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James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

We mourn the loss of our friend and colleague and remain committed to the work he began.

Wood River

Illinois

Basic Information

Type of Place
Suburb
Metro Area
St. Louis
Politics c. 1860?
Unions, Organized Labor?

Sundown Town Status

Confirmed Sundown Town?
Possible
Was there an ordinance?
Yes, Strong Oral Tradition
Sign?
Yes, Strong Oral Tradition
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?
Surely Not

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
1860
1870
1880
1890
1900
1910
1920
1930
1940
1950
1960
1970
1980
1990 11,490
2000 11,296 11,021
2010 10657 155 67
2020

Method of Exclusion

Main Ethnic Group(s)

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black

Comments

According to former residents and a town sociologist, Wood River was sundown and overwhelmingly white.
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A long time resident of East Alton, which shares a high school with Wood River, wrote “Until the mid 90s, there were at least two signs (on wood river avenue)that cited a city ordinance prohibiting blacks from being in town after sundown.
As far as I know, that ordinance hadn’t been enforced since the 70s but the signs were still up until at least 1995.
The high school’s” email; March 2011