Have you ever seen a town nickname or motto and wondered what the meaning was? I definitely have, and I’ve come across this quite a lot in Illinois. So I’ve dug up the meaning behind the nicknames of 15 Illinois towns. Enjoy!
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1. Aurora (City of Lights)
Aurora got its name in 1908, because it became one of the first towns in America to implement all-electric street lighting.
2. Beardstown (Watermelon Capital)
I had no idea that Illinois produced so many watermelons. Beardstown takes the cake with its watermelon production. Hence, the nickname!
3. Chester (The Home of Popeye)
If you are a Popeye fan (and you totally should be), you need to head down to Chester, where they honor Popeye through statues and festivals. Popeye's creator, E.C. Segar, was Chester's native son.
4. DeKalb (Barbed Wire Capital of the World)
Joseph Glidden, of DeKalb, invented barbed wire. Criminals everywhere curse you!
5. Freeport (Pretzel City, USA)
Freeport, Illinois is known as Pretzel City in honor of its German heritage.
6. Mattoon (Bagel Capital of the World)
You know Lender...that Lender, that makes those delicious bagels? Yeah, he set up shop in Mattoon, and since then, the town has a "Bagelfest" each year.
7. Lombard (Lilac City)
Lombard's love of lilacs (say that ten times fast!) dates back to the early 1900s, when the town held its first lilac festival.
8. Quincy (Gem City)
Turns out, the nickname "Gem City" has nothing to do with gemstones. It was so named because, when settled, it turned out to be particularly fertile and had great opportunities for trade.
9. Peoria (Whiskeytown)
At one time, Peoria was swimming in whiskey, as the top producer of whiskey in the country! The last brewery has since closed but the legacy lives on.
10. Thomson (The Melon Capital of the World)
Thomson is known for its melons of all varieties, but especially watermelons. Each fall, they host "Melon Days."
11. Monmouth (The Maple City)
Well, they have maples in Monmouth, but another reason for this nickname might be the fact that it was once home to Western Stoneware, known for stoneware with a "maple leaf" imprint.
12. Batavia (The Windmill City)
At the turn of the century, Batavia was the top windmill manufacture, which produced a ton of power. They honor this heritage with a windmill festival each year.
13. Charleston (Chuckvegas)
This has to be one of the greatest nicknames ever. This was so named because college kids love to party here. Go Panthers!
14. Marion (Hub City of the Universe)
Marion was so nicknamed by mayor Bob Butler. He named it this because the town is at the interaction of Illinois Route 13 and Interstate 57, and it is a center for shopping, dining and entertainment in Southern Illinois.
15. Naperville (The Golden City)
I haven't found a good explanation for this nickname other than that people who live here generally have enough money to buy all the gold they want.
Does your town have a fun nickname? Be sure to let us know in the comments.