Beaverville, Illinois

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Beaverville (formerly St. Marye) is a village in Beaverville Township, Iroquois County, Illinois, United States. The population was 391 at the 2000 census.



The legend of the founding of St. Marie says that thirty-two families from the area of Montreal, Canada, mostly newlywed or single came up the St. Lawrence River in search of farmland on the prairie. They traveled across the Great Lakes and stopped at Fort Dearborn (Chicago). Then they pushed south through the swamps and frontier until they reached what is now Beaverville. The settlement in 1851 was led by Francise Besse, who became a general merchant. The group consisted of families with names such as Fortin, Dionne, Boudreau, Benoit, Nourie, LaFond, and at least six Arseneau families. They settled here because of the good land and the many creeks. In 1905, the village name, St. Marie, was changed to Beaverville, when the village founders realized that there was another town in Illinois named St. Mary.[2]

The town's current name was inspired by the profusion of beavers in the area in the early 19th century, when Beaver Lake right across the border in Indiana still existed.

The Cathedral of the Cornfields

Beaverville is home to St. Mary's Catholic Church, known as the "Prairie Cathedral" or the "Cathedral of the Cornfields." Built in 1909, the structure is recorded in the National Register of Historic Places, and is large enough that its red, clay-tile roof can be seen from several miles away.


Beaverville is located at 40°57′16″N 87°39′14″W / 40.95444°N 87.65389°W / 40.95444; -87.65389 (40.954567, -87.654016)[3].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a area of 0.3 square miles (0.7 km²), all of it land.


As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 391 people, 151 households, and 104 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,491.4 people per square mile (580.6/km²). There were 162 housing units at an average density of 617.9/sq mi (240.6/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 99.23% White, 0.26% Asian, 0.26% from other races, and 0.26% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.51% of the population.

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