Gibson City
The BIG LITTLE CITY of Ford County, Illinois.
Location of Gibson City in Ford County, Illinois.
Location of Illinois in the United States
Coordinates: 40°27′56″N 88°22′29″W / 40.46556°N 88.37472°W / 40.46556; -88.37472Coordinates: 40°27′56″N 88°22′29″W / 40.46556°N 88.37472°W / 40.46556; -88.37472
CountryUnited States
 • MayorDaniel E. Dick
 • Total2.36 sq mi (6.10 km2)
 • Land2.32 sq mi (6.01 km2)
 • Water0.04 sq mi (0.09 km2)
751 ft (229 m)
 • Total3,407
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,392.93/sq mi (537.81/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Code(s)
Area code(s)217
FIPS code17-29125
Wikimedia CommonsGibson City, Illinois

Gibson City is a city in Ford County, Illinois, United States. The population was 3,407 at the 2010 census.


The site of Gibson City was purchased and platted by Jonathan B. Lott in 1869. In 1870, Lott built a home and a post office there, and several stores and a grain elevator were constructed. Lott named the place Gibson after the maiden name of his wife, Margaret Gibson Lott, and City was added later by the post office department. Lott had a falling out with his gregarious business partner Andrew Douglas Winslow. Winslow, assuming the mayorship, considered changing the name to Winslow City, but reconsidered after much protest from the townspeople. Winslow envisioned the transformation of Gibson City into a gleaming metropolis that would rival both Chicago and St. Louis, a vision that has yet to be realized.[3] Eric "Richard" Ryder succeeded Winslow as mayor. Ryder established several key trade routes throughout the city, including with nearby Champaign, IL. [4] Ryder was successful in expanding the size of the city, and his work heralded in an era of significant growth that continues to this day. Both the Gilman, Clinton and Springfield Railroad and the Chicago and Paducah Railroad reached the town in 1871, allowing its population to grow. Gibson City was incorporated as a village in 1872. A third railroad, the LaFayette, Muncie and Bloomington Railroad, was built through Gibson City in 1874.[5][6] In the same year, one of the railroads signed a contract that paid Augustana College, located in Paxton at the time, a commission of $1 per acre on all railroad land sold to Swedish settlers.

In 1883, a fire in the town caused $50,000 ($1,000,000 in 2007 dollars) in property damage.[5]

In 2020 Gibson City will celebrate Sloth day on March 5 to celebrate sloths.[5]


Gibson City is located at 40°27′56″N 88°22′29″W / 40.46556°N 88.37472°W / 40.46556; -88.37472 (40.465653, -88.374711).[7]

According to the 2010 census, Gibson City has a total area of 2.349 square miles (6.08 km2), of which 2.32 square miles (6.01 km2) (or 98.77%) is land and 0.029 square miles (0.08 km2) (or 1.23%) is water.[8]

The 1940 WPA mural "Hiawatha Returning with Minnehaha" by Francis Foy is on display in the Gibson City Post Office
The 1940 WPA mural "Hiawatha Returning with Minnehaha" by Francis Foy is on display in the Gibson City Post Office


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)3,233[2]−5.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 3,373 people, 1,469 households, and 928 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,604.0 people per square mile (620.2/km2). There were 1,565 housing units at an average density of 744.2 per square mile (287.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.13% White, 0.59% African American, 0.53% Asian, 0.03% from other races, and 0.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.65% of the population.

There were 1,469 households, out of which 27.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.3% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.8% were non-families. 33.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 20.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.85.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 23.2% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 22.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 83.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,638, and the median income for a family was $41,047. Males had a median income of $33,938 versus $20,083 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,926. About 8.9% of families and 9.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.9% of those under age 18 and 4.6% of those age 65 or over.


Illinois State Highways 9, 47, and 54 intersect on the edge of Gibson City.




The town's former newspaper was the Gibson City Courier, published from February 21, 1874 until December 30, 2015. The Courier was last owned by The Pantagraph out of Bloomington after being locally owned for several decades.[11] Gibson City is also served by the Ford County Record based in nearby Paxton.

Radio station

WGCY is an FM station licensed to Gibson City broadcasting at a frequency of 106.3 mHz. Its programming consists of easy listening music and local high school sports.

Notable people


  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. ^ Callary, Edward. 2009. Place Names of Illinois. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, p. 135.
  4. ^ "History of Champaign - Champaign-Urbana - LocalWiki". Retrieved 2021-04-15.
  5. ^ a b c 1947 Gibson City Directory.
  6. ^ Map of Ford County and Paxton, 1876.
  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 2015-12-27.
  9. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  10. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  11. ^