Colchester, Illinois

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Colchester is a city in McDonough County, Illinois, United States. The population was 1,493 at the 2000 census. The city is named after the provincial town of Colchester, England.



Colchester is located at 40°25′31″N 90°47′32″W / 40.42528°N 90.79222°W / 40.42528; -90.79222 (40.425174, -90.792339).[1]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.0 square miles (2.6 km²), all of it land.

Colchester is home to Argyle Lake State Park.


Coal was discovered near Colchester in the 1850s, but was named after Colchester, England, before coal was discovered. The connection to "coal" is purely coincidental.[2]

The mines in Colchester attracted immigrants from Pennsylvania. At first these included the descendants of Irish Protestant refugees from the Irish Rebellion of 1798. Later they were joined by Irish Catholic refugees from the Irish Potato Famine.

During the 1920s, Colchester was the home of Henry "Kelly" Wagle, a bootlegger associated with Al Capone. Wagle was involved in the production of alcohol, and transportation between Chicago and Kansas City.[2]

On September 11, 1921, members of the disgraced Chicago Black Sox baseball team played with the Colchester team in a game against nearby Macomb. Kelly Wagle paid to bring the players to Colchester[2][3].


As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 1,493 people, 634 households, and 419 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,500.7 people per square mile (582.3/km²). There were 694 housing units at an average density of 697.6/sq mi (270.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 99.40% White, 0.07% Native American, 0.07% Asian, and 0.47% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.60% of the population.

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