Calumet City, Illinois
|Incorporated (Village)||February 13, 1893|
(as West Hammond)
(as Calumet City)
|• Mayor||Thaddeus Jones|
|• Total||7.32 sq mi (18.96 km2)|
|• Land||7.20 sq mi (18.64 km2)|
|• Water||0.12 sq mi (0.32 km2) 1.64%|
|• Density||5,005.97/sq mi (1,932.85/km2)|
|Standard of living (2009-11)|
|• Per capita income||$20,390|
|• Median home value||$121,900|
Calumet City (commonly referred to locally as "Cal City") was founded in 1893 when the villages of Schrumville and Sobieski Park merged under the name of West Hammond, since it lies on the west side of the Illinois-Indiana line from Hammond, Indiana.
In 1916, when alcohol was prohibited in Indiana, West Hammond became a preferred location for drinkers coming from northwest Indiana. Bootleggers including Al Capone built on this basis once the Prohibition era arrived, and West Hammond gained the nickname of "Sin City". The city became known for illegal alcohol consumption, gambling, and prostitution. In 1923, residents wishing to rid the city of its reputation voted to change the name from West Hammond to Calumet City.
Frank LaPorte is believed to have been the member of the Chicago Outfit who was most responsible for developing and maintaining the "Sin Strip" area of Calumet City. Police avoided Sin Strip and risked violence if they tried to make an arrest. In 1959, the state of Illinois conducted a police raid that resulted in 98 arrests and the seizure of business records. An article published in Chicago Daily News on June 2, 1959, exposed LaPorte as being instrumental in the illegal activities in Calumet City.
According to the 2021 census gazetteer files, Calumet City has a total area of 7.32 square miles (18.96 km2), of which 7.20 square miles (18.65 km2) (or 98.31%) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.31 km2) (or 1.69%) is water.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the 2020 census there were 36,033 people, 14,166 households, and 8,607 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,921.20 inhabitants per square mile (1,900.09/km2). There were 16,196 housing units at an average density of 2,211.96 per square mile (854.04/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 72.64% African American, 9.74% White, 0.65% Native American, 0.19% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 10.44% from other races, and 6.30% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.97% of the population.
There were 14,166 households, out of which 31.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 26.65% were married couples living together, 26.42% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.24% were non-families. 36.79% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.38 and the average family size was 2.56.
The city's age distribution consisted of 23.5% under the age of 18, 11.0% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 26% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.9 years. For every 100 females, there were 81.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $50,640, and the median income for a family was $55,612. Males had a median income of $34,474 versus $32,079 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,688. About 15.9% of families and 18.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.6% of those under age 18 and 10.9% of those age 65 or over.
|Race / Ethnicity||Pop 2010||Pop 2020||% 2010||% 2020|
|White alone (NH)||4,928||2,676||13.30%||7.43%|
|Black or African American alone (NH)||25,888||25,959||69.89%||72.04%|
|Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH)||58||51||0.16%||0.14%|
|Asian alone (NH)||108||50||0.29%||0.14%|
|Pacific Islander alone (NH)||7||4||0.02%||0.01%|
|Some Other Race alone (NH)||31||116||0.08%||0.32%|
|Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH)||448||701||1.21%||1.95%|
|Hispanic or Latino (any race)||5,574||6,476||15.05%||17.97%|
Arts and culture
A landmark and point of pride among Cal City residents is the pair of large water towers painted like the popular "Have a Nice Day" smiley faces which are located on Ring Road near River Oaks Mall, the other State Street near Interstate 94.
Calumet City has a Mayor-Council type government.
The city has 7 Wards.
Calumet City is in Illinois's 2nd congressional district.
Calumet City is served by several elementary school districts:
- Calumet City School District 155
- Woodrow Wilson Memorial School
- Wentworth Intermediate School
- Wentworth Jr. High School
- Dolton School District 149
- Berger Vandenberg School
- Carol Moseley Braun School
- Caroline Sibley School
- Dirksen Middle School
- Lincoln Elementary School District 156
- Lincoln Elementary School
- Hoover-Schrum Memorial School District No. 157
- Hoover Elementary School
- Schrum Memorial Middle School
The city is served by two high school districts:
- Thornton Township High School District 205 (west of Torrence Avenue)
- Thornton Fractional High School District 215 (east of Torrence Avenue)
- Landon Cox, drafted to Cincinnati Bengals, July 28, 2011
- Arline M. Fantin, Illinois state representative
- Frank Giglio, Illinois state representative
- John Jurkovic, defensive lineman for several NFL teams; radio host at ESPN Radio 1000
- Mirko Jurkovic, former offensive guard for the Chicago Bears and All-American at the University of Notre Dame
- Alan Keyes (born 1950), conservative political activist and perennial candidate. Keyes moved from Maryland to Calumet City to establish residency after being drafted by the Illinois Republican Party to run against Barack Obama in the 2004 United States Senate election.
- Gene Krupa, jazz drummer, buried in Holy Cross Cemetery
- José Olivarez, poet, author of Citizen Illegal and Promises of Gold. Editor of The Breakbeat Poets Volume 4: LatiNext.
- DJ Rashad, Chicago house music producer
- Mike Tomczak, quarterback for several NFL teams, including the 1985 Chicago Bears Super Bowl champions
- Steve Wojciechowski, former pitcher for the Oakland Athletics
- Tink, singer-songwriter
- Tim Walberg (born 1951), member of the United States House of Representatives from Michigan. His family moved from Chicago to Calumet City and he attended Thornton Fractional Township North High School.
In popular culture
Calumet City is featured or mentioned in a number of major movies. John Belushi's "Joliet Jake" and Dan Aykroyd's "Elwood" characters from The Blues Brothers were born in Calumet City, and so is the orphanage they grew up in, which they save "on a mission from God" by paying $5,000 in property taxes from a $10,000 record deal at their concert, as well as "Ray's Music Exchange" that holds the famed Ray Charles "Shake Your Tail-Feather" scene of the movie. In the book and film The Silence of the Lambs, Buffalo Bill is thought to be hiding in Calumet City, when he is actually in Belvedere, Ohio. The Calumet City scenes in the film were filmed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, however. Lily Tomlin's prim but assertive housewife/spokesperson "Mrs. Judith Beasley" is said to be a resident of Calumet City. She said, "Hi. I am not an actress, but a real person like yourself."
Calumet City is also referenced by a number of popular music acts. The Black Crowes included a video of the Smiley Towers in their 1990 video for "Hard to Handle". A photograph of the "Dolton" smiley water tower is featured on the back of the Dead Kennedys album Plastic Surgery Disasters. Rapper Twista has referenced Calumet City. Kanye West's reference to Calumet in his 2005 song "Drive Slow" does not refer to Calumet City, but rather to Calumet High School, which was located in the South Side of Chicago and not in Calumet City.
The Smiley Tower is also featured in the movie Natural Born Killers; it is seen out the window of Mallory's family home (part of that movie was filmed in Hammond, Indiana). In the Nine Inch Nails music video on the director's cut of the same film, the Smiley Tower and Dolton Avenue/State Street is featured.
The founders of the Calumet Baking Powder Company adopted its brand name from the original Native American word for the land that became Calumet City. They later named one of thoroughbred horse racing's most famed and successful enterprises, Calumet Farm, after the company.
In 2004, Alan Keyes purchased a raised ranch house in Calumet City to establish residency in Illinois so he could run for the U.S. Senate in place of Jack Ryan against Barack Obama, although instead of residing in the house, he officially moved into an apartment elsewhere in town, on Garfield Avenue.
In 2010, pop music group Hanson remade the "Shake Your Tailfeather" scene from The Blues Brothers for the music video for their hit "Thinkin' 'Bout Somethin'" in Tulsa, Oklahoma, paying homage to Calumet City's Ray's Music Exchange, John Belushi, and Ray Charles.
Jean Shepherd (writer and narrator of the classic movie A Christmas Story) in radio broadcasts from WOR radio, New York in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s and in his PBS specials of the 1970s and 1980s, and his many books, often refers to it as Cal City or just Calumet. He grew up next door in Hammond, Indiana.
- "Calumet City History". City of Calumet City, Illinois. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
- United States of America Congressional Record: Proceedings and Debates of the 90th Congress Second Session. United States Government Printing Office. 1968. pp. 16332–16333.
1924—West Hammond changed its name to Calumet City.
- (1993). "Calumet City Centennial Celebration". Illinois: Centennial History Committee.
- Enke, Anne (2007). Finding the Movement: Sexuality, Contested Space, and Feminist Activism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. p. 284. ISBN 978-0822340836.
Until 1924, Calumet City was known as West Hammond, Illinois. Separated from Hammond, Indiana, by State Line Road, saloons and brothels settled on the Illinois side before, during, and after Prohibition.
- "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
- "Calumet City city, Illinois". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
- Keating, Ann Durkin (2008). Chicago Neighborhoods and Suburbs: A Historical Guide. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. pp. 120–121. ISBN 978-0226428833.
- Lombardo, Robert M. (2013). Organized Crime in Chicago: Beyond the Mafia. University of Illinois Press. pp. 183–184. ISBN 978-0252094484.
- "Glitter Fades: Calumet City's Sin Strip Loses to Suburban Respectability". The Cincinnati Enquirer. June 17, 1962. Retrieved September 6, 2023.
Everything was on sale in 'Sin Strip' and policemen stayed away from the row. Any officer who tried to make an arrest was generally asking for a beating up.
- Luzi, Matthew J. (2012). The Boys in Chicago Heights: The Forgotten Crew of the Chicago Outfit. Charleston, SC: The History Press. p. 79. ISBN 978-1609497330.
- "Redemption is Near for Calumet City's 'Sin Strip'". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, IL. July 18, 1995. Retrieved September 2, 2023.
- Penn, Mary Sue (September 12, 1995). "City Levels Tavern in 'Sin Strip' Area". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, IL. Retrieved September 2, 2023.
- Bureau, US Census. "Gazetteer Files". Census.gov. Retrieved June 29, 2022.
- "Decennial Census of Population and Housing by Decades". US Census Bureau.
- "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Calumet City, Illinoi". United States Census Bureau.
- "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Calumet City, Illinoi". United States Census Bureau.
- "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
- "The Smiley Towers". Archived from the original on September 27, 2011.
- "Office of the Mayor". The City of Calumet City. Retrieved December 20, 2020.
- "Calumet City :: Illinois". Archived from the original on October 14, 2006. Retrieved November 4, 2006.
- "Welcome to Calumet City School District 155 in Calumet City, IL". www.calumetcity155.org. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
- "School District 149". www.schooldistrict149.org. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
- "Lincoln Elementary School District 156". Lincoln Elementary School District 156. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
- "Home - Hoover-Schrum Memorial School District 157". www.hsdist157.org. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
- "Thornton Township High Schools District 205 / Overview". www.district205.net. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
- "Thornton Fractional High School District #215". www.tfd215.org. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
- "Landon Cox". Cincinnati Bengals. Archived from the original on September 1, 2011. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
High School: Thornton Fractional North High School (Calumet City, Illinois)
- 'Illinois Blue Book 1997-1998,' Biographical Sketch of Arline M. Fantin, pg. 85
- 'Illinois Blue Book 1993-1994,' Biographical Sketch of Frank Giglio, pg. 80
- "John Jurkovic". Football Database.com. 2011. Archived from the original on November 22, 2011. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
High School: Thornton Fractional North (Calumet City, IL)
- Foltman, Bob (May 3, 2001), "WMVP shuffles afternoon lineup: Low ratings cost Simonson-Canellis", Chicago Tribune, retrieved May 11, 2011,
Jurkovic, who played with the Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars before retiring in 1999, was voted the NFL's funniest player in a Sport Magazine poll in 1998. He is a Calumet City native and a graduate of Thornton Fractional North High School.
- anonymous (n.d.). "Mirko Jurkovic". Notre Dame Athletics. Archived from the original on December 22, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2012.
- Ford, Liam; Mendell, David (August 13, 2004). "Keyes sets up house in Cal City". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 5, 2022.
- Hamnik, Al (September 11, 2010), "Cal City's Tomczak won't ever forget 'miracle' ride", Northwest Indiana Times, retrieved May 11, 2011,
They had accepted Tomczak, the rookie, and occasionally he was allowed to play among them. "It was a miracle ride for me," the T.F. North grad and former Ohio State star said.
- Myslenski, Skip; Kay, Linda (September 17, 1986), "Planning ahead: Mike Tomczak reached inside the breast...", Chicago Tribune, retrieved May 11, 2011,
Both Jo Ann and Ron Tomczak, who coached Mike at Thornton Fractional North, dashed the theory that their son had a case of the jitters Sunday.
- "Bioguide Search".
- Calumet City official website