Grundy County, Illinois

Grundy County, Illinois County Map

Grundy County is located in northeastern Illinois in the valley of the Illinois River. Grundy County was established on February 17, 1841. It was formed out of LaSalle County and named after U.S. Attorney General Felix Grundy (1777-1840). The first permanent settler is noted as William Marquis, who built a homestead along the Illinois River near the mouth of Mazon Creek. Second was William Hoge, whose son James was in 1835 the first recorded birth. By 1834, nearly a dozen more families had arrived in Grundy County, living in the timber along Nettle and Aux Sable Creeks. Besides farming and timber, the county was well known for its coal mines and attracted miners from many regions to work its deposits. Illinois’ State fossil, the unique and bizarre Tully Monster, was first found in Mazon Creek. Grundy County Speedway is located in Morris. Grundy County is also home to Dresden Generating Station—the first privately financed nuclear power plant built in the United States.

The current boundaries of Grundy County have been in place since 1841 and encompass 430 square miles (1,114 km2). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 418 square miles (1,083 km2) is land and 12 square miles (31 km2) is water. The areas of water in Grundy County include the Illinois, Des Plaines and Kankakee Rivers, and Mazon and Aux Sable Creeks. In addition to the rivers, major shipping channel Illinois & Michigan Canal runs through Grundy County adjacent to the Illinois River. The Illinois River, extending from the northeastern section of Illinois, at the convergence of the Kankakee and Des Plaines Rivers, travels through southwest Illinois to the town of Alton, leading into the Mississippi River. The 272.4-mile river flows through the county, providing year-round barge service with just one weeks travel to the Gulf via the Mississippi. Waterways are not the only means of transit of goods – Grundy County is easily accessed from many major highways: Interstate 55, Interstate 80, US Route 6, Illinois Route 17, IL Route 47, IL Route 53, and IL Route 113. The intersection of Interstate 55 and Interstate 80 is known as the "crossroads of the Midwest," and allows direct access to the Chicagoland market. There are operations for four of the six Class I Railroads with operations in Grundy County: BNSF, UP, CSX, and NS. BNSF & UP both have Intermodal facilities. The unique combination of river, rail, and interstate access in Grundy County offers a transportation system that connects the area to the global market and acts as a conduit for ensuring that the needs of both consumers and businesses are met.

Grundy County is part of the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area in the State of Illinois. The county seat is the City of Morris, which was incorporated April 12, 1842 and became home to the first post office in the area. The town is named after Isaac Newton Morris, a commissioner of the Illinois & Michigan Canal. Other communities in the county include: City of Morris; Villages of Braceville, Carbon Hill, Channahon (part), Coal City (part), Diamond (part), Dwight (part), East Brooklyn, Gardner, Godley, Kinsman, Lisbon, Mazon, Minooka (mostly), Nettle Creek, South Wilmington, and Verona; unincorporated areas of Mazonia, Paytonville, Nettle Creek and Wauponsee. Grundy County is divided into these townships: Aux Sable Township, Braceville Township, Erienna Township, Felix Township, Garfield Township, Goodfarm Township, Goose Lake Township, Greenfield Township, Highland Township, Maine Township, Mazon Township, Morris Township, Nettle Creek Township, Norman Township, Saratoga Township, Vienna Township, and Wauponsee Township. Adjacent counties include Kendall (north), Will (east), Kankakee (southeast), Livingston (south) and LaSalle (west). Having been long established, Grundy County has seven areas listed on the National Register of Historic Places including Downtown Morris and the Mazon Creek Fossil Beds. Besides land use for residential, agricultural and industrial purposes, a number of areas are preserved as parks. State parks include Gebhard Woods, Goose Lake Prairie Nature Reserve, Goose Lake Prairie State Park, Heidecke State Fish & Wildlife Area, Mazonia State Fish & Wildlife Area, William Stratton State Park Access Area. Local Parks include Chapin Park, North Park, and the Illinois and Michigan Canal Heritage Corridor.

Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, there were 50,063 people, 18,546 households, and 13,431 families residing in the county. The population density was 119.8 inhabitants per square mile (46.3/km2). There were 19,996 housing units at an average density of 47.8 per square mile (18.5/km2). Of the 18,546 households, 38.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.8% were married couples living together, 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 27.6% were non-families, and 22.5% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.16. The median age was 36.1 years. The median income for a household in the county was $64,297 and the median income for a family was $75,000. Males had a median income of $58,491 versus $36,592 for females. The per capita income for the county was $27,895.

Grundy County has a varied climate, as does much of the Midwest. The Weather Channel indicates average temperatures in recent years measured at the county seat of Morris have ranged from a low of 13 °F (-11 °C) in January to a high of 85 °F (29 °C) in July, although a record low of -24 °F (-31 °C) was recorded in January 1985 and a record high of 103 °F (39 °C) was recorded in June 1988. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.59 inches (40 mm) in February to 4.16 inches (106 mm) in June. Average maximum and minimum temperatures in °F. Precipitation totals in inches.

MonthHi TempLow TempPrecip Total