Antioch, Illinois

Antioch is a small town located in the US state of Illinois. Founded in the mid-19th century, the town is part of Lake County, which is appropriately named since it is home to many lakes. These lakes make Antioch and its vicinity a prime vacation area. In fact, Antioch has been popular with vacationers since the late 19th century, especially vacationers from nearby Chicago hoping for an escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Today, people who visit Antioch and its vicinity can take in numerous attractions, most of which are suited for people seeking an outdoor adventure, or people who just want to be closer to the wonders of nature. 

Geography Of Antioch

A flock of Sandhill Cranes wading in a pond in a field using a soft focus, in Antioch, Illinois, USA

Antioch is located on the Illinois side of the border between Illinois and Wisconsin. It sits roughly in between the metropolitan areas of Chicago, Illinois and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The town is surrounded by other towns and villages. The small village of Lake Shangrila, Wisconsin, for example, is situated immediately to the north of Antioch. The town of Channel Lake is located to Antioch’s west. To the east of Antioch is the village of Wadsworth, and to the south is the village of Lake Villa. As previously mentioned, there are many lakes in close proximity to Antioch. Some of these lakes, include Lake Marie, Loon Lake, Redwing Slough Lake, Deer Lake, Antioch Lake, and Silver Lake, which are located immediately adjacent to Antioch’s limits. Two other lakes, called Homer White Lake and Lake Tranquility, are located within Antioch’s limits, as is a small part of Cross Lake, which straddles the Illinois-Wisconsin border. There is also a river called Sequoit Creek that flows through part of Antioch. Antioch encompasses a total area of 22.26 sq. km, of which 21.26 sq. km is land and 1 sq. km is water.

Demographics Of Antioch

The population of Antioch is 14,622, though the greater Township of Antioch has a population of 26,907. More than 92% of the town's residents are classified as white. Around 93% of the town's population speaks only English. Spanish is the next most popular language, spoken by nearly 3% of Antioch residents. About 95% of people in Antioch were born in the United States, while about three quarters were born in the town itself. 

Economy Of Antioch

Average earnings in Antioch are $49,226. The poverty rate in the town is just 6.94%. The largest industries in Antioch in terms of number of employees are manufacturing, retail trade, and healthcare & social services. Since 1996, weekday train service between Antioch and downtown Chicago has sparked significant commercial development in the former, especially around the Illinois Route 173 corridor. Antioch is also the home of the Pickard China factory, which manufactures fine china for Air Force One and Camp David, among others.

History Of Antioch

Antioch Illionois
A boardwalk through the meadows of Antioch.

The original inhabitants of what is now Antioch were the Pottawatoni Native Americans. They fought on the side of the British during the War of 1812, and against American settlers in the Blackhawk War of 1832. It was in 1832 that the Pottawatoni people began to leave the area. The earliest European settlement in present-day Antioch was a cabin on the Sequoit Creek in which Darius and Thomas Gage lived. They were among the first people to stake land claims in the area. These people built houses along the Sequoit Creek in the winter of 1837. Two years later, a person named Hiram Buttrick built a sawmill on the creek, which made the locale a center of commerce.

Antioch was founded by members of a Protestant sect known as the Disciples of Christ. In 1843, the residents of the new community gave it the name “Antioch” in honor of a city that was significant in early Christian history. The new community was to become a local center of support for abolitionism, the movement to abolish slavery. The town grew as new settlers, primarily English, Irish, and German, came to set up farms and businesses. By 1852, Antioch had a population of 300 residents.

In the late 1800s, Antioch became a popular tourist destination for people from Chicago, especially after the Chicago rail line was laid in 1886. The tourism sector in Antioch began with residents of the town accepting boarders, then adding guestrooms to their homes. Eventually hotels were built, as were subdivisions of summer cottages. Boating, hunting, fishing, gambling, and dancing became very popular in the town and its vicinity. In 1892, Antioch was officially incorporated as a village.

Fires in the years 1891, 1903, and 1904 destroyed much of Antioch’s downtown. In 1905, residents began rebuilding with brick. They also began building a public water system. In 1937, the Pickard China company moved from Chicago to Antioch. It has been a steady employer in the city ever since. Another notable company, called Thelen Sand and Gravel, established itself in Antioch in 1947. During the 1950s, the people of Antioch established an industrial park along the street known as Anita Avenue. Antioch maintained its small town character until the 1990s, when rapid residential expansion began.

Attractions In The Antioch Area

Antioch
A prairie filled with wildflowers and grasses in front of a grove of trees in Ethel's Woods Forest Preserve in Antioch, Illinois.

As previously mentioned, Antioch became popular with tourists in the late 19th century. This popularity continues to this day, especially for those seeking outdoor fun. It should be noted, however, that most of the attractions associated with Antioch are located near the city rather than within it. One popular outdoor attraction in the Antioch area is Boundless Adventures, which is a family-owned business in the form of several outdoor courses that challenge visitors to test their limits and see what they are capable of.

One other very popular attractions in the Antioch area is the Six Flags Great America theme park, which features, among other things, several roller coasters, a waterpark, and the Tsunami Surge, the tallest water coaster in the world. The vicinity of Antioch also includes several museums, including the National Museum of the American Sailor, the Volo Auto Museum, and the Dunn Museum. For those who want to learn about nature, animals, and their habitats, it would be advisable to visit the Wildlife Discovery Center, which has, among other attractions, one of the largest rattlesnake exhibits in North America.

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