Decatur - Encyclopedia Britannica 1911




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DECATUR, a city and the county-seat of Macon county, Illinois, U.S.A., in the central part of the state, near the Sangamon river, about 39 m. E. of Springfield. Pop. (1890) 16,841; (1900) 20,754, of whom 1939 were foreign-born; (1906, estimate) 24,727. Decatur is served by the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton, the Illinois Central, the Wabash (which maintains car shops here), and the Vandalia railways, and is connected with Danville, Saint Louis, Springfield, Peoria, Bloomington and Champaign by the Illinois Traction System (electric). Decatur has three large parks and a public library; and S.E. of Fairview Park, with a campus of 35 acres, is the James Millikin University (co-educational; Cumberland Presbyterian), founded in 1901 by James Millikin, and opened in 1903. The university comprises schools of liberal arts, engineering (mechanical, electrical, and civil), domestic economy, fine and applied arts, commerce and finance, library science, pedagogy, music, and a preparatory school; in 1907-1908 it had 936 students, 440 being in the school of music. Among the city's manufactures are iron, brass castings, agricultural implements, flour, Indian corn products, soda fountains, plumbers' supplies, coffins and caskets, bar and store fixtures, gas and electric light fixtures, street cars, and car trucks. The value of the city's factory products increased from $5,133,677 in 1900 to $8,667,302 in 1905, or 68.8%. The city is also an important shipping point for agricultural products (especially grain), and for coal taken from the two mines in the city and from mines in the surrounding country. The first settlement in Decatur was made in 1829, and the place was incorporated in 1836. On the 22nd of February 1856 a convention of Illinois editors met at Decatur to determine upon a policy of opposition to the hansas-Nebraska Bill. They called a state convention, which met at Bloomington, and which is considered to have taken the first step toward founding the Republican party in Illinois.

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