Plano, Illinois

Buildings in downtown Plano, Illinois.
Coat of arms
Official name: City of Plano
Name origin: From plano, Spanish for plain[1]
Motto: Birthplace of the Harvester, Home of the Reapers
Country United States
State Illinois
County Kendall
Township Little Rock
Elevation 662 ft (202 m)
Coordinates 41°39′47″N 88°32′10″W / 41.66306°N 88.53611°W / 41.66306; -88.53611Coordinates: 41°39′47″N 88°32′10″W / 41.66306°N 88.53611°W / 41.66306; -88.53611
Area 7.501 sq mi (19 km2)
 - land 7.458 sq mi (19 km2)
 - water 0.043 sq mi (0 km2)
Population 10,856 (2010)
Density 3,020/sq mi (1,166/km2)
Founded April 10, 1872
Mayor Bob Hausler
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 60545
Area code 630 and 331
Location of Plano within Illinois.
Wikimedia Commons: Plano, Illinois

Plano is a city in Kendall County, Illinois, United States near Aurora, with a population of 10,856 at the 2010 census, nearly doubling its size from 2000. The city was home to the Plano Harvester Company in the late nineteenth century, as well as the Plano Molding Company more recently. In 2011, downtown Plano was used as a set for Man of Steel.


The Plano Binder produced by the Plano Manufacturing Company

In the early 1860s, the Marsh brothers began producing their Marsh Harvester in Plano. From 1863 to the beginning of the twentieth century the Plano Manufacturing Company, as it became known, provided the foundation for Plano's development.[2][3] Because of this, Plano High School has adopted the reaper as its mascot.

Plano was the one-time headquarters for the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Joseph Smith III, son of slain LDS movement founder Joseph Smith, Jr., moved to Plano in 1866 and ran the church's printing operation from there.[4] As the schism with the Utah branch of the Latter Day Saints deepened, he moved with the church headquarters to Lamoni, Iowa in 1880 to be closer to what the Community of Christ believed to be the true church headquarters at Temple Lot in Missouri rather than in Utah.[5]

Community development has been centered around a strong agricultural setting, with the only inhabitants of the area before its incorporation being the owners of grist mills.[6] This development was supported by the city's location along US Route 34 and the Illinois Zephyr Amtrak passenger rail service.[7]

The Plano Molding Company, manufacturer of fishing tackle equipment as well as other plastic domestic containment units, has its headquarters in Plano.[8] Both of its original factories within Plano are still in operation, but the main bulk of production is now in nearby cities Sandwich and Mendota.

Plano and Sandwich have developed a sibling-like relationship. Both deeply agricultural cities are situated along a major trading route and rail artery. The two cities' high schools have developed a rivalry that has become known to the local press as the "War on 34",[9][10] due to their location along US Route 34.

In the early twenty-first century, multiple new housing developments were constructed in Plano. Due to the following economic downturn, however, many of the houses in both the new developments and older parts of town have experienced foreclosures. Nonetheless, Waubonsee Community College opened a satellite campus in Plano in late 2011.[11]

In the summer of 2011, the City of Plano was used for exterior filming for the upcoming Superman movie, Man of Steel.[12] Various farms around the city were also used with one being used for the Kent family farm, and the downtown area was remodeled and turned into a set for downtown Smallville.[13] Other areas used for filming were nearby, and part of IL 56, north of Sugar Grove was shut down for two days for filming despite being closed for "Road Repair". [14] Plano declared itself Smallville during the filming.[15] Signs have been erected at either end of town, as well as on the end of one building on Main Street,[16] proclaiming a similar declaration. Additionally, a "Smallville Superfest" was organized the following summer, and has since been held annually in August.[17]

The Farnsworth House

Main article: Farnsworth House

Master Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe had worked on a retreat for Dr. Edith Farnsworth, a doctor from Chicago, whose complicated relationship with the architect soured the project. Cost overruns as well as questions on the house's actual usefulness led to a lawsuit between the two parties, with van der Rohe winning the suit.[18] In later years, the County Board decided to buy some of Farnsworth's land in order to straighten Fox River Drive (Ben Street in Plano), which would need a new arch bridge as well. Farnsworth pleaded her case to the County Board, citing evidence that the Board would be doing construction on an old Indian Site, but to no avail. The road was straightened and the new arch bridge built; however, to this day, the old bridge piers are still visible.[19] Ironically, roughly around the same time, Silver Springs State Park and Wildlife Area was designated, down the road and across the river from Farnsworth's house, forever protecting the land from development.[20]


According to the 2010 census, Plano has a total area of 7.503 square miles (19.43 km2), of which 7.46 square miles (19.32 km2) (or 99.43%) is land and 0.043 square miles (0.11 km2) (or 0.57%) is water.[21]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201511,282[22]3.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[23]

As of the census[24] of 2010, there were 10,856 people, 3,549 households, and 2,656 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,020/sq mi (1,164/km2). There were 3,886 housing units at an average density of 1,079/sq mi (417/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 74.6% White, 7.3% African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 13.0% from other races, and 3.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 31.2% of the population.

There were 3,549 households, from which 45.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them; 56.6% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.2% were non-families; 19.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.06 and the average family size was 3.54.

In the city the population was spread out with 29.8% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 38.5% from 25 to 44, 17.7% from 45 to 64, and 6.3% age 65 years or older. The median age was 29.8 years. For every 100 females there were 98.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $58,132, and the median income for a family was $62,438. Males had a median income of $49,164 versus $37,933 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,336. About 4.9% of families and 6.94% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.0% of those under age 18 and 4.2% of those age 65 or over.


Main articles: WSPY-FM, WLPD-LP, WLPD-CD, and WSPY-AM

In 1974, Plano residents Larry and Pam Nelson founded Nelson Multimedia, Inc. Its first radio station was 107.1 WSPY-FM.[25] WSPY-FM broadcasts an adult contemporary format, while its sister station 1480 WSPY-AM[26] (which is licensed in nearby Geneva, but is broadcast out of Plano) broadcasts an adult standards format. WSPY-FM also covers local sports and news.

In addition to the AM and FM stations, Nelson Multimedia's Plano broadcast center also broadcasts a low-power television station, WSPY-TV on analog channel 30[27] and digital channel 35.[28] WSPY-TV currently broadcasts local events, such as sports, city council meetings, and musical events.

Plano news is covered by local newspapers, including:


Plano has been the home of at least two films, the most recent being the Superman film, "Man of Steel", where downtown Plano was a stand-in for Superman's hometown of Smallville, Kansas. The other film was "Witless Protection", a movie starring Jennie McCarthy and Larry the Cable Guy, which used the area around Plano as the site of Larry's character's hometown, and the Plano Train Station stood in for the Town Hall and Jail.


Plano is served by Plano C.U.S.D. 88. The district consists of two elementary schools, two middle schools, and Plano High School.[33] Yorkville Community Unit School District 115, which operates Yorkville High School, also serves some students from Plano.[34]

Notable people

See also


  1. "Plano's Rich History, City of Plano, Illinois". Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  2. Dickson, Elmer (17 June 1908). "Story of Harvester, Which Made Plano Famous". Kendall County News. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  3. Ardrey, Robert L. (1894). American Agricultural Implements: A Review of Invention and Development in the Agricultural Implement Industry of the United States. Chicago. pp. 196–199. ISBN 1-112-32700-2. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  4. "The Plano Stone Church". Plano's Rich History. City of Plano, Illinois. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  5. Turner, Charles Miller. "THE LAMONI YEARS: 1881–1906". JOSEPH SMITH III AND THE MORMONS OF UTAH. Welcome To Bible Verses. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  6. "Plano's Rich History; Main Page". Plano's Rich History. City of Plano, IL. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  7. "Plano, IL (PLO)". AMTRAK Stations list. Amtrak. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  8. "Plano Molding -- Contact Us". Plano Molding Official Website. Plano Molding. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  9. Lidinsky, Bill. "Sandwich Stands Tall in Rivalry Match Up". Northern Illinois Sports Beat. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  10. Armstrong, Rick. "Sandwich edges Plano in 'War on 34'". The Beacon-News. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  11. Vergara, Rowena. "WCC's Plano campus opens Nov. 1". The Beacon-News. The Chicago Sun-times. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  12. "Proclamation Smallville - 2011" (PDF). City of Plano Zoning. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  13. DeSaulnier, Jordan. "NEW 'MAN OF STEEL' SET PHOTOS: ACTION GALORE AND CLARK KENT IN PLAID". i am ROGUE. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  14. Sarkauskas, Susan (2011-07-27). "Superman movie to film in Sugar Grove". Daily Herald. Retrieved 2016-06-16.
  16. D200DX. "Welcome to Smallville (mural) (photo)". Panoramio. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
  18. Goldberger, Paul. "Farnsworth: The Lightness of Being". Preservation Magazine. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  19. "Biography of Dr. Edith Farnsworth" (PDF). Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  20. "Silver Springs History". IDNR. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  21. "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  22. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  23. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  24. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
  25. Anonymous. "WSPY-FM IL PLANO USA". FM Query Results. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  26. Anonymous. "WSPY IL GENEVA USA". AM Query Results. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  27. Anonymous. "WSPY-LP IL PLANO USA". TV Query Results. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  28. Anonymous. "WSPY-CD IL PLANO USA". TV Query Results. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  29. (the Plano Record is published by the same company as the Kendall County Record.)
  30. The Kendall County Record
  31. Valley Life
  32. The Beacon-News
  33. "Plano High School - School Profile".
  34. "About Our School District" (Archive). Yorkville Community Unit School District 115. Retrieved on June 9, 2015.
  35. "Arthur Edward Andersen". Fisher College of Business: The Accounting Hall of Fame. Ohio State University. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  36. Conant, Luther (Mar 3, 1913). The International Harvester Co. U.S. Department of Commerce and Labor: Bureau of Corporations. p. 47.
  37. Ian Robert Dowbiggin (9 January 2003). A Merciful End: The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America. Oxford University Press. pp. 23–. ISBN 978-0-19-515443-6. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  38. "About J Dennis Hastert". J. Dennis Hastert Center. Wheaton College. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  39. "The Starters Blog".
  40. "Lewis, Long Marshall". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  41. "Eduardo Lucero". Fashion Model Directory - Designers. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  42. "Steward, Marsh". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
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