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Quincy Township, Adams County, Illinois


Quincy Township, Adams County, Illinois

Oakley-Lindsay Center [bottom], the Gardner Museum of Architecture and Design.
Official name: City of Quincy
Nickname: Gem City
Country United States
State Illinois
County Adams
Elevation 568 ft (173.1 m) [1]
Coordinates 55|56|N|91|23|19|W|type:city(40798)_region:US-IL name=


Area 15.94 sq mi (41.28 km2)
 - land 15.91 sq mi (41 km2)
 - water 0.04 sq mi (0 km2), 0.25%
Population 40,798 (2012)
 - metro 77,406 [2]
Density 2,761.2 / sq mi (1,066.1 / km2)
Government Mayor-council
Mayor Kyle A. Moore
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 62301, 62305, 62306
Area code 217
Location of Quincy in Illinois

Quincy (/ˈkwɪnsi/ ), known as Illinois' "Gem City," is a river city along the Mississippi River and the county seat of Adams County, Illinois, United States.[3] As of the 2010 census the city held a population of 40,633. It is the principal city of the Quincy micropolitan area, which contains portions of northeastern Missouri and has a population of 77,314 people. During the 19th Century, Quincy was a thriving transportation center as riverboats and rail service linked the city to many destinations west and along the river. It was once Illinois' second-largest city, surpassing Peoria in 1870.[4] The city holds several historic districts, including the Downtown Quincy Historic District and the South Side German Historic District showcasing the architecture of Quincy's many German immigrants from the late-19th century.

Today, Quincy remains a prominent river city. It has been twice recognized as an All-American City and is a participant in the Tree City USA program. In the fall of 2010, Forbes Magazine listed Quincy as the eighth "Best small city to raise a family."[5]


Quincy sits on the banks of the Mississippi River. For centuries the site was home to the Illiniwek, with a later incursion in the 1800s of Sauk, Fox and Kickapoo Native American tribes.

Quincy’s European-American founder, John Wood, came west from Moravia, New York in 1818 and settled in the Illinois Military Tract. Wood purchased 160 acres (0.65 km2) from a veteran for $60. The next year he became the first settler in what was originally called "Bluffs", and by 1825 would be known as Quincy. Wood was elected Lieutenant Governor of Illinois in 1856. He became Governor in 1860 upon the death of elected Governor William Henry Bissell.

In 1825 Quincy became the Adams County seat, both named in honor of the newly elected U.S. President, John Quincy Adams. The town square was originally named John Square (to complete the name John Quincy Adams) on April 30, 1825, but was eventually renamed Washington Square.

Quincy’s earliest 19th century settlers were primarily from New England, Yankees who moved west in a continuing search for good land. They brought a culture of progressive values, such as support for public education. In the 1840s they were joined by a wave of German immigrants, who left Europe after the Revolutions in German provinces. The new residents brought with them much needed skills for the expanding community.

The Mormon Exile and the Civil War

During the winter of 1838-1839, five thousand members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons, on their way west, were driven from their homes in Missouri and arrived in Quincy. Though vastly outnumbered by the new arrivals, the residents of Quincy provided them food and shelter. Joseph Smith then led his followers 40 miles (64 km) up river to Nauvoo, Illinois. The kindness extended by the people of Quincy continues to be remembered by Mormons. In 2002, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir gave a benefit concert in Quincy, with the proceeds donated to the city as an expression of gratitude.[6]

Quincy grew rapidly during the 1850s. Steamboat arrivals and departures made Quincy’s riverfront a center of activity. In 1858, Quincy was the site for the sixth Senatorial debate by U.S. Senator Stephen A. Douglas and his challenger, Abraham Lincoln. Quincy was the largest city in which Lincoln and Douglas appeared, as the debates in Freeport, Quincy, and Alton drew the largest crowds due to the size of the cities (at the time) as well as the fact that Quincy and Alton border Missouri, bringing the importance of slavery into greater spotlight in those cities with Missouri being a bitterly divided slave state and Illinois a non-slave state.

Lincoln and Douglas again competed during the 1860 Presidential campaign. Although there was substantial support for Douglas in the County, Quincy had a local chapter of the Wide Awakes, the para-military organization that supported Lincoln as well as the other Republican candidates. The Quincy Wide Awakes were involved in a violent confrontation in a monster political rally on August 25, 1860, in Payson.[7]

The matter of slavery was a major religious and social issue in Quincy’s early years. The Illinois city’s location, separated only by the Mississippi River from the slave state of Missouri, which was a hotbed of political controversy on the issue, made Quincy itself a hotbed of political controversy on slavery. Dr. Eells House, at 415 Jersey, was considered station number one on the Underground Railroad from Quincy to Chicago.[8]

The Civil War brought increasing prosperity to Quincy. It also brought another connection to Mormons, as most Mormon migrants to Utah in the 1860s came by rail to Quincy; they then boarded steam boats to cross the Mississippi River and continue their journey.[9]

Over the course of the Civil War years, Quincy was the site of the organization of several Illinois volunteer infantry regiments, including the 16th, 50th, 78th, 84th, 137th, 138th, and 151st.

By 1870, Quincy passed Peoria to become the second largest city in Illinois.[10] A massive railroad bridge across the Mississippi River had been completed, and Quincy was linked by rail to Omaha, Kansas City and other points west. These connections greatly increased its trade and shipping.

Contemporary history (1980 to present)

Over the past several decades, the city has worked to redevelop Quincy while holding onto its German roots. It has identified several historic districts within the city, and created an extensive park system. Quincy is known for having a large population of dogwoods and has been a member of Tree City USA since 1986.[11] Quincy is the home to many performing arts organizations including the Quincy Symphony Orchestra and Quincy Community Theatre, and also the Muddy River Opera Company. The Quincy Park Band is very prominent as well, playing weekly in Madison Park and Clat Adams Park on the river-front periodically.

During the Mississippi River flood of 1993, riverside businesses and industries suffered extensive damage when the river crested at a record 32.2 feet (9.81 m), 15 feet (4.6 m) above flood stage. For a time, the Bayview Bridge, one of Quincy's two bridges, was the only bridge open across the Mississippi River between Alton, Illinois and Burlington, Iowa. The Memorial Bridge was closed since the end of June, due to water over its western approach. On July 16, 1993, the Bayview Bridge closed for 40 days when the river submerged the land on the west side of the Mississippi River at West Quincy, Missouri.

A flood in June 2008 submerged much of Quincy's riverfront and low-lying regions not protected by the bluffs. Record Mississippi River levels occurred on 22 June 2008. The Red Cross[12] accepted donations for Quincy and other communities in Adams County, as natural disaster funds were recently depleted.


Historical population
Census Pop.
Decennial US Census

As of the census[13] of 2010, there were 40,633 people, 17,151 households, and 9,964 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,548.42 people per square mile (1,066.0/km²). There were 18,655 housing units at an average density of 1,234.2 per square mile (476.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.54% White, 3.86% African American, 1.78% Native American, 0.64% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 2.10% from other races.Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.80% of the population.

There were 16,546 households out of which 28.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.3% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.9% were non-families. 33.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.94.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.4% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 19.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 88.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,956, and the median income for a family was $40,718. Males had a median income of $30,734 versus $20,748 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,479. About 9.2% of families and 12.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.2% of those under age 18 and 8.3% of those age 65 or over.


Companies based in Quincy include Niemann Foods, Gardner Denver and The Knapheide Manufacturing Company. Harris' Television and Radio Transmission has a facility in town. Titan Wheel (Titan International) is also located in Quincy. Blessing Hospital and the Quincy Public Schools round out the top three employers in the area.[14]

In 1978, Quincy formed the Great River Economic Development Foundation, a private, non-profit organization designed to retain existing businesses and attract new ones to the area. This organization has been instrumental in putting the Quincy-Hannibal Area on the map as a distinct region in conjunction with the major metropolitan areas nearby such as Chicago, IL, St. Louis, MO, and even Kansas City, MO.[15] As a whole, Quincy falls from average to just above average in several economic categories[16] in comparison to the national averages.

The cost of living in Quincy is well below the national average.[17] The city is also below the national averages in cost of food, utilities and other miscellaneous costs.[18] In the fall of 2010 Quincy was listed as eighth in the top fifteen small cities to raise a family in the United States by Forbes magazine for its commute times, high school graduation rate, median household income, home ownership rate and cost of living. Forbes compared 126 cities with a population under 100,000 and ranked them on these five quality-of-life measures.[19]


Quincy is located at 39°55′56″N 91°23′19″W / 39.93222°N 91.38861°W / 39.93222; -91.38861 (39.932335, -91.388737).[20] It is adjacent to the Mississippi River and Quincy Bay, a large inlet of water fed by Cedar and Homan Creeks.

According to the 2010 census, the city has a total area of 15.94 square miles (41.3 km2), of which 15.91 square miles (41.2 km2) (or 99.81%) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (or 0.25%) is water.[21]

Micropolitan area

Quincy is considered a micropolis, defined as an area surrounding the city within a certain distance that contains a population between 10,000 and 49,999 people. The micropolitan area also extends into Lewis County, Missouri and possibly Marion County, but does not include the city of Hannibal, as Hannibal has its own micropolitan area. Quincy and Hannibal are actually considered each their own micropolis; however, they are adjacent to each other. Many local media outlets treat them as one area,[22] and sometimes include Keokuk, Iowa. Locally, this is referred to as the Tri-City area.[23] They also share several cab companies and other transportation mediums such as bus lines, Amtrak and a ferry.[24][25] Quincy and Hannibal are also connected to nearby St. Louis and as far north as Chicago by train.[26]

A recent survey shown that within 10 miles (16 km) of Quincy, the population exceeds 55,000 people. The survey was extended to 25 miles (40 km) and showed that there are 112,000 people in the area (including the Hannibal micropolitan area as well as other municipalities).[27][28] The Sansone Group conducted the survey when constructing the Prairie Trails Shopping Complex on the east side of Quincy.[29]

Nearby communities

The city has four suburbs within 10 miles (16 km), all unincorporated or annexed into Quincy.

  • North Quincy, Illinois is a fairly large village north of Quincy. The city was never annexed, but just grew out of the subdivisions over time. The border between Quincy and North Quincy is Koch's Lane or Locust Street, which travels from U.S. 24 to 36th street. U.S. 24 and Illinois Route 96 run through the town, while the Quincy train station is to its northeast.
  • Hickory Grove, Illinois is a small rural community east of Quincy, on the other side of Interstate 172. The town was annexed by Quincy in 2004 when development of a new shopping complex was being built on the other side of the interstate.
  • Marblehead, Illinois is located south of Quincy on the bluffs of the Mississippi River. The town is located along Illinois 57 (Gardner Expressway) and has a population of about 1,000 people.
  • West Quincy, Missouri is a commercial city with no population along U.S. Route 24. The town was deserted in the Great Flood of 1993. During the summer, numerous tents are set up for the sale of fireworks, which are illegal in Illinois but legal in Missouri. The town is separated from Quincy by the Mississippi River.

Sister cities

Quincy, Illinois has two sister cities.

Notable people


Quincy's television market includes the cities of Quincy, Hannibal, Burlington, Macomb, and Keokuk. The market was widely served by Insight Communications through 2007. In January 2008, Comcast took control of the cable television system. Satellite television services are provided by DirecTV or Dish Network.

The city is usually combined with Hannibal due to their proximity and labeled as the 171 market on the DMA chart. With regards to television service, Quincy and the surrounding region are served by affiliates of ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and the CW networks. STARadio Corporation and Quincy Newspapers own many of the local media in the region. Quincy Newspapers also owns the Quincy Herald-Whig, which is the most widely read newspaper in the region. In 2008, launched as an independent local news Website. As of February 2006, Quincy can receive 17 FM stations, 5 AM stations, and one NOAA Wideband Weather Radio station.[32]


As the largest city between the Quad Cities, St. Louis, Springfield, and Columbia areas, the Quincy area contains numerous architectural and historical destinations. Some of the featured attractions in the city include: the Quincy Museum, the John Wood Mansion, the Gardner Museum of Architecture and Design, the Quincy Art Center, and the Villa Katherine Castle.

During the year, the city holds numerous events. Events on the riverfront include the annual Fourth of July fireworks show, the U.S. Catfish Anglers Tournament, and "Movies on the Muddy", showings of recently released movies along the banks of the Mississippi River. Since 2006, Quincy has been host to the Big Dam Film Festival, an annual international film festival sponsored by Young Professionals Quincy. In addition, Quincy hosts the Pepsi Little People's Golf Championships, an annual event that features talented young golfers from around the world. The "Smoke on the River" BBQ Competition has also been put on by the Quincy Exchange Club[33] since 2007 and is hosted on the river front.

During the summer, Quincy features the Midsummer Arts Faire[34] the 4th weekend in June in downtown Quincy's historic Washington Park. The juried fine art festival features artwork for sale by artists throughout the region and country as well as food, entertainment and children's activities. A Gus Macker 3 on 3 basketball tournament has also been hosted by the Quincy Exchange Club since 1990 on Memorial Day weekend. From June to September, there is a series of free "Blues In The District" concerts in Washington Park. Quincy's Christmas Candelight Tour is held in December and features a public walk through several historic homes decorated for the holidays. The Dogwood Festival is held in spring. A parade leads people to see dogwood trees in bloom throughout the city. Another popular event for kids in the summer is the Quincy Breakfast Optimist Club's Soapbox Derby Race.[35] The Soapbox Derby is held the second weekend after Memorial day.

During October, The Early Tin Dusters are in town showing cars that range from the early years up to 1948. The event is first held in Downtown Quincy and on the last day it is held at upper Moorman Park.


As Quincy's population exploded during the mass migration from Germany, its culture was changed by the new immigrants, who brought styles of their home country. The South Side German Historic District has much of the city's historical architecture. Other significant buildings exist: Temple B’nai Sholom is one of America's earliest Moorish Revival synagogues. The Quincy Museum located on Historic Maine Street was featured on a cover of National Geographic as one of the ten most architecturally significant corners in the United States.[36] From 14th to 24th streets, Maine Street is notable for the number of restored homes dating back to the 19th century.

The Villa Kathrine Castle is a small Moorish castle situated on the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River.[39] It is a rarity to find an example of Mediterranean architecture in the Midwest.

The "Gem City" has been twice recognized as an All-American City. It has a range of architecture, including several Gothic style churches. The city is home to Quincy University, a Catholic Franciscan College founded in 1860, John Wood Community College, and several other smaller colleges.



Quincy has a number of educational institutions within the city or close by. One of the largest Illinois high schools outside of the Chicago area, Quincy Senior High School is located on Maine Street in Quincy. Quincy Notre Dame High School, a private Catholic high school, is also located in Quincy. Quincy University is Quincy's most highly decorated school, and was established in the 1860s. On the city's east side, John Wood Community College is the regional community college. A campus of the technical school Vatterott College is located on Quincy's north side. Gem City College is located in the heart of downtown Quincy and the Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing is located next door to Blessing Hospital. Regionally, Quincy is within driving distance of Western Illinois University in Macomb, Hannibal-LaGrange College downriver in Hannibal, Missouri, and Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri.

Quincy Park District

The Quincy Park District was founded in 1940 when five commissioners were elected to govern the district. Today the board for the Park District is made up of seven volunteers who serve four-year terms. Quincy Park District is made up of 1,000 acres (400 ha) which is divided into 26 parks. The26 parks located in Quincy are All-American Park, Berrian Park, Bob Bangert Park, Bob Mays Park, Boehl Memorial Park, Boots Bush Park, Clat Adams Bicentennial Park, Deer Park, Edgewater Park, Emerson Park, Gardner Park, Indian Mounds Park, Johnson Park, Kesler Park, Leon Bailey Park, Madison Park, Morrman Park, Parker Heights Park, Quinsippi Island, Reservoir Park, Riverview Park, South Park, Sunset Park, Washington Park, Wavering Park, and Westview Park. Washington Park was the first park in Quincy, IL. It is located downtown and sits on 4 acres (1.6 ha). Washington Park served as one of the locations in Illinois for the Lincoln Douglas Debates. The All-American Park is located on the banks of the Quincy Bay and is the site of an Antique Auto Museum. Near the All-American Park is the Clat Adams Bicentennial Park and Quinsippi Island. Clat Adams Bicentennial Park sits on the river and serves as the location for the 4th of July firework celebration. Quinsippi Island is accessible through the All-American Park and comprises 130 acres (53 ha). The island is also the location for the Log Cabin Village. Bob Mays Park sits on fifty acres of land and opened in 2008. Deer Park is located within the Illinois Veterans Home, sits on five acres of land, and is Quincy’s mini zoo. The site of the first public pool was at Indian Mounds Park. It also sits on 37 acres (15 ha) of land. Another swimming pool can be found at Wavering Park. This park also has baseball and softball diamonds. Next to Wavering Park is Moorman Park where visitors can find more baseball and softball diamonds. Moorman Park sits on 80 acres (32 ha) and includes a batting cage and mini golf course. Besides swimming pools and baseball/softball diamonds, there are also tennis courts for the community to use. One park that has tennis courts is the Reservoir Park where many city tennis tournaments are held. This is just some of the information regarding the parks in Quincy. To find out more information about the Quincy Park District visit:

Health and medicine

Quincy is home to Blessing Hospital and Quincy Medical Group. Specialty areas include a cancer center, cardiovascular center, outpatient surgery center, Level 2 trauma center, and rehabilitation. Blessing also operates the Blessing Rieman College of Nursing.



Interstate 72 passes just south of Quincy. Its spur route, Interstate 172, passes just east of town. In recent years, the Prairie Trails Shopping Complex has been a focal point for development in this area. Illinois Route 104 (Broadway) is a main east-west artery from the Mississippi River bridges to Interstate 172. Illinois Route 96 enters the city from the southeast and travels north (through the east side of Quincy) to U.S. Route 24. Illinois Route 57 branches south from U.S. 24 downtown and passes Quincy's Civic Center on its way to Interstate 172 southeast of the city. Illinois 96 also serves as the Great River Road, which follows the path of the Mississippi River. Eastbound U.S. 24 crosses the Mississippi River from Missouri on the Quincy Memorial Bridge, while westbound traffic uses the newer Bayview Bridge. Bayview bridge was constructed in 1986, but was not built as a 4-lane bridge because of budget cuts, as the cable suspension made it unaffordable to build a 4-lane bridge. Other groups claimed that business in the downtown part of Quincy would decline if the Memorial bridge was shut down.

On the Missouri side, U.S. Route 61 carries the Avenue of the Saints, a four-lane highway connecting Saint Louis to Minneapolis – Saint Paul. The Avenue of the Saints gets its name from Saint Louis and Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Quincy is at the center of four-lane highways in all directions: • The Avenue of the Saints passes just 5 miles to the west and is 4-lane from Canada to the Gulf • Illinois Highway 172 is part of the newly designated Route 110/CKC (Chicago - Kansas City Expressway)which offers a less-congested alternate route to these popular Midwest destinations.

Air travel

The Quincy Regional Airport is to Quincy's east, about 5 miles (8.0 km) outside of the city limits. Due to Quincy's close proximity to St. Louis, Cape Air offers 6 daily commuter flights that take less than an hour.[41] They also have a code-share agreement with American Airlines. Flight instruction, plane rentals and hangar space are also available at the Airport. Longest Runway: 7,089 ft.

Rail service

Freight Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Norfolk Southern offer multiple freight trains daily and Burlington Junction Rail Road offers short line service many sites and development districts. Amtrak Quincy is an Amtrak community with a rail station on the north side of town. It is the terminus of two Amtrak routes, the Illinois Zephyr and the Carl Sandburg. The former departs in the morning and arrives in the evening, while the later arrives mid-day and departs in the late afternoon. Both trains follow the same track to Chicago's Union Station and make the same stops.

River access

Quincy is home to the northernmost port on the Mississippi River for 12-month barge traffic. The municipal barge dock currently serves multiple industries in the South Quincy Development District. The Mid America Intermodal Port Commission is working to secure funding for an additional multi-million dollar intermodal port facility.

Public transit

Quincy Transit Lines provides fixed-route and paratransit bus service throughout Quincy.[42] There are four fixed routes, and each route is split into two branches.[43] Those routes run Monday-Saturday, between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm. During Sundays and holidays, Quincy Transit Lines operates a pared-down version of the fixed-route system that is made up of two routes - the North route and the South route.[44]

Quincy Transit Lines route Route 4 stops near the city's Amtrak station at Wissman Lane/30th Street intersection.[45]


Further reading

  • Prinsloo, Oleta, “‘The Abolitionist Factory’: Northeastern Religion, David Nelson, and the Mission Institute near Quincy, Illinois, 1836–1844,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (Spring 2012), 105#1 36–68.

External links

Illinois portal
  • City of Quincy Official Site
  • Quincy Convention & Visitor's Bureau
  • Great River Economic Development Foundation
  • Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Debate review)

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