Thursday, July 30, 2020

Population in the County

 Population in the schools:  1920
June 30, 1920, Lawrence County News
There were 1467 children between the ages of zero and 21 in Lawrenceville as of June, 1920.  Of these, there were 657 children under the age of six, for a grand total of the young people under the age of twenty-one of  2124.  The year before the total was 2143, a difference of 19 children.

There were 9551 persons in the county 21 years and under in 1919.  In 1920 there were 9718 showing an increase in 167. Enrollment in graded schools (city, rural and village) in 1919, was 4357 and in 1920, 4909, an increase of 552.  Enrollment in the four high schools in 1919, was 574 while in 1920 it was 630, an increase of 56 pupils.  The large increase in attendance and the increase in enrollment were due to three things:  Desire on the part of parents to keep their children in school every day possible to make up for the time lost in 1919 when the schools closed because of the Spanish influenza epidemic; good weather conditions and enforcement of truancy law.   The total expenditures (elementary, high school and non-high) was $244,798.98 in 1919 and $241,543.01 in 1920. 

General population in Lawrenceville 1920

Robert S. Jones was hired to take over the management of the Lawrenceville Chamber of Commerce. “Because Lawrenceville was the center of the oil industry of Illinois,” (according to the Lawrence County News) “the two refineries of the Indian Refining Company made for a steadily growing population.  From a village, the city had developed into a hustling little city of 6,000 and more workingmen were constantly needed to keep pace with its industrial growth. The housing problem was a serious one and the town planned to erect 250 houses.  No two houses would be the same, so that the appearance would not be that of a company town.”

This was the publicity that the Chamber of Commerce published. However, they should have probably  waited for the bulletin from the census department that said Lawrenceville had a population of 5,080, that was an increase of 57 percent over the census ten years previously.  All the neighboring cities showed a decrease of ten to twenty percent.  “There was not a vacant house in the city and even furnished rooms were at a premium.” The Chamber of Commerce was quoted as saying  “that with the proper housing facilities,  Lawrenceville would be a city of ten thousand by 1930.”   

 Ed Note:  A quick review of the 1920 newspaper classified ads showed several houses for sale:
Six room house with bath, Ninth street $2,200; Rooming house, 11 rooms, adjacent to refinery, $3500; four room house with bath, $1600; five room house on Lexington, $1800.