Alexander County is located in the extreme southern region of Illinois, bordering Kentucky to the south, and Missouri to the west. It is bordered by Pulaski County to the north, Union County to the east and Johnson County to the northeast. See Countryaah – Counties in Illinois. Alexander County was established in 1819 and named after William M. Alexander, a prominent lawyer from Shawneetown who helped draft Illinois’ first constitution.
The county seat is at Cairo, which also serves as an important transportation hub along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. The county has a total area of 511 square miles, with much of it consisting of woodland and agricultural land. There are several small communities throughout Alexander County including Thebes, Tamms, Unity, Sandusky and Olive Branch.
Alexander County has a population of approximately 8500 people with most living in rural areas or small towns. Agriculture remains an important part of the local economy with corn, soybeans and wheat being some of the major crops grown in this region. In addition to farming there are some light industries located throughout Alexander County including metal fabrication shops and food processing plants.
The county is served by three public school districts: Cairo Unit School District 1; Unity Point School District 2; and Elco Community Unit School District 3. There are also several private schools located throughout Alexander County as well as higher education institutions such as Shawnee Community College in Ullin.
Demographics of Alexander County, Illinois
Alexander County is a predominantly rural area located in the extreme southern region of Illinois. According to the latest US Census Bureau estimates, Alexander County has a population of 8,451 people. The county is home to a diverse population composed of African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics and Whites.
The racial makeup of Alexander County is 70.4% White, 23.6% African American, 0.9% Native American or Alaskan Native, 1.1% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander and 3.8% from two or more races with 4.3% of the population being Hispanic or Latino origin.
The median household income in Alexander County is $35,944 compared to the national average of $53,482 and the median age is 41 years old with 21% under 18 years old and 14% over 65 years old. The unemployment rate in Alexander County is 7%, lower than the national average at 8%.
Alexander County has an estimated poverty rate of 23%. Education levels in Alexander County are slightly lower than the national average with 81% graduating high school compared to 89%. In terms of college education, only 13 percent have obtained a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to 33 percent nationally.
Places of Interest in Alexander County, Illinois
Alexander County, Illinois is an ideal destination for those looking to explore the beauty and culture of rural America. From outdoor recreation to historical sites, there is something for everyone in this small county.
The Little Grand Canyon State Park is a popular destination for nature lovers. The park offers stunning views of the bluffs and canyons carved by the Mississippi River. Visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, and picnicking among the scenic landscape.
The historic town of Cairo is also worth a visit. Located on the banks of the Ohio River, Cairo was once a bustling port city but has since become a quiet town with many preserved buildings from its former days as an industrial hub. Visitors can explore the Victorian-style homes and take in some of the local art galleries and museums.
The Alexander County Museum is another great place to visit to learn more about the history of Alexander County. The museum features exhibits on Native American artifacts, pioneer life, Civil War history and more.
For those looking to get out on the water, Alexander County has plenty of opportunities for fishing and boating along its many rivers and lakes including Clear Lake, Wolf Lake and Big Cypress Bayou Wildlife Refuge.
Finally, visitors can take advantage of some great shopping opportunities in Alexander County at local stores such as The White House Store or browse through antiques at places such as The Olde Towne Antique Mall or Grandma’s Attic Flea Market & Collectibles Shop.
Notable People of Alexander County, Illinois
Alexander County, Illinois has a rich history of notable people who have made an impact on the county and beyond. From politicians to entertainers, the county has produced some truly remarkable people over the years.
Perhaps one of the most famous individuals from Alexander County is former U.S. Senator Everett Dirksen. Dirksen served as a U.S. Senator from 1951 to 1969 and was instrumental in passing civil rights legislation and the 1964 Civil Rights Act during his tenure in office.
The county is also home to a number of notable sports figures such as football player Dick Butkus, basketball player Doug Collins, and baseball players Bill Lee and Frank Thomas. All four men were inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame for their respective contributions to the game of baseball.
Alexander County is also home to a number of famous musicians such as jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald and blues singer Koko Taylor as well as country music stars Reba McEntire and Travis Tritt who both grew up in Alexander County before finding success in Nashville.
In addition, there are several notable politicians from Alexander County including former Illinois governor Jim Edgar, former US Representative Bob Michel, and US Representative Jerry Costello who served for 12 terms before retiring in 2013.
Finally, Alexander County has produced its share of authors including William Goyen whose novel “The House Of Breath” won him numerous awards including an American Academy Award for Literature; novelist Joyce Carol Oates; essayist Jonathan Franzen; and poet Carl Sandburg who was born near Galesburg in 1878.
These are just a few of the notable people from Alexander County, Illinois who have made a lasting impact on the county and beyond.