Washington is a small community of 16,851 but has seen an increase in the population of almost 40% since the year 2000. Located just 10 miles away from Peoria, Washington offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of big city life, while still providing a short commute to plenty of entertainment, shopping, and cultural activities. This community offers the best of both worlds regarding access to amenities and quiet neighborhoods where outdoor activities abound.
Washington is a mixed blue-collar, white-collar community, with most residents working in industries like manufacturing, healthcare, and retail. Caucasians make up approximately 93 percent of the population.
The median household income for households in Washington is $71,702, which is higher than the national average of $55,322. Only 4.5 percent of the residents in Washington, Illinois, fall below the poverty level.
The educational level is higher here than average. 95.8 percent of residents are high school graduates, and 36.7 percent are college graduates, with another 4.4 percent currently attending college.
Washington Real Estate
Nearly half (47.2 percent) of all home in Washington are worth between $100,115 and $199, 639 and 27.1 percent are valued between $199,640 and $299,638. Home values have appreciated 35.88 percent since 2000, an average of 1.69 percent every year. More than 2/3 of the residents in Washington (80.9 percent) own their home. Homes built between 1940 and 1969 make up 39.8 percent of the housing market and homes built after 2000 make up 26.8 percent.
Current Real Estate Market for Washington
As of 06/01/2020, there are currently 93 homes on the market in Washington. The average asking price is $214,820 and the median asking price is $164,900. The average days on the market for active listings is 85 days and the median is 68 days. Over the past six months, 173 homes have sold with the average sold price of $176,258 and a median sale price of $150,500. The average days on the market for these sold homes was 75 days and the median days on the market was 48 days.
Average Asking Price$214,820
Median Asking Price$164,900
Average Sold Price$176,258
Median Sold Price$150,500
History of Washington
Washington was founded in 1825 by a man named William Holland, Sr. Holland left Peoria to build a home in what is now Washington. He initially came to the area from North Carolina on request of the United States government, who hired him to use his blacksmithing skills to assist the Native Americans. The community was named Holland’s Grove but was renamed in 1837 in honor of George Washington.
Washington’s biggest claim to fame may be Heyl Pony Farm, run operated by George Heyl. Buyers from all over the world came to the farm to purchase Shetland ponies. George also bred and sold poultry. Most of the farm is gone, but there are still remnants of the original barns left over on Main Street.
Some notable people that hail from Washington include Mark Dennis (offensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals, and Carolina Panthers), Doug Lee (guard for the Houston Rockets, New Jersey Nets, and Sacramento Kings), Alec Peters (Basketball player - 2nd round selection in the 2017 NBA Draft) and Colton Underwood (ex-NFL football player and recently on ABC’s “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor In Paradise”).
Washington Attractions and Traditions
Historical homes: There are a few historical homes and buildings in Washington, Illinois that residents may enjoy checking out. The Dr. Harley Zinser Home, located at 105 Zinser, was built in 1858. The single-family home was built to include an office. The house is now used as the headquarters for the Washington Historical Society. The Hiram Price Home, built in 1867, stands as a single family residence on 109 Burton. The home belonged to former mayor Hiram Price. The Holland Home, at 312 Market Street, is estimated to have been built sometime in the mid-1800s. The house may have belonged to Matthew Holland (son of the city’s founder William Holland).
Cornerstone Inn: This historic hotel offers more than just a bed. The brick and stone building opened in 1874 as dry goods store. It was later converted to a bank. After the bank closed, the building remained vacant for more than a decade. Various businesses (including some bars, a German restaurant, and a barbershop) occupied the space at one time. The building was restored and turned into an Inn in 2004.
Good Neighbor Days (Cherry Festival): Every year the community gets together to celebrate the city at a large festival that spans several days. The event includes a carnival, baby photo contest, pancake breakfast, good neighbor awards, a 5k run, concerts and service projects.
Take Pride in Washington Day: Every year the community holds a clean-up day where residents get together to help clean up local parks and facilities. The activity helps keep community facilities ready to use year-round.
Washington Parks and Activities
Looking for something fun to do? Check out these favorite parks and activities.
Washington Park: This park is 55 acres. The land used to be part of the Heyl Pony Farm. The park consists of baseball diamonds, a concession stand, disc golf course, a covered picnic shelter (with grills, electric hookups, and a fireplace), three tennis courts, a volleyball court, shuffleboard courts, two playgrounds, and the Washington Veteran’s Memorial.
Bowen Lake Park: This park is 13.8 acres and includes a 6-acre lake with a boat ramp and a fishing pier. Guests can fish and boat on the lake, but fisherman must have a license and abide by fishing restrictions.
Washington Recreation Trail: Hikers will enjoy getting into nature at one of three trailheads located throughout the city. The trail system includes 11 miles of walking, running, skating and cycling trails. The trail ways connect to several significant points in the community including schools and parks.
Washington Dining Shopping and Entertainment
Washington may be smaller than its neighbor Peoria, but the city has plenty to see and do regarding shopping, entertainment, and dining. Here are just a few things to check out.
Plaza Lanes Family Entertainment Center: This family-friendly center includes 20 bowling lanes, an arcade, and a full bar. Avid bowlers can join a league, and the business even offers youth leagues.
Five Points Recreation Center: This facility includes an indoor aquatic center (featuring a wet play area for little ones), a fitness center, and a stage for performing arts. They showcase different events including orchestra performances and stage plays. The Washington District Library is also connected to Five Points.
Looking for some fun places to shop? Check out these hot spots.
You can take in some town history and enjoy a unique shopping experience at this shopping center located in the downtown square of Washington, Illinois.
Here, you’ll find stores like:
Holland’s Mercantile. Located at 117 Washington Square, this old-time store offers sweets and treats like popcorn, ice cream, and cotton candy. Their Carmel corn is very popular, and you can even order it online.
Step Back in Time. This store sells antiques, collectibles, furniture and home decorations. The store is home to 40 vendors who sell their goods (including refurbished historical pieces). The shop is three stories, so there is plenty to explore!
Blue Boutique: Offers a variety of jeans, dresses, shoes, and jackets. You’ll also find jewelry and handbags here. If you love the BOHO trend, you’ll enjoy the goods here.
Sentimental Journey. If you’re looking for collectibles for a special occasion, Sentimental Journeys has a stock of items that may work. In addition to home décor, they offer personalized gift items (like decorative signs).
If you’re after a good meal, check out these popular dining options:
Bernardi’s Restaurant: Bernardi’s is a family owned restaurant with five locations. They have authentic Italian dishes such as tortellini and spaghetti and are also known for their delicious fried chicken. They also have other American favorites such as pizza, ribs, steak and seafood.
Blacksmith’s Steakhouse: Located in the Cornerstone Inn, you can choose from a variety of steakhouse favorites including beef tips, filet mignon, and flat iron whiskey steak, or opt for something a little less traditional like Grouper or Salmon.
Kep’s Sports Bar: Kep’s has been a popular hangouts in Washington over the years. It’s a sports-centric fixture with classic pub grub, plus live music, a pool table & video gaming. The owners of Kep’s also own Blacksmith’s Steakhouse.
McMahon’s Pints and Plates: Head to this restaurant when you’re looking for a place you can enjoy a drink with your meal. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and offer a wide range of options from salads to pizza, burgers, and fried pickles.
There are two school districts and five schools that service Washington. The two districts are Central SD 51 and Washington SD 52 School District.
Lincoln Grade School: Located at 303 Jackson Street, Lincoln Grade School has 494 students with 30 classroom teachers. Grades included at this school are kindergarten through fourth. Make sure to check out the Illinois report card for Lincoln Grade School.
J. L. Hensey Elementary School: Located at 304 East Almond Drive, the school has 359 students and 26 classroom teachers covering grades pre-k through third. Don’t forget to check out the Illinois report card for J. L. Hensey Elementary School.
Washington Job Market
Washington is a mix of blue-collar and white-collar workers. Companies like Illinois Valley Plastics, BTD Manufacturing, American Allied Railway Equipment, Lindy’s Grocery Store and Global Fire Equipment call Washington home. Proximity to Peoria also provides access to a myriad of other work and business opportunities.