsible for surveying, platting and founding the town.



Arcola was the birthplace in 1880 of John Barton Gruelle, or "Johnny" Gruelle, who created Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy, the loveable American dolls and storybook characters. He used artistic skills learned from his painter father, Richard Buckner Gruelle, combined with his self-taught writing skills to create stories expressing regional values and aesthetic images. His artistic granddaughter, Joni Gruelle Wannamaker, manages the Raggedy Ann Museum in Arcola.

Detail from Bob Moomaw's Hippie Memorial Hippie memorial peace sign.jpg
Detail from Bob Moomaw's Hippie Memorial

A nationally known tourist attraction, Rockome Gardens, which featured large formal gardens, concrete fencing and architecture, and many Amish-influenced attractions was located just outside of Arcola. Rockome Gardens was built in 1937 and was operated for nearly 80 years by members of the local Old Order Amish community. In 2015, the Rockome Gardens property was sold to a local developer and has since been converted into Aikman Wildlife Adventure, a drive-through wildlife park which officially launched in 2016. [2]

Arcola is also known for housing the world's only Hippie Memorial, created by Bob Moomaw, who died in 1998. He worked as a railroad clerk and tax assessor, but did not like either job. As an eccentric, independent artist with strong beliefs, he was able to give voice to his feelings, passions and opinions through his art and the writing on the sides of his buildings. He created the 62-foot-long artwork starting in 1992 to say something about his life and the era during which he lived. A nearby marker gives an interpretation of his work.

In the countryside surrounding nearby Arthur, Illinois, is a prominent community of Old Order Amish, the largest in Illinois. Amish farms occupy much of the farmland west of Arcola, with the highest concentration of Amish businesses around Arthur and the unincorporated communities of Chesterville, Bourbon, and Cadwell. Arcola is home to the Illinois Amish Interpretive Center. The Old Order Amish Museum opened in 1996 and features exhibits on most aspects of Amish life, as well as an introductory video about the Central Illinois Amish. Through the museum, tours can be scheduled of the Amish countryside, Amish homes, farms, and businesses; meals in Amish homes can be scheduled as well.

Arcola is somewhat known for the Lawn Rangers, a "precision lawn mower drill team" that marches in formation with brooms and lawn mowers while wearing cowboy hats. Every year since 1980, the Lawn Rangers have marched in the Arcola Broom Corn Festival Parade. The event, held the weekend after Labor Day, honors Arcola's position in the late 19th century as a center of broom corn production. The Grand Marshal of the Parade in 1980 was Clayton Moore, famous as the Lone Ranger, and the team was named in his honor. This unique custom was publicized by humor columnist Dave Barry, who marched with the Lawn Rangers in 1995.

Arcola is also home to Libman Company. This mop and broom making company can boast to be the only major cleaning product company that manufactures their mops and brooms in America. The nickname "broomtown" was given to Arcola because William Libman is a major employer of the city employing 600 people.


Grain elevators at the intersection of Route 133 and US Route 45 Arcola IL.jpg
Grain elevators at the intersection of Route 133 and US Route 45

Arcola is located at 39°41′1″N88°18′21″W / 39.68361°N 88.30583°W / 39.68361; -88.30583 (39.683545, -88.305844). [3] US Route 45 & Illinois Route 133 run through the town.

According to the 2010 census, Arcola has a total area of 2.021 square miles (5.23 km2), of which 2 square miles (5.18 km2) (or 98.96%) is land and 0.021 square miles (0.05 km2) (or 1.04%) is water. [4]


Historical population
1880 1,515
1890 1,73314.4%
1900 1,99515.1%
1910 2,1005.3%
1920 1,831−12.8%
1930 1,686−7.9%
1940 1,8379.0%
1950 1,700−7.5%
1960 2,27333.7%
1970 2,2760.1%
1980 2,71419.2%
1990 2,678−1.3%
2000 2,652−1.0%
2010 2,91610.0%
2020 2,9270.4%
U.S. Decennial Census [5]

At the 2000 census, [6] there were 2,652 people, 1,031 households and 748 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,938.9 inhabitants per square mile (748.6/km2). There were 1,080 housing units at an average density of 789.6 per square mile (304.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.40% White, 0.26% African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.79% Asian, 8.03% from other races, and 1.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 19.87% of the population.

There were 1,031 households, of which 33.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.7% were married couples living together, 8.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.4% were non-families. 24.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.03.

25.7% of the population were under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.2 males.

The median household income was $38,125, and the median family income was $46,107. Males had a median income of $30,168 versus $22,723 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,664. About 2.0% of families and 3.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.1% of those under age 18 and 2.9% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people

See also

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  1. "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  2. "Rockome Gardens - An Amish Themepark".
  3. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  4. "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2015-12-25.
  5. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  6. "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved 2008-01-31.