History, Geography, Homes, and State Resources of Illinois
Illinois USA Map
Illinois happens to be one of the more perfect places to relocate to. In what other state can you get an excellent education with a wide variety of universities
colleges and experience numerous cultures in any area of the state? Illinois also provides a good deal of entertainment for family and education along with many
eating and shopping experiences.
The state also provides a diversity of family programs such as the Kidcare program. The Kidcare program provides advantages for pregnant women and children less
than 18 years of age. Kidcare is a program of health insurance available for no or little cost to enrollees. There is also LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy
Assistance Program). The program was designed to assist low-income households who are eligible pay for energy services during the winter.
French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet, in 1673, were the first Europeans of record to visit the region. In 1699 French settlers established the first
permanent settlement at Cahokia, near present-day East St. Louis. Great Britain obtained the region at the end of the French and Indian Wars in 1763. The area figured
prominently in frontier struggles during the Revolutionary War and in Indian wars during the early 19th century.
Significant episodes in the state's early history include the influx of settlers following the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825; the Black Hawk War, which virtually
ended the Indian troubles in the area; and the rise of Abraham Lincoln from farm laborer to president.
Illinois has a temperate climate, with cold, snowy winters with hot, wet summers—ideal weather for corn and hogs. The seasons are sharply differentiated: mean winter temperatures are 22°F in the north and 37°F in the southern
portion; mean summer temperatures are 70°F in the north and 77°F in the south. A record high
of 117°F set at East St. Louis on July 14, 1954; the record low, –36°F was registered at Congerville on January
There are eleven "National Universities" in the state. As of August 19, 2010, six of them ranked in the "first tier". The University of Chicago is consistently ranked as one of
the top ten universities in the world in various independent university rankings, and its Booth School of Business,
The Illinois economy includes many industries. The Chicago metropolitan area is home to many of the United States' largest companies, including Boeing, McDonald's, Motorola, and United Airlines. The Chicago area economy headquarters a wide variety of financial institutions, and is home to the largest futures exchange in the world, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
Flora and Fauna
Illinois State Flower - Violet
Illinois State Tree (White Oak)
Urbanization and commercial development have taken a heavy toll on the plant and animal resources of Illinois. Northern and central Illinois once supported typical prairie flora, but nearly all the land has been
taken up by crops, roads, and suburban lawns. About 90% of the oak and hickory
forests that once were common in the north have been cut down for fuel and
lumber. In the forests that do remain, mostly in the south, typical trees are
black oak, sugar maple, box elder, slippery elm, beech, shagbark hickory, white
ash, sycamore, black walnut, sweet gum, cottonwood, black willow, and jack pine.
Characteristic wildflowers are the Chase aster, French's shooting star, lupine,
primrose violet, purple trillium, small fringed gentian, and yellow fringed
Before 1800, wildlife was abundant on the prairies, however the bear, bison, elk, and wolves that once roamed freely have long since vanished. The white-tailed deer (the state animal) disappeared in 1910 but was successfully reintroduced in 1933 by the Department of Conservation. Among the state's fur-bearing mammals are opossum, raccoon, mink, red and gray foxes, and muskrat.
Over 350 birds have been identified, with such game birds as ruffed grouse, wild turkey, and bobwhite quail especially prized. Other indigenous birds are the cardinal (the state bird), horned lark, blue jay, purple martin, black-capped chickadee, tufted titmouse, bluebird, cedar waxwing, great crested flycatcher, and yellow-shafted flicker. Mallard and black ducks are common, and several subspecies of Canada goose are also found.
The state claims 17 types of native turtle, 46 kinds of snake, 19 varieties of salamander, and 21 types of frog and toad. Heavy industrial and sewage pollution have eliminated most native fish, except for the durable carp and catfish. Coho salmon were introduced into Lake Michigan in the 1960s, thus reviving sport fishing.
The Illinois State Capitol, located in Springfield, Illinois, houses legislative and the executive branches of the government of Illinois. The current building is the sixth to serve as the capitol since Illinois was admitted to the United States in 1818. Built in the architectural styles of the French Renaissance and Italianate, it was designed by Cochrane and Garnsey, an architecture and design firm based in Chicago. Ground was broken for the new capitol on March 11, 1868, and it was completed twenty years later for a total cost of $4,500,000.
The executive officers elected statewide are the governor and lieutenant governor (who run jointly), secretary of state, treasurer, comptroller, and attorney general. Each serves a four-year term and is eligible for reelection. An important revision of appointive offices in 1917 made most agency heads responsible to the governor. In the 1970s, the governor's office expanded its control over the budget and the higher education complex, further augmenting an already strong executive position.
The governor must be a US citizen, at least 25 years old, and must have been a state resident for three years prior to election.
Qualified voters must be US citizens at least 18 years old and not able to claim the right to vote elsewhere. There is a 30-day precinct residency requirement. Jailed felons may not vote.
Illinois' most famous city, the Windy City, as it's known, sits on the shore of Lake Michigan. It's home to numerous cultural attractions and fantastic buildings designed by architects like Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan. The city of Springfield, the state capital, is the home of Abraham Lincoln and its many tourist attractions include the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Dana-Thomas House. Throughout the state, you will find interesting things to do, from exploring a prehistoric Indian settlement at Cahokia Mounds to visiting the tranquil Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford.
An indoor waterpark resort in Utica, Illinois next to Starved Rock State Park. The three-story resort has hotel-style rooms, log cabins and villas, an indoor waterpark, a fitness center, and 2 conference rooms.
The waterpark is 24,000-square-foot in size and includes a wavepool, a kiddie pool, two water slides, a lazy river, a hot tub, and an interactive water play area. Both slides empty into the Lazy River which is a fast-paced indoor river.
The Enchanted Forest is a mini theme park within the resort that includes rides, arcade games, a ropes course, and laser tag. The laser tag has an alien invasion theme.
Adjacent to the water park is an arcade with a wide array of activities including racing, shooting, sword-fighting, ticket-redemption games, capsule machines, and sport-related machines.
Bear Island is a playground for smaller children and features an 18-hole mini-golf course.
The resort includes several restaurants including Lumber Jack's Pizzeria and Sports bar, The Wave Snack Shop, The Honey Pot Sweet Shop, and Grizzly Bean Cafe.
Santa's Village AZoosment Park (formerly known as Santa's Village) is a theme park in East Dundee, Illinois. It was originally built by Glenn Holland, who also built two other Santa's Villages, in California; one located in San Bernardino County and the other in Santa Cruz County. The Illinois park, the third to be built, was intended to be the flagship of a chain of Santa's Villages across the country.
The buildings were modeled on what an average child might imagine Santa's Village would look like. When it opened, it was a very prominent theme park. Over the park's history more than 20 million people passed through the front gates.
Six Flags Great America is an amusement park located in Gurnee, Illinois. Originally opened in 1976 by the Marriott Corporation as Marriott's Great America, Six Flags has owned and operated the park since 1984. It features
10 themed areas and 16 roller coasters, as well as a 20 acre water park called Hurricane Harbor. Over 3 million guests visited the park in 2017, ranking it among the top 20 amusement parks in North America for attendance.
Hurricane Harbor is the name of a chain of water parks that are part of the Six Flags theme park chain. Although the parks are not identical, common features include a variety of body slides, speed slides, tube slides, wave pools, lazy rivers, and shopping areas.
The American Legacy of the Cherokee Trail of Tears Image by Paul Andrews
Between May 1804 and September 1806, 31 men, one woman, and a baby traveled from the plains of the Midwest to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. They called themselves the Corps of Discovery. In their search for a water route to the Pacific Ocean, they opened a window into the west for the young United States. Read the Lewis and Clark Pups blog, the Newfie News!
Abraham Lincoln believed in the ideal that everyone in America should have the opportunity to improve his/her economic and social condition. Lincoln’s life was the embodiment of that idea. We know him as the sixteenth president but he was also a spouse, parent, and neighbor who experienced the same hopes, dreams, and challenges of life that are still experienced by many people.
Remember and commemorate the survival of the Cherokee people, forcefully removed from their homelands in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee to live in Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. They traveled by foot, horse, wagon, or steamboat in 1838-1839.
The only National Forest in Illinois, Shawnee is located in the southern part of the state and contains seven wilderness areas, including the Garden of the Gods. Among the many miles of hiking trails in the forest is the River to River Trail, which is 160 miles
Every major sports league has teams headquartered in Chicago. Two Major League Baseball teams are located in the state. The Chicago Cubs of the National League play in
the second-oldest major league stadium (Wrigley Field) and are widely known for having the longest championship drought in all of major American sport: not winning the
World Series since 1908. That drought finally came to an end when the Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians in seven games to win the 2016 World Series. The Chicago
White Sox of the American League won the World Series in 2005, their first since 1917. They play on the city's south side at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The Chicago Bears football team has won nine total NFL Championships, the last occurring in Super Bowl XX on January 26, 1986. The Chicago Bulls of the NBA is one of the
most recognized basketball teams in the world, due largely to the efforts of Michael Jordan, who led the team to six NBA championships in eight seasons in the 1990s. The
Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL began playing in 1926, and became a member of the Original Six once the NHL dropped to that number of teams during World War II. The
Blackhawks have won six Stanley Cups, most recently in 2015. The Chicago Fire is a member of MLS and has been one of the league's most successful and best-supported clubs
since its founding in 1997, winning one league and four Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups in that timespan. The team plays in Bridgeview, adjacent to Chicago.
There are two rates for state sales tax: 6.25% for general merchandise and 1%
for qualifying food, drugs, and medical appliances.
The state income tax is calculated by multiplying net income by a flat rate. In 1990, that rate was set at 3%, but in 2010, the General Assembly voted in a temporary increase in the rate to 5%; the new rate went into effect on January 1, 2011; the personal income rate partially sunset on January 1, 2015 to 3.75%, while the corporate income tax
dropped to 5.25%. Property taxes are a major source of tax revenue for local government taxing districts.
Income tax: 4.95%, flat rate
Sales tax: 6.25% - 10.75%
Property tax: 2.30% average effective rate
Gas tax: 35.05 cents per gallon of regular gasoline, 38.57 cents per gallon of diesel
Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat on display in O'Hare's Terminal 2, restored in the markings of "Butch" O'Hare's plane
There are 119 airports in Illinois for public use. Illinois airports are the gateway to a multicultural Greater America. Illinois Airports use the latest technology. The Illinois airport systems are the second largest in the US.
Illinois attracts people from around the world with its booming economy and multicultural metropolis. The airports in Illinois are among the top airports in the US. Some of Illinois' international airports include Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Chicago Midway International Airport, Quad City International Airport, Clow International Airport, Lawrenceville-Vincennes International Airport and Chicago / Rockford International Airport.
The Chicago O'Hare International Airport operates nearly 40 airlines. In 2005 he was classified as the busiest airport in the world. Prominent airlines include United Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Delta Airlines, Japan Airlines, American Airlines, Air France and Air Canada. The airport has many convenience stores, snack bars, restaurants and a full-service business center for the time-conscious business people.
Amenities at the Greater Peoria Regional Airport include wireless internet, a business lounge, ATMs, two meeting rooms, shuttle buses, restaurants and souvenir shops. The airlines operating from Peoria Airport are Allegiant Air, American Eagle, Delta Connection, Northwest Airlink and United Express.
Harbors & Ports
Generally, the Chicago Harbor comprises the public rivers, canals, and lakes within the territorial limits of the City of Chicago and all connecting slips, basins, piers, breakwaters, and permanent structures therein for a distance of three miles from the shore between the extended north and south lines of the city. The greater Chicago Harbor includes portions of the Chicago River, the Calumet River, the Ogden Canal, the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, Lake Calumet, and Lake Michigan.
The Port of Chicago is located within the greater Chicago Harbor in and around Calumet Harbor, the Calumet River, and Lake Calumet.
Illinois has an extensive passenger and freight rail transportation network. Chicago is a national Amtrak hub and in-state passengers are served by Amtrak's Illinois Service, featuring the Chicago to Carbondale Illini and Saluki, the Chicago to Quincy Carl Sandburg and Illinois Zephyr, and the Chicago to St. Louis Lincoln Service. Currently there is trackwork on the Chicago–St. Louis line to bring the maximum speed up to 110 mph, which would reduce the trip time by an hour and a half. Nearly every North American railway meets at Chicago, making it the largest and most active rail hub in the country. Extensive commuter rail is provided in the city proper and some immediate suburbs by the Chicago Transit Authority's 'L' system. One of the largest suburban commuter rail system in the United States, operated by Metra, uses existing rail lines to provide direct commuter rail access for hundreds of suburbs to the city and beyond.
In addition to the state's rail lines, the Mississippi River and Illinois River provide major transportation routes for the state's agricultural interests. Lake Michigan gives Illinois access to the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Saint Lawrence Seaway.
Illinois has a well developed interstate highway system. Illinois has the
distinction of having the most primary (two-digit) interstates pass through it
among all the 50 states with 13.
The median home value in Illinois is $176,800. Illinois home values have gone up 4.9% over the past year and predictions
are they will rise 5.2% within the next year. The median list price per square foot in Illinois is $149. The median price of homes currently listed in Illinois is $229,900 while the median price of homes that sold is $197,500. The median rent price in Illinois is $1,600.
Illinois is divided into 102 counties and contains 1,299 incorporated municipalities consisting of cities, towns, and villages. Chicago has the largest population with 2,695,598 people while
while Valley City is the smallest with a population of just 13