If you read the title of this article I bet you did a double take? Am I right? I would be willing to take a bet right now that Justin Bieber has never been to La Prairie Illinois and I would also take a bet that he never will!
Just look at a map, better yet a satellite map view of La Prairie and you will see a very small village. The last Census count in 2016 shows a population of 46 residents. That is a family not a village. LOL! The recorded population in 1880 was 233 residents. The population has declined every year since then to today’s numbers.
La Prairie does have a Post Office at 101 E Main St, La Prairie, IL 62346.
La Prairie is located some 30 miles from Quincy Illinois. The nearest other village of any size if Camp Point.
The history of La Prairie is difficult to find. In a history book about Adams County it was mentioned that in 1878 La Prairie had one wagon shop, one shoe shop, two harness shops, two churches, two general stores, one drug store and a school. That was in 1878. Today in 2017 there are about 34 homes left in the village.
It is believed that La Prairie was founded as a railroad stop. The history book about Adams County lists the names of H. Dills, A.C. Marsh, O.L. Skinner, H.T.J. Ricker, Hiram Rogers, Benjamin Bacon and Obedia Gibbs as the men that laid out the village and had it platted. This history book mentions the names of many people that called La Prairie home, but little else about the village itself.
Like many small villages in those days, the residents in the area subsided on agriculture. Around 1860 the percentage of the general population that was involved in agricultural was 53%. 4.7% of the population was involved in construction, 14% in manufacturing, 8% in trade, 6.4% in transportation, 6.4% in service industries and 1.6% of the population was engaged in mining.
So pretty much the entire working population of La Prairie was engaged in farming of some kind and the remaining working population was engaged in occupations supporting farming. We know the rest of the story. Technology and the advancement of mechanization radically changed the agricultural industry such that it took fewer and fewer farmers to produce agricultural products. As of 2008 less than 2% of the U.S. population works in an agricultural occupation.
If you drive through the area around La Prairie you will find what you see in most parts of rural Illinois. Miles and miles of corn and soybean fields. Time and technology has radically changed the economy and lively hood of La Prairies remaining population.
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Learn more about the village of Lima here.