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Situated in southern Illinois in the Midwest United States, 96 miles southeast of St. Louis, Missouri, is the City of Carbondale. It is located in Jackson County, Illinois, and is known chiefly as the site of the main campus of Southern Illinois University.
The current mayor of Carbondale is Brad Cole, and the city operates under a Council-Manager form of Government. The Mayor and six City Council members are elected at-large for four-year staggered terms in non-partisan elections.
The City Council acts as the policy making body for City Government and hires a City Manager to serve as the Chief Administrative Officer. The Mayor is the official head of the City and with City Council consent is responsible for appointing members to the various boards, commissions, and committees of the City. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 26,367.
The city of Carbondale was found and named by Daniel Brush, who intended to develop coal-mining operations in the region. The area had been incorporated as a village by the time of the American Civil War, and after the war, it developed into a center of business and transportation for the region.
The railroad made possible the shipping of Southern Illinois coal and fruit. By this time, Carbondale had also become an education center with the founding of Carbondale College, which later became Southern Illinois College (1866).
Carbondale won the bid for the new teacher training school for the region and Southern Illinois Normal University (SINU) opened here in 1874. This gave the town a new industry, new citizens and a model school to supplement the public grade schools.
So far, the notable natives of Carbondale have included the Grammy Award winning singer and musician Shawn Colvin, Paul Gilbert the famous guitarist, United States Army officer John Alexander Logan, Jr, actress Laurie Metcalf, the famous saxophonist of the 1920s Frankie Trumbauer, Agnes Ayres, R. Buckminster Fuller, Troy Hudson and more.
The city is in a region of the state known as Little Egypt, and to many people, Carbondale is a place called Home, such as, home of the birthplace of Memorial Day, home of the front door of the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, home of fabulous restaurants, serving worldwide cuisine, home of two stops along the Southern Illinois Golf Trail, home of stages filled with music, dance and live theater, and home of Saluki Pride! Carbondale is the ideal location for a family vacation, weekend jaunt, sports event, family reunion or conference and much more! It is the destination for exploring Southern Illinois.
The outdoor activities for which the city of Carbondale is famous are hiking and Kayaking/Canoeing. Some of the landmark sights of the city include the city owned and maintained public beach and boat dock at Cedar Lake, the Downtown Pavilion located in the Town Square, the Carbondale Park District, University Museum, the African American Museum and Science Center.
The city's major shopping center is the University Mall, and other than Southern Illinois University, the city has a variety of unique cultural institutions. PBS and NPR broadcasting station are affiliated with the university. Carbondale also is home to WDBX Community Radio for Southern Illinois, and the Big Muddy Independent Media Center.
Both professional and student-produced plays and performances can be seen by the theater-goers at the university's McLeod and Kleinau Theatres, or they can attend off-campus productions by The Stage Company.
Carbondale consists of a variety of Christian denominations churches, two mosques, a Jewish congregation, a Sufi community, and a Hindu community. The city is known for a number of yearly festivals, including the Lights Fantastic parade in December, the Main Street Pig Out, the Big Muddy Film Festival, the Southern Illinois Irish Festival, the Great Cardboard Boat Regatta, and the Sunset Concerts, a summer series of free outdoor concerts on the Southern Illinois University campus and in city parks.
However, earlier, in the 1970s and early '80s, Carbondale was famous for its elaborate public celebration of Halloween, with imaginative, original costumes and throngs of visitors attracted from other parts of Illinois and neighboring states.
Today, the University and other educational services have become the main supporting factor of the City, employing about 40 percent of the total labor force, roughly equivalent to 6,000 people.
Being the home of SIUC has given the community cultural activities usually available only in larger cities. You must plan a trip to this beautiful city of Carbondale along with your family and explore the Southern Illinois here!