Grafton, Illinois

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Grafton is the oldest city in Jersey County, Illinois, United States. It is located near the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. The population was 609 at the 2000 census, and the population was 725 in the 2008 official US Census estimate. Prior to the Great Flood of 1993, Grafton had enjoyed a stable population of nearly 1,000 residents. The city's current mayor is Tom Thompson.

Grafton is a part of the Metro-East region and the St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Contents

Geography

Grafton is located at 38°58′16″N 90°26′13″W / 38.97111°N 90.43694°W / 38.97111; -90.43694 (38.971115, -90.436818).[1]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.1 square miles (10.5 km²). None of it is covered by water.

History

Founded in 1832 by James Mason, Grafton is the oldest city in Jersey County. Described as having "a post office, one store, one tavern, and a number of families" in 1834, the area was being settled as early as 1812 when a blockhouse was built at the confluence for protection.[citation needed]

Grafton’s population reached its peak at approximately 10,000 in the 1850s with employment opportunities coming from the local stone quarries, boat building and commercial fishing. The local limestone was used to build the Eads Bridge in St. Louis, a railroad bridge in Hannibal, Missouri, and a bridge in Quincy, Illinois. The Shafer’s Wharf Historic District was one of the largest commercial fishing centers along the Mississippi River in the late 19th century. The Old Boatworks, located south of Main Street, once housed a paint house and a machine shop where paddle wheelers and later PT boats were built. Today, the Old Boatworks building hosts many antique and craft stalls and is open on the fourth weekend of each month from May through October.[2]

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