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Effingham, Illinois, the "Crossroads of Opportunity" traces its roots back to 1814 when the first pioneers settled along the Little Wabash River. In the early 1850's, the railroads arrived and the area's first economic expansion occurred. With the advent of the interstates approximately 100 years later, I57 and I-70 brought Effingham its second economic transformation. Nowadays, around 30,000 vehicles pass through this community of 12,000 on a daily basis.

One of Effingham's greatest business location advantages is its strategic position for serving some of the nation's largest markets. The entire Midwest lies within 500 miles, or two days normal trucking time, of the Effingham area. Within this 500 mile radius are approximately thirty percent of the nation's population and thirty-five percent of total retail sales. In terms of industrial markets, nearly one-third of all industrial shipments originate within 500 miles of the Effingham area. Over 200,000 people live in Effingham's immediate trade area which encompasses a thirty mile radius.

The Effingham area is strategically located and has excellent connections to the major metropolitan areas of the Midwest and the nation. The city is served by two Interstate Highways (I-57 and I-70) which intersect and form a beltline around the community. Interstate 57 provides a direct link to Chicago on the north and Memphis and New Orleans on the south, and Interstate 70 provides direct access to St. Louis, Kansas City and the West Coast as well as east to Indianapolis, Columbus, and the Eastern Seaboard. Two U.S. Highways (U.S. 40 and 45), as well as a number of Illinois State Highways, also provide access to the Effingham area.

The community is also served by two trunk line railroads. The Illinois Central main line between Chicago and New Orleans provides daily freight service on a north-south line and the major east-west line of Conrail passes through Effingham. In addition, Amtrak service is available on the Illinois Central line.

The Effingham airport has charter flights and can accommodate most business jets. Commercial airline service is provided by sixteen major airlines that serve Lambert St. Louis International Airport 90 minutes west on I-70. Commercial service is also available at Mattoon, Illinois, which is located 30 miles north on I-57.

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The City of Effingham is served by Community Unit #40 with an enrollment close to 3,100. Two parochial school systems are also located within the city. Sacred Heart has grades up to high school while St. Anthony offers grades through high school. In addition, the Kluthe Center, an extension of Lake Land Community College, offers numerous courses and has a student population approximately 1,100.

The community is served by St. Anthony's Memorial Hospital. St. Anthony's is a full service hospital which also contains an outpatient center, a cancer care unit, and a 24-hour emergency care and trauma center. The Effingham Medical Center, the Effingham Magnetic Imaging Center, and the Effingham Ambulatory Surgery Center, along with the numerous other clinics and specialty offices, help to make Effingham a regional medical center.

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The Effingham Park District, comprised of three separate parks and building facilities, offers a comprehensive sports program. In addition, the city of Effingham has one park under its jurisdiction separate from the Park District. The three District parks contain numerous lighted baseball diamonds, tennis courts, and a new swimming pool complex. Also available are several recreation centers including the Effingham YMCA.

Three golf courses are available. The Effingham Country Club has an eighteen hole course, a public course is located at Lake Sara which is just two miles from Effingham city limits, and a par three course is also available. Lake Sara is a beautiful northern lake with 27 miles of wooded shoreline containing residential lots. Waterskiing, fishing, swimming, and motor boating are all available at the Lake.

Effingham has fifteen motels containing close to 1,100 rooms. The city also boasts 60 restaurants, an indoor mall, a factory outlet mall, a newly revitalized central business district, three movie theatres, a convention center which can seat 1,000 people and numerous other retail and service establishments.

On the public side, two manned fire stations, a police station, the state police district headquarters, a public library, and regional post office help round off the service sector. In addition, twenty-two churches are also located throughout the community providing for twelve different denominations.

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