Seneca, Illinois

Seneca, Illinois

name = Seneca
native_name =
other_name =
category = Village
etymology =
official_name =
motto =
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image_caption = Business district in Seneca

symbol =
country = United States
state = Illinois
region = LaSalle, Grundy
region_type = Counties
district = Manlius, Brookfield, Erienna, Norman
district_type = Townships
municipality =
location =
elevation_imperial =
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lat_d = 41
lat_m = 18
lat_s = 40
lat_NS = N
long_d = 88
long_m = 36
long_s = 35
long_EW = W
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area_imperial = 3.6
area_land_imperial = 3.6
area_water_imperial =
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population = 2053
population_date = 2000
population_urban =
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population_density_imperial = 620.7
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leader_type = Village president
timezone = CST
utc_offset = -6
timezone_DST = CDT
utc_offset_DST = -5
postal_code = 61360
area_code = 815
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map_caption = Location of Seneca within Illinois
map_background = Illinois - background map.png map_locator = Illinois2
commons = Seneca, Illinois
statistics =
website =
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Seneca is a village in LaSalle and Grundy counties in the U.S. state of Illinois. The population was 2,053 at the 2000 census.

The LaSalle County portion of Seneca is part of the Ottawa–Streator Micropolitan Statistical Area, while the small portion that lies in Grundy County is part of the Chicago–Naperville–Joliet Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Seneca is located at coor dms|41|18|40|N|88|36|35|W|city (41.3111442, -88.6097936).GR|1

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 3.6 square miles (9.2 km²), of which, 3.3 square miles (8.6 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.7 km²) of it (7.28%) is water.

Most of the village lies in LaSalle County, although a small portion extends into west central Grundy County. In the 2000 census, all of Seneca's 2,082 residents lived in LaSalle County. According to 2006 population estimates, 2,082 of the village's 2,087 residents (99.8%) lived in LaSalle County and 5 (0.2%) lived in Grundy County. [cite web | url = | title = Subcounty population estimates 2000-2006: Illinois| format = CSV | publisher = United States Census Bureau, Population Division | date = 2007-06-28 | accessdate = 2008-06-03]

Seneca is located on the Illinois River, which connects Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River.


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 2,053 people, 744 households, and 569 families residing in the village. The population density was 620.7 people per square mile (239.5/km²). There were 786 housing units at an average density of 237.6/sq mi (91.7/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 98.59% White, 0.05% Native American, 0.05% Asian, 0.88% from other races, and 0.44% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.46% of the population.

There were 744 households out of which 40.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.3% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.4% were non-families. 20.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.76 and the average family size was 3.22.

In the village the population was spread out with 30.7% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 28.4% from 25 to 44, 22.5% from 45 to 64, and 11.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 95.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.1 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $52,188, and the median income for a family was $57,552. Males had a median income of $42,431 versus $24,438 for females. The per capita income for the village was $19,273. About 6.2% of families and 7.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.8% of those under age 18 and 5.8% of those age 65 or over.


Seneca is located on the Illinois River, which connects the Mississippi to Lake Michigan. Seneca hosts three [ marinas] on the south side of the Illinois River, as well as a public boat launch on the north side of the Illinois River.

In Seneca there are several taverns and restaurants, a [ hardware store] which has been owned by the Ellis family since 1872 and is Illinois' oldest family owned hardware store, a grocery store, along with 4 fuel stations. Other businesses in downtown Seneca include a pharmacy, doctor's office, a tattoo parlor, two banks, and a realtor. The Village has recently developed The Seneca Business Association which has united the over 100 businesses in the village. The goal of the association is to promote local shopping as well as downtown revitilization. The association has already developed a business directory as well as begun installation of decorative banners down main street on the light poles.


Seneca has three schools: Seneca Grade School (Pre-4), Seneca Middle School (5-8), and Seneca Township High School (9 - 12) which not only gets students from Seneca but from nearby town of Mazon, Illinois, Kinsman, Verona and Milton Pope Grade School, which is located north of Seneca.

The 2005 Illinois State Board of Education's 2005 Illinois District Report Card [ ISBE 2005 Report Card] shows that the Seneca High School was strongly funded - in large part through payments made by Commonwealth Edison's power generation plant located approximately ten miles south of Seneca. For example, the above cited 2005 high school district Report Card shows the Illinois State average instructional expenditure per pupil at $5,216, but Seneca was able to provide $8,647 in instructional expenditures per pupil. Similarly, while the state average operating expenditure per pupil was $8,786, Seneca was able to dedicate $17,305 per pupil, which is reflected in the striking grade school, middle school, and high school facilities. These payments made by Commonwealth Edison have since decreased along with the impact they once had.

*In 1989, the Seneca Fighting Irish Cross Country team won the Class 1A State Championship and were the first boys team from LaSalle County to win a state championship.

*In 1990, the Seneca Fighting Irish Track team's 3200 m relay team won the Class A State Championship.

*In 1990, the Seneca Fighting Irish football team won the Class 2A State Championship with a 14-0 record.

*In 1991, the Seneca Fighting Irish basketball team finished as the Class A State Runner-up with a 27-5 record.

*In 2005, the Seneca Fighting Irish basketball team placed third in the Class 1A State Championship.

*In 2006, the Seneca Fighting Irish basketball team went undefeated and won the Class 1A State Championship.

*The Seneca High School FFA has been voted as the top FFA in the State of Illinois.

Notable Historical Residents

*Father Gabriel de la Ribourde - The first Superior of the Recollects, who was slain by Kickapoo Indians, Sept. 19, 1680. A French missionary, brought Catholicism to the Seneca area 175 years before St. Patrick’s Parish was founded. In 1680, he was traveling with an exploratory party from Quebec when he was ambushed and killed by a band of Kickapoo Indians. A wooden cross marks the spot where Illinois’ first martyr to the Catholic faith is believed to have died (which is located next to St. Patricks Catholic Church).

*Jeremiah Crotty - Seneca was first settled by Jeremiah Crotty, an entrepreneur and contractor who helped build the Illinois and Michigan Canal. Crotty built the first residence in 1850 and established the town in 1854 with a post office in his name. Residents retained the name Crotty Town until 1865, when they incorporated the town with the name of Seneca—probably a nod to mid-nineteenth century interest in classicism. Jeremiah Crotty was best known for his work on the I&M Canal where he developed a technique to dig through the rock, clay, and sandstone much cheaper than any of his competitors.

*John Tracy Ellis (1905-1992) - Catholic church historian, born in Seneca, Illinois. A priest with a doctorate in history from Catholic University (Washington, DC), he spent most of his career on the faculty. A long serving executive secretary of the American Catholic Historical Association and editor of the Catholic Historical Review (1941–62), he wrote widely on church history and won particular notice for his essay (1955) deploring an anti-intellectual ‘ghetto mentality’ among American Catholics. He was named a monsignor in 1955. He is interred in Mt. Calvary Cemetery on the north side of Seneca.


Every year at the end of July or the beginning of August, Seneca hosts Seneca Prairie Shipyard Days during which a carnival comes to town and a fireworks show is performed. The fest was originally called "Seneca Prairie Shipyard Festival" in honor of the LSTs (also known as Landing Ship, Tank), built in Seneca during World War II. The Seneca Prairie Shipyard Days has made many improvements including adding a "Cruise Night" to the festival where Illinois Route 170 (Main Street) is closed in the downtown for a display of antique cars, trucks, motorcycles, and tractors. The festival committee has recently changed the festival name to "Seneca Prairie Shipyard Days" to reflect the historical significance of their village as well as have respect for their past.

ee also

*Seneca Grain Elevator


External links

* [ Seneca on USGS]

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