Denhart Bank Building at 101 Washington Sq.
Denhart Bank Building at 101 Washington Sq.
"Your Pathway To Discovery; Enjoyment And Knowledge"
Location of Washington in Tazewell County, Illinois.
Location of Washington in Tazewell County, Illinois.
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Coordinates: 40°42′18″N 89°26′03″W / 40.70500°N 89.43417°W / 40.70500; -89.43417[1]
CountryUnited States
Founded byWilliam Holland Sr.
 • TypeCouncil–manager
 • MayorGary W. Manier
 • City AdministratorRay Forsythe
 • Total8.56 sq mi (22.17 km2)
 • Land8.54 sq mi (22.13 km2)
 • Water0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)
Elevation757 ft (231 m)
 • Total16,071
 • Density1,880.75/sq mi (726.17/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP Code(s)
Area code309
FIPS code17-79033
GNIS feature ID2397206[1]
Wikimedia CommonsWashington, Illinois

Washington is a city in Tazewell County, Illinois, United States. Washington is on U.S. Route 24 and Illinois Route 8, northeast of East Peoria. The population was 16,071 at the 2020 census, a 48.2% percent increase over 2000.[3] It is a suburb of Peoria and is part of the Peoria Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Washington was founded in 1825[4] by William Holland Sr.,[5][6][7] who came from North Carolina and was hired by the U.S. government to provide blacksmith services to the local Native Americans. During his long and eventful life, he was married three times, and was the father of twenty-one children: fourteen by his first wife and seven by his second wife. He had eighty-two grandchildren and fifty great grandchildren. He died in Washington on November 27, 1871, at the age of ninety-one. The post office (and later the city) was originally named Holland's Grove in 1833[4] before being renamed in honor of the first U.S. president, George Washington, in 1837.[4]

In the 1920s, a man named George Heyl put Washington on the map as the home of the famous Heyl Pony Farm.[8] Some of the original barns still exist on North Main Street. The Heyl Pony Farm supplied Shetland ponies to buyers around the world; George Heyl also raised pure bred poultry. When Heyl died suddenly in 1932, it was recorded as one of the largest funerals ever held in Washington.

Another local site of interest is the "old canning factory", which is now occupied by American Allied Railway Equipment Company Inc. In 1943, the canning factory (which after the war was run by the Libby's company) had a shortage of workers, and the government needed K rations and canned goods to feed the troops.[9] So 50 captured German soldiers from the prisoner of war camp known as Camp Ellis in Fulton County were brought in.[10] The Washington sub-camp was first commanded by Colonel John S. Sullivan, and later by Captain T. A. Cox. The POWs were brought in on the old rail line that ran down Wood Street (the foundation of a sentry tower can be seen just northeast of the intersection of Wood and Jefferson near the entrance to the bike trail). They were trucked from the camp to various local farms to help with the pumpkin harvest. The prisoners were allowed no visitors, nor could residents speak to the prisoners. An exception was made for local ministers, such as Pastor Kammeyer from St. Mark's Lutheran who spoke fluent German and ministered to the POWs spiritual needs.[citation needed]

A new community center, named Five Points Washington, opened in October 2007. The facility houses the Washington Public Library, a performing arts center, swimming pools, fitness center, and banquet center.[11]

2013 tornado

Damage to houses and trees shortly after the November 17, 2013 tornado.

An EF4 tornado, part of the tornado outbreak of November 17, 2013, entered Washington from the southwest in East Peoria. Three people were killed, one during the storm and two others later from injuries, including a United States Army veteran.[12][13] The tornado then destroyed the Georgetown Common apartment complex, including ripping second floors off most of the 17 apartment buildings. Hundreds of homes were destroyed as the tornado moved through town before finally exiting on the north side.[14]


According to the 2010 census, Washington has a total area of 8.182 sq mi (21.19 km2), of which 8.17 sq mi (21.16 km2) (or 99.85%) is land and 0.012 sq mi (0.03 km2) (or 0.15%) is water.[15]


Washington has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa), with cold, snowy winters, and hot, humid summers. Monthly daily mean temperatures range from 22.5 °F (−5.3 °C) to 75.2 °F (24.0 °C). Snowfall is common in the winter, averaging 26.3 inches (67 cm), but this figure varies considerably for different years. Precipitation, averaging at 36 inches (914 mm), peaks in the spring and summer, and is the least in winter. Extremes have ranged from −27 °F (−33 °C) in January 1884 to 113 °F (45 °C) in July 1936.[citation needed]


CityLink provides bus service on Route 8 connecting Washington to downtown Peoria, East Peoria and other destinations.[16]

U.S. Route 24 runs east–west outside of Washington. Business U.S. 24 runs through the downtown square of Washington.


Washington uses a council–manager form of government with an appointed city administrator, acting as the chief administrative officer and managing day-to-day operations, and an elected mayor. As of February 2020, the current city administrator is Ray Forsythe and the current mayor is Gary W. Manier.[17][18][19]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[20]

As of the census[21] of 2000, there were 10,841 people, 4,189 households, and 3,091 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,450.0/sq mi (559.8/km2). There were 4,403 housing units at an average density of 588.9/sq mi (227.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.36% White, 0.26% African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.42% Asian, 0.26% from other races, and 0.62% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.67% of the population.

There were 4,189 households, out of which 35.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.8% were married couples living together, 7.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.2% were non-families. 22.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 26.0% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 23.3% from 45 to 64, and 13.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $71,702,[22] and the median income for a family was $61,184. Males had a median income of $64,388 versus $43,460 for females.[23] The per capita income for the city was $24,231. About 2.8% of families and 4.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.5% of those under age 18 and 3.5% of those age 65 or over.


As of 2000, 66.8% of people aged 16 and over were employed in the civilian labor force, 2.8% were "unemployed" in the civilian work force, 0.1% were in the armed forces, and 30.3% were not in the labor force. Average travel time to work for Washington residents was 21.5 min.[24]

The Washington Chamber of Commerce lists the following information about employers:[25]

Employment by occupation category
Category percentage
Management and professional 38.3%
Service 13.3%
Sales and office 27.5%
Farming, fishing, and forestry 0.1%
Construction, extraction, and maintenance 8.1%
Production, transportation, and material moving 12.8%
Employers - Manufacturers and distributor
Company name Business type Approx.
Illinois Valley Plastics molded components 100
BTD Manufacturing metal fabrication 70
American Allied Railway Equipment rail wheels and brakes 66
WICC, Ltd. electrical components 41
RP Short Run printing and graphics 36
Global Fire Equipment/MES fire trucks, apparatus 36
Akron Brass fire fighting equipment 26
Employers - Retailers
Company name Business type Approx.
Wal-Mart Supercenter general merchandise 340
Uftring Chevrolet automobile sales and service 105
Kroger grocer 90
Lindy's Downtown Market grocer 54
Employers - Services and institutions
Organization Business type Approx.
Washington school districts (combined) education 425
Washington Christian Village elderly care 125
City of Washington local government 80
Washington Park District parks and recreation entity 76


District 308 is Washington Community High School and has 1359 students in attendance as of August 2017.[26] District 308 contains three elementary public school districts: District 50 (John L. Hensey and Beverly Manor), 51 (Central), and 52 (which consists of Lincoln Grade and Washington Middle school), as well as St. Patrick's School, which is private and Catholic.

Tazewell County has a joint special education service, the Tazewell-Mason Counties Special Education Association (TMCSEA).[27]

Annual events

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Washington, Illinois
  2. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  3. ^ "Census Information". City of Washington, Illinois. Retrieved December 28, 2023.
  4. ^ a b c Callary, Edward. 2009. Place Names of Illinois. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, p. 366.
  5. ^ History of Tazewell County, Illinois. Chicago: Chas. C. Chapman & Co. 1879. p. 662.
  6. ^ Early History of Washington, Ill. and Vicinity. Washington, IL: Tazewell County Reporter. 1929. pp. 76ff.
  7. ^ Borders, Zachary R. (2007). Washington. Charleston, SC: Arcadia. p. 2. William Holland, town founder .... the founder and first settler of Washington
  8. ^ "George Heyl". historicillinois.com.
  9. ^ Lehman, Michele (March 5, 2018). "Historian Traces Story of POWs". The Pantagraph. p. A4. Retrieved June 25, 2020 – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  10. ^ Fulton County Tourism Archived 2007-09-15 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Home - Five Points Washington". Five Points Washington.
  12. ^ WLS-TV (November 18, 2013). "Washington IL tornado ranked as EF-4; victim ID'd". abclocal.go.com. Archived from the original on November 22, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  13. ^ Steve Stein (January 5, 2014). "Army vet injured in tornado dies". pjstar.com. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  14. ^ "Tornado in Washington claims one life, injures dozens". PJStar.com. Peoria, Illinois: GateHouse Media. Retrieved November 25, 2013. (Warning: Site uses popup ads.)
  15. ^ "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved December 27, 2015.
  16. ^ "Schedules & Routes". Retrieved January 27, 2024.
  17. ^ "City managers administer 96 Illinois municipalities". Northern Illinois University. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  18. ^ "Washington, IL / City Administrator". City of Washington, IL. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  19. ^ "Washington, IL / Mayor's Office". City of Washington, IL. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  20. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  21. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  22. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Washington city, Illinois; Illinois". Census Bureau QuickFacts.
  23. ^ "Washington, IL". datausa.io.
  24. ^ "DP-3. Profile of Selected Economic Characteristics: 2000: Washington city, Illinois". American FactFinder. United States Census. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
  25. ^ "Washington Community Profile". Washington Chamber of Commerce. February 15, 2008. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
  26. ^ "School Profile - WCHS #308". Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  27. ^ "Tazewell-Mason Counties Special Education Association". Pekin, Illinois: Tazewell-Mason Counties Special Education Association. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  28. ^ Hovey, Christopher (March 4, 2014). "Cherry Festival will revert to Good Neighbor Days name". Courier Newspapers. Retrieved November 6, 2023.
  29. ^ "Washington Fine Arts Fair will return Aug. 23". Peoria Journal Star. April 17, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2023.
  30. ^ "GPSHOF Inductee Mark Dennis". gpshof.org.
  31. ^ "Doug Lee Stats - Basketball-Reference.com". Basketball-Reference.com.
  32. ^ Vlahos, Nick (April 14, 2021). "Former Washington football player, 'Bachelor' star Colton Underwood comes out as gay". Peoria Journal Star (web ed.). Archived from the original on April 14, 2021. Retrieved April 16, 2021.