Wilmington, Will County, Illinois

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Wilmington is a city in Will County, Illinois, United States. The population was 5,134 at the 2000 census.

Contents

Geography

Wilmington is located at 41°18′27″N 88°8′46″W / 41.3075°N 88.14611°W / 41.3075; -88.14611 (41.307515, -88.146143).[1] It is located on the banks of the Kankakee River, approximately 50 miles (80 km) southwest of Chicago and 15 miles (24 km) south of Joliet.

One of Wilmington's most notable geographical features is a large island in the Kankakee River, much of which is occupied by a city park. This island divides the river into a large channel and a smaller one which was used as a natural mill race during the early years of the city. The island is the source of the city's nickname, "The Island City."

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.5 square miles (11.7 km²), of which, 4.2 square miles (10.9 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.8 km²) of it (6.86%) is water.

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

Today Midewin is one of the nation’s largest efforts to reverse the loss of its historic prairie and wetland ecosystems. In the future, the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie will have more than 19,000 acres (77 km2) of restored native habitat.

30239 South State Route 53 | Wilmington, Illinois 60481 Voice: (815) 423-6370 | Fax: (815) 423-6376

History

Thomas Cox purchased land near Alden's Island in 1834 and built a sawmill, corn cracker, gristmill, and a carding machine.

Wilmington was founded by Thomas Cox in the spring of 1836 as the town of "Winchester." The name was changed to Wilmington in 1838. The village of Wilmington was officially incorporated in 1854. An accidental discovery of coal occurred in 1863 by William Henneberry, and as a result, Wilmington was incorporated as a city. John H. Daniels served as Wilmington's first mayor.

Wilmington later became famous for being a stop on U.S. Route 66, which followed the route of modern-day Illinois Route 53. The only rest-inn in the town is called "Van Duyne's" and is situated right on old Route 66. A notable attraction for travelers along this route is the "Gemini Giant" Muffler Man type statue located next to the Launching Pad fast food restaurant.

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