Cobden, Illinois

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Cobden ( is a village in Union County, Illinois, United States. The population was 1,116 at the 2000 census. It is named after British politician and free-trade advocate Richard Cobden, who visited the town in 1859.[1]



Cobden is located at 37°32′2″N 89°15′19″W / 37.53389°N 89.25528°W / 37.53389; -89.25528 (37.533949, -89.255409).[2]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 1.2 square miles (3.2 km²), all of it land.

Cobden is located near the crest of the Shawnee Hills. It is in "Cobden Col", a valley cut into rock by water near the summit of this ancient mountain range. How could water cut a canyon at the top of a mountain range? About 100,000 years ago, the Illinoian ice sheet covered almost all of Illinois. As it pushed south, the ice sheet climbed the Shawnee Mountains. The height of the ice sheet was much greater than that of the mountains. It stopped before it reached their summits. As it melted, a lake formed between the mountains and the glacier. Cobden Col was the outlet of this lake.


Cobden's claim to fame is its unique mascot, an Appleknocker, or a man with freckles wearing overalls, a flannel shirt, a straw hat, and chewing on a piece of straw. This nickname originated when the high school first began to compete in athletics. It did not yet have a mascot, so other schools made up this derogatory term to insult the new school because of their large industry in peach and apple orchards. However, when Cobden High School played for the state basketball championship in 1964, this mascot became the pride of Cobden and southern Illinois, showing the world what a small town could really do.


As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 1,116 people, 421 households, and 276 families residing in the village. The population density was 908.6 people per square mile (350.3/km²). There were 457 housing units at an average density of 372.1/sq mi (143.5/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 90.68% White, 1.43% African American, 0.63% Native American, 5.73% from other races, and 1.52% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.90% of the population.

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