Zion, Illinois

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Zion is a city in Lake County, Illinois, United States. The population was 22,866 at the 2000 census, and estimated at 24,303 as of 2005. The city was founded in July 1901 by John Alexander Dowie. He also started the Zion Tabernacle of the Christian Catholic Apostolic Church, which was the only church in town. It was built in the early 1900s and burned down in 1937.[1]

Contents

Geography

Zion is located at 42°27′12″N 87°50′25″W / 42.45333°N 87.84028°W / 42.45333; -87.84028 (42.453221, -87.840222).[2]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.2 square miles (21.2 km²), all of it land.

The city is one of only a few in the world to have ever been completely planned out before building. Dr. Dowie modeled the city layout after the Union Flag, because he was originally from Scotland and Australia.[citation needed] In the planning stage he mailed the mayors of many large cities across the world for suggestions on how to design the best city possible. A few of the recommendations were:

  • Make provisions for alley ways for utilities and garbage removal, and help keep the city looking clean
  • Have the houses face east and west so that thermal heat from the sun could be used to reduce heating bills
  • Build as many parks as possible

Some of the diagonal roads were never completed. The north-south roads in the original plan are all named from the Bible except for two. Caledonia which is the Roman word for Scotland, Dr. Dowie’s native country, and Edina Blvd. which is named for an old Roman abbreviation for the City of Edinburgh, Dr. Dowie’s birthplace. The original east-west roads are numbered starting with 1 at the state line (now called Russell Rd.), although there are now new east-west roads which bear names. The city used to extend all of the way down to the lakefront until the state bought it to preserve the beach. Because most of the houses on the lakefront were owned by wealthy citizens, most of them were moved to places around what is now Sheridan Rd.

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