Gilman, Illinois

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Gilman is a city in Douglas Township, Iroquois County, Illinois, United States. The population was 1,793 at the 2000 census.



Gilman is located in the western part of the county at the intersection of three major highways: Interstate 57, U.S. Route 24, and U.S. Route 45. As a result it has been named "The City of the Crossroads". Amtrak, the national passenger rail service, provides service at the Gilman Amtrak station. Gilman has one known celebrity, Nancy Walker, she walks a lot

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.13 square miles (5.5 km2), of which 0.02 square miles (0.052 km2) (or 0.94%) is water.


Founding of Gilman

Gilman Illinois was laid out in the fall of 1857 on land belonging to E.D. Hundley, Judge John Chamberlain (24 October 1803 – 16 December 1866), and three Methodist ministers: Walter C. Palmer, Joseph Hartwell, and John Dempster. Hundley, who was from Virginia, left Illinois for the South at the outbreak of the Civil War. The three ministers, who had been given their land by Mr. Cassady of Danville, played no further role in the development of the town. Judge Chamberlain was the man most responsible for the early growth of Gilman.[2] He was born in Charleston, New Hampshire, the son of a lawyer. Chamberlain had served in the New York Legislature and had moved to Iroquois County in 1853. He was elected judge, was active in county politics, and died in Watseka, Illinois.[3] Chamberlain took as a partner Joseph Thomas ( ? -1858) from nearby Onarga. The town of Gilman was founded at the point where the Peoria and Oquawka Railroad would soon cross the Illinois Central Railroad. The Peoria and Oquawka became the Toledo, Peoria and Western Railway. In return for establishing a station at Gilman Octave Chanute, the Chief Engineer of the Peoria and Oquawka Railroad, asked for and was given one half of all the lots in the original town of Gilman. This was standard practice for the railroad and was done at El Paso, Fairbury and probably other new towns established along the route of the railroad. Town founders were aware that the lots were not personally for Chanute, but for the railroad company;[4] Today Octave Chanute is best known for his publications on aviation and for his assistance to the Wright brothers. Chanute was involved in the foundation of many towns along the railroad, usually in association with local individuals. Railroad companies in Illinois were forbidden to found towns themselves.[5] Iroquois Democrats had wanted to name the town Douglas, after the Illinois senator,[6] but Cruger Secor and Company had been given the right to name the town and they decided to honor Samuel Gilman, a director of that company.[7]

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