Marion, Illinois

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The city of Marion is the county seat of Williamson County, Illinois located in the Southern Illinois region of the state. Marion serves the rural area as one of the region's largest retail trade centers. Neighboring Carbondale also serves Southern Illinois as one of the region's largest retail trade centers. Originally platted in 1839 to become the county seat of the newly created Williamson County, it was named after American Revolutionary War hero General Francis "Swamp Fox" Marion.

Today it has 17,388 residents, according to a special census conducted in 2008, a stark comparison to the population of 10,000 that the city held for nearly a century before Bob Butler became mayor.[1] The city's longtime municipal leader, Mayor Robert L. "Bob" Butler has borrowed Boston, Massachusetts's nickname, stating the city is "Marion: Hub of the Universe."[2] The city is split up between the West Marion and East Marion townships, and is a member of both the center of the Marion-Herrin Micropolitan Area and the Carbondale-Marion-Herrin, Illinois Combined Statistical Area with 123,272 residents. The city is also part of the Metro Lakeland area.

It sits at the edge of the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge with the Shawnee National Forest just a few miles away.

Southwest of the city is the United States Penitentiary, Marion, the federal government's replacement for Alcatraz Island prison.[3]

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