Highland, Illinois
Flag of Highland, Illinois
Location in Madison County, Illinois
Location in Madison County, Illinois
Highland is located in the United States
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 38°44′38″N 89°40′38″W / 38.74389°N 89.67722°W / 38.74389; -89.67722
CountryUnited States
TownshipsHelvetia, Saline, Marine
 • MayorKevin B. Hemann
 • Total7.84 sq mi (20.31 km2)
 • Land6.81 sq mi (17.65 km2)
 • Water1.03 sq mi (2.67 km2)
Elevation551 ft (168 m)
 • Total9,991
 • Density1,466.25/sq mi (566.12/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code618
FIPS code17-34670
GNIS feature ID2394375[2]
Wikimedia CommonsHighland, Illinois

Highland is a city in Madison County, Illinois, United States. The population was 9,991 at the 2020 census.[3] Highland began as a Swiss settlement and derived its name from later German immigrants.

Highland is a sister city of Sursee in Switzerland.

Highland is a part of the Metro-East region of the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area.


Highland was settled in the early 19th century by Swiss-German settlers. The town was founded in 1837 and celebrated its 175th Jubilee in 2012.[4] It was first named Helvetia (pronounced hellveesha) in accordance with the heritage of the town's Swiss-German founding members. The town voted to change its name to the English version, "Highland", in the early 20th century, as well as stopping production of its German language newspaper, in part to avoid negativity towards those of Germanic heritage at the advent of the First World War. Around the same time, a small town in northern Illinois also started calling itself Highland. Eventually, the town in northern Illinois became Highland Park.

Highland has a rich history including extended visits by such notables as Abraham Lincoln.[5] On November 21, 1915, the Liberty Bell passed through Highland on its nationwide tour returning to Pennsylvania from the Panama–Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.[6]


Highland is in southeastern Madison County, 30 miles (48 km) east of St. Louis. U.S. Route 40 passes through the city north of downtown, leading west 11 miles (18 km) to Troy and on to St. Louis, and to the northeast 20 miles (32 km) to Greenville. Illinois Route 160 passes through the center of Highland, leading north 6 miles (10 km) to Grantfork and south 10 miles (16 km) to Trenton, while Illinois Route 143 leads northwest 6 miles (10 km) to Marine and northeast 5 miles (8 km) to Pierron. Interstate 70 passes through the northern part of the city limits, with access from Exit 24 (IL 143) to the west and Exit 30 (US 40) to the east.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Highland has a total area of 7.84 square miles (20.31 km2), of which 6.81 square miles (17.64 km2) are land and 1.03 square miles (2.67 km2), or 13.13%, are water.[1] The city drains to the south to Sugar Creek, a tributary of the Kaskaskia River, and to the northwest to the East Fork of Silver Creek, another tributary of the Kaskaskia. Highland Silver Lake is a reservoir constructed on the East Fork; the Highland city limits extend north 5 miles (8 km) to the southern border of Grantfork to enclose the entire lake.


Highland has been home to businesses that include Pet Milk and the Wicks Organ Company. For the past 60 years, Highland Supply Corporation has been producing and selling floral grass - a traditional decorative product used to line Easter baskets. Highland is also home to The Korte Company (builder of many large and well-known buildings including Universal Studios in Florida).


The current mayor is Kevin B. Hemann.[7]

Highland is in the process of implementing citywide availability of a municipal broadband network using Fiber to the home technology.[8]


The Highland Community Unit School District serves Highland area students including those from Alhambra, Illinois, Grantfork, Illinois, and New Douglas, Illinois. Kindergarten through sixth grade schools are located in each of the districts municipalities while the district's middle and high schools are located in Highland. Starting in August 2014 6th grade is located at the Highland Middle School. In September 2014, the district's teachers staged a strike for the first time in the district's history.[9]

St. Paul's Church on a postcard

Additionally, Highland has a local parochial school named St. Paul Catholic School offering Kindergarten through eighth grade education.

The Louis Latzer Memorial Public Library has a collection of more than 48,000 print volumes, a substantial media collection, and public computer access along with access to subscription databases and a genealogy collection. It is also a member of the Illinois Heartland Library System.[10]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[11]

As of the census[12] of 2010, there were 9,919 people, 4,013 households, and 2,633 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,561.1 inhabitants per square mile (602.7/km2). There were 3,610 housing units at an average density of 667.9 per square mile (257.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.00% White, 0.2% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.4% of the population.

There were 4,013 households and 2,633 families. 50.3% of the families have children 18 years old or younger. There are 2,017 husband-wife families. 29.5% of all the households were made up of one individual and 16.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 24.8% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 27.5% from 25 to 44, 23% from 45 to 64, and 16.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.8 years. Of the total population 4,714 are males and 5,205 are females.

The median income for a household in the city was $39,524, and the median income for a family was $52,240. Males had a median income of $36,536 versus $25,620 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,101. About 3.6% of families and 6.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.9% of those under age 18 and 8.3% of those age 65 or over.

Mentions in popular media

Highland is the setting for the first song on the Illinois album by Sufjan Stevens, titled 'Concerning the UFO sighting near Highland, Illinois', in which Stevens mentions a 21st-century UFO sighting by the owner of the local mini-golf course.[13][14]

Highland was also mentioned on The Daily Show on February 9, 2006. A report mentioned local pharmacist and state legislator Ron Stephens, who protested an executive order by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich requiring a pharmacist to fill emergency contraception prescriptions.[15]

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ a b "2022 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Illinois". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 13, 2023.
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Highland, Illinois
  3. ^ a b "P1. Race – Highland city, Illinois: 2020 DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171)". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved February 13, 2023.
  4. ^ [1] Archived 2014-08-12 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Allan H. Keith, Historical Stories: About Greenville and Bond County, IL. Consulted on August 15, 2007.
  6. ^ "Liberty Bell Attracts Crowd in Greenville During 1915 Stop". Greenville Advocate. July 3, 2007.
  7. ^ "Mayor's Office". City of Highland, Illinois. Archived from the original on August 20, 2009. Retrieved August 12, 2009.
  8. ^ "Highland Communications Services". City of Highland, Illinois. Archived from the original on August 24, 2011. Retrieved August 16, 2011.
  9. ^ Associated Press (September 10, 2014). "Southwestern Illinois teachers vote to strike". WAND. Archived from the original on September 14, 2014. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  10. ^ "Library Information". Louis Latzer Memorial Public Library. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  11. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  12. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  13. ^ Kozemko, Jared. "Sufjan Stevens' Illinoise is a new state of mind". the Lafayette.
  14. ^ Stage, Wm. "Space Case". Riverfront Times.
  15. ^ "Ill. governor confused by 'Daily Show' bit". USA Today. Associated Press. February 23, 2006. Retrieved July 17, 2007.