Located in the heart of central Illinois on the banks of the Vermillion River, Pontiac serves as the county seat for Livingston County, an area comprised of over 35 farming communities and townships with a population of over 35,000 residents. Pontiac was originally established in 1837 and received its official name, in honor of the Native American leader, by one of the town's founding residents, Jesse W. Fell.
In 1892, the Illinois State Reformatory was officially opened and remains in operation as one of Illinois' oldest prisons: the Pontiac Correctional Center. Both the Pontiac Correctional Center and the Dwight Correctional Center remain two of the largest employers in the area.
Pontiac is conveniently located within two hours of Chicago to the north and thirty minutes from Bloomington-Normal to the south. Residents of Livingston County, the majority of them farmers, enjoy a slower pace of life, but enjoy having access to big city amenities within a short drive. The area itself is steeped in a rich cultural environment including a variety of museums, local parks, and of course, the Vermillion River, which lends itself to fishing, swimming, and boating.
Pontiac, Illinois provides a number of public and private education opportunities for students of all ages. For children in elementary school, Pontiac Consolidated School District 429 has a number of facilities in the area and currently serves close to 900 students a year. For secondary education needs, Pontiac Township High School District 90 supports Pontiac Junior High and Pontiac High School with a combined student body of over 1,200 students a year.
Also providing education to the Livingston County area is Flanagan-Cornell School District 74. This school district currently supports over 300 students through three facilities: Flanagan Elementary, Flanagan Junior High, and Flanagan High School. For students who may have special needs including emotional and behavior problems, the Livingston County Special Services Unit provides educational facilities through Livingston County Academy and Livingston County Crossroads.
For anyone looking for some entertainment or retail therapy, Pontiac provides the best of both. The city is home to a wide range of small hometown shops and both regional and national retail stores as well. The historic downtown shopping district is a must-visit for any resident or visitor.
The city is home to a number of restaurants with options ranging from Italian and Mexican cuisines to home-style cooking and fine dining. For those who love the outdoors, Pontiac boasts some of the most beautiful parks in the state. Chautauqua Park, located on the banks of the Vermillion River, offers 26.5 acres of park land and a variety of recreational opportunities. Just down the road, Humiston Woods also provides over 300 acres of hardwood forest and restored prairie land.
The Livingston County area is also home to a number of annual events and activities. Located in nearby Thresherman's Park, the annual Thresherman's Reunion is the largest collection of antique tractors in Illinois. Other area events include a bluegrass festival, horse shows, the Illinois Valley Blacksmith Show, and the Livingston County Fair.
With its roots stretching back to the early 1800's, Pontiac has been a center for historical and cultural opportunities for decades. Located on the infamous Route 66, the city is home to the Route 66 Hall of Fame & Museum, the Livingston County War Museum, and the Yost House Museum & Art Center. The latest addition to the list of museums, the Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum & Resource Center, has been open since July 2011.
For the art lovers in the community, Pontiac boasts one of the largest collection of murals in Illinois. More than 20 different murals depicting events, people and places from the town's history are scattered throughout the area. The city is also proud to contain the International Walldog Mural & Sign Art Museum as well. If you're in the mood for theatre, Pontiac is also home to the Vermillion Players, a local theatre group that has been providing quality entertainment for over 40 years.
Not sure where to start? The Pontiac Jolly Trolley provides local tours for up to thirty people. Tours cover historic sites, local parks, the downtown area, and much more.
Whether you are Presbyterian, Methodist, Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, or any other faiths, Pontiac and the surrounding communities offer a wide range of churches and houses of worship.
Livingston County contains a variety of real estate opportunities. For those who love the small town, country lifestyle to those who are looking for something in town, Pontiac and the surrounding communities have it all.
Pontiac Daily Leader (Newspaper)