Effingham, Illinois
Effingham is a city in Effingham County, Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The population was 12,384 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat
County seat
A county seat is an administrative center, or seat of government, for a county or civil parish. The term is primarily used in the United States....

 of Effingham County.

The city bills itself as "The Crossroads of Opportunity" because of its location at the intersection of two major Interstate highways: I-57 running from Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

 to Miner, Missouri
Miner, Missouri
Miner is a city in Mississippi and Scott counties in the U.S. state of Missouri. It borders the city of Sikeston to the east. The population was 1,056 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Miner is located at ....

, and I-70 running from Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

 to Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

. It also is the path of U.S. Route 45
U.S. Route 45
U.S. Route 45 is a north–south United States highway. US 45 is a border-to-border route, from Lake Superior to the Gulf of Mexico. A sign at the highway's northern terminus notes the total distance as ....

, which runs from Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

 to Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

. Illinois Route 33
Illinois Route 33
Illinois Route 33 is a multidirectional highway in southeastern Illinois, with its western terminus at Illinois Route 128 on the Fayette–Effingham county line near Beecher City and its southern terminus at U.S. Highway 50 east of Lawrenceville. It also overlaps Illinois Route 32 from Shumway to...

 and Illinois Route 32
Illinois Route 32
Illinois Route 32 is a north–south highway with its southern terminus at U.S. Route 40 and Illinois Route 33 in Effingham and its northern terminus at Illinois Route 48 at Cisco, a few hundred feet south of Interstate 72...

 also run through the city. Thus, Effingham has a broad range of restaurants, lodging, and shopping facilities. Effingham is also located on U.S. Highway 40, the historic National Road
National Road
The National Road or Cumberland Road was the first major improved highway in the United States to be built by the federal government. Construction began heading west in 1811 at Cumberland, Maryland, on the Potomac River. It crossed the Allegheny Mountains and southwestern Pennsylvania, reaching...

, which stretches from Cumberland, Maryland
Cumberland, Maryland
Cumberland is a city in the far western, Appalachian portion of Maryland, United States. It is the county seat of Allegany County, and the primary city of the Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census, the city had a population of 20,859, and the metropolitan area had a...

 to East St. Louis, Illinois
East St. Louis, Illinois
East St. Louis is a city located in St. Clair County, Illinois, USA, directly across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri in the Metro-East region of Southern Illinois. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 27,006, less than one-third of its peak of 82,366 in 1950...



Effingham is located at 39°7′15"N 88°32′45"W (39.120903, -88.545909).

According to the United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

, the city has a total area of 8.7 square miles (22.5 km²), of which, 8.7 square miles (22.5 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square mile (0.258998811 km²) of it (0.69%) is water.


As of the census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

of 2000, there were 12,384 people, 5,330 households, and 3,187 families residing in the city. The population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 was 1,428.9 people per square mile (551.5/km²). There were 5,660 housing units at an average density of 653.0 per square mile (252.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.79% White, 0.36% African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.59% Asian, 0.38% from other races
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

, and 0.69% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.04% of the population.

There were 5,330 households out of which 29.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.0% were married couples
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

 living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.2% were non-families. 36.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.9% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 18.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 89.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,761, and the median income for a family was $45,902. Males had a median income of $31,442 versus $21,543 for females. The per capita income
Per capita income
Per capita income or income per person is a measure of mean income within an economic aggregate, such as a country or city. It is calculated by taking a measure of all sources of income in the aggregate and dividing it by the total population...

 for the city was $19,132. About 6.5% of families and 9.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.9% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.


Effingham is named for Effingham County, which was named after Thomas Howard, 3rd Earl of Effingham
Thomas Howard, 3rd Earl of Effingham
Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Howard, 3rd Earl of Effingham PC , styled Lord Howard until 1763, was a British nobleman and Army officer, the son of Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Effingham....

, who resigned his commission as general in the British army in 1775, refusing to serve in the war against the Colonies. The name is Anglo-Saxon
Old English language
Old English or Anglo-Saxon is an early form of the English language that was spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons and their descendants in parts of what are now England and southeastern Scotland between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century...

 for "Effa's house".

On April 5, 1949, St. Anthony's hospital caught fire and burned to the ground, killing 70 people. As a result, fire codes nationwide were improved. Due to extensive media coverage, including a "Life Magazine" cover story, donations for rebuilding the hospital came from all 48 states and several foreign countries.

Rail transportation

Effingham is also historically important as a rail junction. The old Pennsylvania Railroad
Pennsylvania Railroad
The Pennsylvania Railroad was an American Class I railroad, founded in 1846. Commonly referred to as the "Pennsy", the PRR was headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania....

 and the former Illinois Central Railroad
Illinois Central Railroad
The Illinois Central Railroad , sometimes called the Main Line of Mid-America, is a railroad in the central United States, with its primary routes connecting Chicago, Illinois with New Orleans, Louisiana and Birmingham, Alabama. A line also connected Chicago with Sioux City, Iowa...

 crossed in downtown Effingham. Even today, Amtrak's City of New Orleans passes through daily.

The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Effingham under the daily City of New Orleans
City of New Orleans
The City of New Orleans is a nightly passenger train operated by Amtrak which travels between Chicago, Illinois and New Orleans, Louisiana. Before Amtrak's formation in 1971, the train was operated by the Illinois Central Railroad along the same route . The train currently operates on a 19½ hour...

route to New Orleans and Chicago, Saluki
Saluki (Amtrak)
The Saluki is a 310-mile passenger train line operated by Amtrak running between Chicago and Carbondale, Illinois. The train is a part of the Illinois Service rail network and is partially funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation...

, and Illini
Illini (Amtrak)
The Illini is a 310-mile passenger train operated by Amtrak that runs between Chicago and Carbondale, Illinois. The train is a part of the Illinois Service rail network and is partially funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation and by local governments along the route...

routes to Chicago and Carbondale
Carbondale, Illinois
Carbondale is a city in Jackson County, in the state of Illinois, within the Southern Illinois region. It is located at the junction of Illinois Route 13 and U.S. Route 51, southeast of St. Louis, Missouri, on the northern edge of the Shawnee National Forest...

. Until October 1, 1979, the station also served Amtrak's former National Limited
National Limited
The National Limited was the premier train of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad on its route between New York City and St. Louis, Missouri, with major station stops in Washington, D.C., and Cincinnati, Ohio. The all-Pullman version of the National Limited was introduced by the B&O on April 26,...

line between Kansas City
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

 and New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...



Effingham High School (EHS) is the public high school. The new EHS opened in the fall of 1998. The former EHS building, built in 1939 as a WPA project(film made as of the construction) and expanded in 1965, is currently the junior high, serving grades 6-8. The old junior high, Central School, is now a grade school serving grades 3-5. EHS athletics were originally known as the "Warriors" but the name was changed after Ada Kepley
Ada Kepley
Ada Harriet Miser Kepley was the first American woman to graduate from law school.Ada Harriet Miser was born in Somerset, Ohio, in 1847. Her family moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1860, and in 1867, Ada married Henry B. Kepley, who had his own law practice in Effingham, Illinois...

, a legendary city resident, referred to Effingham as the "Heart of America"in a campaign to attract visitors to the city. The name eventually stuck, with references in the city government and the downtown movie theater named "The Heart Theater." EHS athletics are now known as the "Flaming Hearts" though generally referred to as simply the "Hearts."

Effingham is also home to St. Anthony High School, a private Roman Catholic High School. SAHS athletics are known as the "Bulldogs".


A 198 feet (60.4 m) steel cross erected by The Cross Foundation is located in Effingham. The Cross Foundation claims that the cross is the tallest in the United States standing at 198 feet, even though The Great Cross (260 feet (79.2 m))in St. Augustine, Florida is believed to be the tallest freestanding cross in the world.

Notable people

  • Uwe Blab
    Uwe Blab
    Uwe Konstantin Blab is a retired German professional basketball player who had a five year career in the NBA.-School and college:...

    , former NBA Player.
  • Ada Kepley
    Ada Kepley
    Ada Harriet Miser Kepley was the first American woman to graduate from law school.Ada Harriet Miser was born in Somerset, Ohio, in 1847. Her family moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1860, and in 1867, Ada married Henry B. Kepley, who had his own law practice in Effingham, Illinois...

    , first American woman to graduate from law school.
  • Jimmy Kite
    Jimmy Kite
    Jimmy Kite is an American race car driver. He debuted in the Indy Racing League in 1997 and has competed in over 30 IRL races, including five Indianapolis 500s...

    , driver with IndyCar
    IndyCar Series
    The IZOD IndyCar Series is the premier level of American open wheel racing. The current championship, founded by Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony George, began in 1996 as a competitor to CART known as the Indy Racing League . Citing CART's increasing reliance on expensive machinery and...

     and NASCAR
    The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

  • Matt Mitrione
    Matt Mitrione
    Matthew Steven Mitrione is an American mixed martial artist and former NFL football player, playing for the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings. He was a cast member of Spike TV's The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights....

    , mixed martial artists who competes in the UFC.
  • Civil War nurse Mary Newcomb
    Mary Newcomb
    Mary Newcomb was an American actress who appeared on the British stage and films.-Selected filmography:* The Marriage Bond * Frail Women * Women Who Play * Strange Experiment...

     lived in Effingham. She was not a nurse of the organized groups, but "went along" when her husband went to war. She wrote a personal narrative of her life as a nurse, giving an eyewitness account of her experiences caring for sick and wounded and of famous people she met such as Grant and Logan. She and her husband, who was killed in the war, are buried in Effingham.
  • Brian Shouse
    Brian Shouse
    Brian Douglas Shouse is a former left-handed Major League Baseball relief pitcher. Starting in 2001, Shouse pitched with a distinctive sidearm delivery, which replaced his earlier, more traditional, overhand delivery.-Career:...

    , left handed pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays
    Tampa Bay Rays
    The Tampa Bay Rays are a Major League Baseball team based in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays are a member of the Eastern Division of MLB's American League. Since their inception in , the club has played at Tropicana Field...

     and Milwaukee Brewers
    Milwaukee Brewers
    The Milwaukee Brewers are a professional baseball team based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, currently playing in the Central Division of Major League Baseball's National League...

     in Major League Baseball
    Major League Baseball
    Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...


In popular culture

Radio comedians Bob and Tom produced a segment on their national radio show, poking fun at the "Effing" portion of the name Effingham. Created as a fake advertisement for Illinois, the announcer talks about getting "Effing steaks, Effing great burgers, going Effing crazy," etc. Effingham has been brought up on several portions of this show discussing the large cross located just off I-57 in city. Bob Kevoian, co-host, described Effingham as the "Gateway" to his in-laws.

Ben Folds
Ben Folds
Benjamin Scott "Ben" Folds is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and television personality. From 1995-2000, Folds was the frontman and pianist of the alternative rock band Ben Folds Five. Since the group disbanded, Folds has performed as a solo artist and has toured all over the world...

's album Way to Normal
Way to Normal
Way to Normal is a 2008 studio album by Ben Folds. It was released on 30 September 2008 in the United States and on 29 September 2008 in the United Kingdom...

includes a track that was inspired while driving by Effingham, although the song refers to the city as "Effington"; it similarly refers to "effing in their yards/effing in their cars/effing in the trailers in the back roads and the parking lots of Effington."

Jason Koo's book, Man on Extremely Small Island, has as its first poem "Swearing by Effingham," and includes many plays on the name of the city.

External links

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