Litchfield, Illinois

Litchfield is a city in Montgomery County, Illinois, United States. The population was 6,605 at the 2020 census.[5] It is located in South Central Illinois, south of Springfield, Illinois, and part of the Metro East of St. Louis.

Cars in a "66" formation at the SkyView Drive-In.
Cars in a "66" formation at the SkyView Drive-In.
"Many pleasant surprises!"[1][2]
Location of Litchfield in Montgomery County, Illinois.
Location of Litchfield in Montgomery County, Illinois.
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Coordinates: 39°10′24″N 89°39′36″W / 39.17333°N 89.66000°W / 39.17333; -89.66000Coordinates: 39°10′24″N 89°39′36″W / 39.17333°N 89.66000°W / 39.17333; -89.66000[3]
CountryUnited States
 • Total10.95 sq mi (28.35 km2)
 • Land8.93 sq mi (23.13 km2)
 • Water2.02 sq mi (5.23 km2)
Elevation669 ft (204 m)
 • Total6,605
 • Density739.72/sq mi (285.61/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Code(s)
Area code217
FIPS code17-43965
GNIS feature ID2395731[3]
Wikimedia CommonsLitchfield, Illinois
WebsiteThe City of Litchfield, Illinois


Litchfield was platted in October 1853, and was originally named Huntsville,[6] after it was thought that Railroad Chief Engineer George Hunt was going to be the one to bring in the railroad.[citation needed]

Earlier, Hardinsburg, about 2 miles (3 km) to the southwest,[7] had been founded about 1850.[6] Both towns were created in anticipation of the Terre Haute & Alton Railroad.[6] Hardinsburg grew to about 50 people by 1854; but when it became clear that the railroad was going through Huntsville instead of Hardinsburg, many of the buildings in Hardinsburg were pulled across the prairie on runners to Huntsville beginning in January 1854, and most of the residents moved to the new site as well, becoming Litchfield's first residents.[6] The railroad reached Huntsville in the autumn of 1864,[7] and within two more years Hardinsburg had substantially disappeared.[6] Only a small cemetery remains of Hardinsburg.[citation needed]

The new town of Huntsville was renamed in November 1855 after Electus Bachus Litchfield, who with his brothers earlier that year had donated land and convinced the railroad of where to place its shops and terminals.[8]

The residents of Litchfield first voted to incorporate as a village on April 4, 1856.[6] However, the village trustees failed to complete the incorporation; the village charter was dissolved in autumn of 1857 and the trustees closed the books for that village government on January 22, 1858.[6] The state legislature granted a new municipal charter to Litchfield on February 16, 1859, and the first elections under that charter were held on March 7, 1859.[6]

Milnot Company, known for its namesake product, Milnot, an evaporated filled milk, was founded in Litchfield in 1912 as The Litchfield Creamery Company by Martin Jensen.[9] In 1916, a new plant was built at 120 W. St. John St. and operated until 1990. As of 2019, it has been repurposed as an indoor sports training facility.[10]


According to the 2010 census, Litchfield has a total area of 6.825 square miles (17.68 km2), of which 6.45 square miles (16.71 km2) (or 94.51%) is land and 0.375 square miles (0.97 km2) (or 5.49%) is water.[11]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[12]

2020 CensusEdit

As of the census of 2020,[13] there were 6,605 people in 3,104 households residing in the city. 7.7% percent of the population was under the age of 5, 22.8% under the age of 18, and 19.4% over the age of 65. The racial makeup of the city was 96.8% White, 0.8% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.4% Asian, and 1.7% two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.6% of the population.

The median income for a household was $50,368, and the per capita income in the city was $26,746. 18.2% of the population lived below the poverty line.

2000 CensusEdit

As of the census[14] of 2000, there were 6,815 people, 2,772 households, and 1,785 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,338.5 inhabitants per square mile (516.8/km2). There were 3,011 housing units at an average density of 591.4 per square mile (228.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.31% White, 0.37% African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.26% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 0.65% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.95% of the population.

There were 2,772 households in 2010, out of which 31.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.7% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.6% were non-families. 32.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 17.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.97.

The population is distributed with 25.6% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 26.6% from 25 to 44, 20.0% from 45 to 64, and 20.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,717, and the median income for a family was $34,139. Males had a median income of $26,238 versus $19,545 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,612. About 15.7% of families and 16.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.9% of those under age 18 and 11.2% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and cultureEdit


The Ariston Café is one of the oldest restaurants along the historic U.S. Route 66, commonly known as Old Route 66, though the café itself claims it is possibly the oldest.[15] The Ariston Café was founded in 1924 in the town of Carlinville, Illinois, but was moved to its present location. The café was inducted into the Route 66 Hall of Fame in 1992. Another landmark is Litchfield's Lake Lou Yaeger, located northeast of town.[16] The Sky View Theater is a member of the Route 66 Hall of Fame and has been in operation since 1950. It is among the last drive-in theaters still operating along Route 66.[17]

The Ariston Café, a popular stop along U.S. Route 66.

In 1934, The Belvidere Motel opened in Litchfield. It is one of the oldest motels around.[citation needed] The grand opening of the Litchfield Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center was June 1, 2013. The museum is located across from the Ariston Café at 334 North Historic Route 66. The museum is owned by the Litchfield Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center Association and is maintained mainly through donations.[citation needed]



Litchfield Municipal Airport is located 2 nautical miles (3.7 km; 2.3 mi) southwest of the central business district of Litchfield.

Litchfield is served by Interstate 55 and Illinois Route 16.

Two Class 1 railroad lines (Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Norfolk Southern) cross at the south edge of Litchfield after running parallel through town from north to south.

Notable peopleEdit

See alsoEdit

  • Sunshine: a magazine published in Litchfield


  1. ^ "The City of Litchfield, Illinois". The City of Litchfield, Illinois. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  2. ^ "Litchfied, Illinois". Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Litchfield, Illinois
  4. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Sanders, Walter R. (2009-06-15). "Litchfield Illinois – The Story of a Midwest Town". Montgomery County Illinois History. Historical Society of Montgomery County Illinois. Retrieved 2019-05-10. Says Litchfield was laid out in "October 1953", presumably a typo of "1853".
  7. ^ a b "Our History". City of Litchfield, Illinois. Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  8. ^ Sanders, Walter (1953). The Centennial History of Litchfield, Illinois - The Story of a Midwest Town. [Litchfield. p. 20.
  9. ^ "Making the Most of Milnot". Retrieved 2020-02-17.
  10. ^ "Litchfield Sports, Indoor Sports Facility". lsisports. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
  11. ^ "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  12. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  13. ^ "QuickFacts Litchfield city, Illinois". US Census Bureau.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  15. ^ "History". Archived from the original on March 11, 2007.
  16. ^ "Web Hosting / Mercury Network » Mercury Network". Archived from the original on August 23, 2007.
  17. ^ "Litchfield Illinois - Route 66 Proud!". Archived from the original on October 20, 2006.
  18. ^ "Jackie Mayo Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved August 31, 2012.

External linksEdit