Location of Benld in Macoupin County, Illinois.
Location of Illinois in the United States
Coordinates: 39°05′35″N 089°48′08″W / 39.09306°N 89.80222°W / 39.09306; -89.80222Coordinates: 39°05′35″N 089°48′08″W / 39.09306°N 89.80222°W / 39.09306; -89.80222
CountryUnited States
 • Total1.06 sq mi (2.75 km2)
 • Land1.06 sq mi (2.75 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
620 ft (190 m)
 • Total1,556
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,341.51/sq mi (517.95/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)217
FIPS code17-05209

Benld /bəˈnɛld/ is a city in Macoupin County, Illinois, United States. The population was 1,556 at the 2010 census. The name derives from founder Benjamin L. Dorsey (d. June 19, 1895).

Benld is located in the Metro-East portion of the Greater St. Louis, Missouri metropolitan area.

Dorsey was responsible for gaining the land on which the town was built and coal mining rights. When it came time to name the village, he took the combination of his first name and his middle and last initial.[4][5] Benld was declared the "most difficult to pronounce" place name in the state of Illinois by Reader's Digest.[6]


Benld is located at 39°5′37″N 89°48′15″W / 39.09361°N 89.80417°W / 39.09361; -89.80417 (39.093555, -89.804260).[7]

According to the 2010 census, Benld has a total area of 1.06 square miles (2.75 km2), all land.[8]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)1,422[2]−8.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 1,541 people, 676 households, and 415 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,455.9 people per square mile (561.3 per km2). There were 772 housing units at an average density of 729.4 per square mile (281.2 per km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.25% White, 0.52% African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.45% from other races, and 0.58% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.97% of the population.

There were 676 households, of which 26.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.3% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.5% were non-families. 34.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 20.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 24.3% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 27.1% from 25 to 44, 18.8% from 45 to 64, and 21.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,395, and the median income for a family was $36,953. Males had a median income of $30,054 versus $19,400 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,521. About 9.7% of families and 14.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.7% of those under age 18 and 7.0% of those age 65 or over.


Photo of the car seat and muffler hit by the Benld meteorite with the meteorite inset.
Photo of the car seat and muffler hit by the Benld meteorite with the meteorite inset.

Benld was founded in 1903.[11]

On September 29, 1938, a meteorite landed in Benld, marking only the third meteorite landing in Illinois since records were kept.[12] The meteorite was also one of the few known meteorites to strike a man-made object, punching a hole in the roof of Edward McCain's garage and embedding itself in the seat of his 1928 Pontiac Coupe. A neighbor, Mrs. Carl Crum, was standing about fifty feet from the impact and may be the individual who came closest to being struck by a meteorite in history up to that time.[13] The meteorite and portions of the car are now on display at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.[14]

In March 2009, the 7 year old Benld Elementary school was damaged beyond repair and ultimately condemned. This damage was caused by mine subsidence. This left 700+ students without a school. The students were then moved to the Gillespie High School and Middle School campus where they finished the remainder of the year on a split shift schedule. High school and middle school students attended school from 6:30am -Noon and elementary aged students attended from 12:30pm until 5:00pm. The students started the 2010 school year on the split shift. November 2, 2010 all students returned to a normal schedule with the elementary kids now attending class in 3 different locations.(modular units, middle school classrooms & the S.S. Simon & Jude Catholic School) The district was allowed to collect only $350,000 in mine subsidence insurance due to limits imposed by the state of Illinois. The district is in line to receive funding from the Capital Development Board to help with the construction of a new elementary school. The school is responsible for 20% of the $22million budget to build a new school. The school district is actively pursuing grants to fulfill their responsibility. The Ben-Gil Boosters, an organization formed to help raise funds for the construction of the new school, won $250,000 in April 2010 through Pepsi's Refresh Everything Campaign.[15] The new school is adjacent to the district's middle school and high school in Gillespie, Illinois. Its name has been changed to Ben-Gil Elementary School, to reflect both communities.

At a special CUSD 7 Board of Education meeting on Aug. 16, 2017, the board approved a $4 million settlement with Union Pacific Railroad, legal owners of the assets of the former Superior Coal Company, in connection with the subsidence. Originally, the district had been awarded $9.85 million in 2014, but Union Pacific appealed that ruling.[16]

Notable person

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  3. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Benld, Illinois
  4. ^ Benld Chamber (Macoupin)[permanent dead link], accessed 2007-10-14
  5. ^ Temple, Robert D. Edge Effects: The Border-Name Places, (2nd edition, 2009), iUniverse, ISBN 978-0-595-47758-6, page 323.
  6. ^ Cahn, Lauren. "The Most Difficult-to-Pronounce Town in Every Single State". Reader's Digest. Archived from the original on 26 June 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  8. ^ "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2015-12-25.
  9. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  10. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  11. ^ Chicago and North Western Railway Company (1908). A History of the Origin of the Place Names Connected with the Chicago & North Western and Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railways. p. 43.
  12. ^ "Illinois Meteorites". Retrieved 2018-06-11.
  13. ^ "Three Point Landing". Time. 1939-01-23. Archived from the original on October 20, 2012.
  14. ^ Nuñez, Clarita; Irving L. Diamond. "Meteorites at the Field Museum" (PDF). Field Museum of Natural History. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-10-14.
  15. ^ "To rebuild our grade school that was destroyed in March of 2009". Archived from the original on 25 November 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  16. ^ "CUSD 7 approves $4 million Union Pacific settlement - Enquirer Democrat". Enquirer Democrat. 2017-08-17. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  17. ^ 'Illinois Blue Book 1981-1982,' Biographical Sketch of A. C. "Junie" Bartulis, pg. 167