Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Elgin (pronounced [ˈɛldʒɪn] (IPA)) is a city located on the Fox River mainly in Kane County, Illinois, with a portion also in Cook County, Illinois. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 94,487, making it the eighth largest city in Illinois. Elgin is a diverse and rapidly growing community that was profiled in a 1997 issue of Money Magazine as a microcosm of the United States.
The Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission forecasts Elgin will have a population of 162,416 in 2030.
Elgin was founded in 1836 by James and Laura Gifford. Gifford chose this site along the banks of the Fox River because it was on the stagecoach route from Chicago to Galena, Illinois and the river could be bridged there. Early Elgin was famous for the butter and dairy goods it provided to Chicago, approximately 40 mi (60 km) away. The local library is named for Gail Borden , who established a condensed milk factory here. The dairy industry became less important with the arrival of the Elgin Watch Company. The National Watch Co employed three generations of Elginites from the late 19th to early 20th century.
In the 1840s, the family of young Charles Ingalls moved from New York to the tallgrass prairie of Campton Township, just west of Elgin. Ingalls is better known as "Pa" from the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Elgin has a long tradition of education and invention. Elgin is home to the Elgin Academy, the oldest coeducational, non-sectarian college preparatory school west of the Allegheny Mountains, as well as Elgin High School , which boasts five navy admirals, a Nobel prize-winning chemist (Paul Flory) and a chief executive of General Motors among its alumni. Elgin resident John Murphy invented the modern streetsweeper , and later formed the Elgin Sweeper Corporation. Pioneering African-American chemist Lloyd Hall was an Elgin native.
Beloved local historian E.C. Alft has written several books and has an ongoing newspaper column about Elgin's history.
The city is known for its Victorian era landmarks. Many of the most remarkable homes once belonged to National Watch Company executives. Elgin is home to the Elgin Symphony Orchestra , the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Elgin Choral Union . The city also is served by Elgin Community College , one of the fastest-growing community colleges in the state.
Elgin has several large city parks, including 112 acre (453,000 m²) Lords Park and 121 acre (490,000 m²) Wing Park. Elgin is connected with Algonquin and Dundee to the north, and St. Charles, Geneva, and Batavia to the south by the Fox River Trail bike path. Elgin is the sister city of Vientiane, the capital of Laos, and has a significant Lao population.
In the 1990s, Elgin became one of the first cities in northern Illinois to host a riverboat casino. The Grand Victoria Casino has proven a lucrative but slightly controversial source of income for the city.
Elgin is located at 42°2'22" North, 88°17'19" West (42.039426, -88.288627).
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 94,487 people, 31,543 households, and 22,395 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,459.3/km² (3,779.1/mi²). There are 32,665 housing units at an average density of 504.5/km² (1,306.5/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 70.49% White, 6.80% African American, 0.40% Native American, 3.88% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 15.39% from other races, and 2.98% from two or more races. 34.32% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 31,543 households out of which 39.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.6% are married couples living together, 11.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 29.0% are non-families. 23.3% of all households are made up of individuals and 7.4% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.94 and the average family size is 3.49.
In the city the population is spread out with 29.0% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 33.6% from 25 to 44, 18.2% from 45 to 64, and 8.6% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 31 years. For every 100 females there are 99.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 98.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $52,605, and the median income for a family is $58,404. Males have a median income of $39,581 versus $28,488 for females. The per capita income for the city is $21,112. 8.1% of the population and 6.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 11.6% of those under the age of 18 and 4.7% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
In 1936, a commemorative half dollar was issued by the United States Mint commemorating the centennial of Elgin, Illinois. The obverse features the profile of a pioneer with the dates 1673 * 1936, while the reverse features a pioneer family. Both images are modeled on a pioneer family memorial made by Elgin sculptor Trygve Rovelstad .
- Elginhistory.com, which includes two online books on Elgin history by E.C. Alft
- Elgin Area Historical Society
- History of the Elgin Centennial Half Dollar
- Elgin Community College
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