Carterville is a charming, small town in the heart of Southern Illinois, an area many refer to as the “heartland.” Within 1.5 to 4 hours from favorite American cities of St. Louis, Nashville, Louisville, Lexington, and Memphis, Carterville is nestled as a gateway to fast-growing Southern Illinois Wine Country. In fact, this town is within an hour to 29 wineries you can enjoy in this region.
Just seven miles from Interstate 57, off of Illinois Route 13, Carterville is positioned between towns of Marion and Carbondale on this popular corridor. Carterville is known for its excellence in education and it has made it a favorite bedroom community for families in the region. Carterville Unit #5 School District has been fortunate to have new, state-of-the-art facilities and provides the highest-quality of education for students of what is known as the Tri-C Community – Carterville, Cambria, & Crainville. Our education is at a level of being one of the finest in the state. Also located in Carterville is John A. Logan Community College, one of the country’s top junior colleges. Southern Illinois University is just ten minutes away in Carbondale as well. Fortunately, you’ll find that part of our education offerings continues to emphasize the arts. Our new high school includes a 750-seat theatre, one of the finest in the region, in addition to an incredible band, music and theatre classes. You’ll find two dance studios in our downtown, as well as S.I.U.’s outreach program – the “Carterville Fine Arts Academy” which offers classes in music, art, and drama. You’ll also be able to enjoy theatre productions, and classes if you wish, at John A. Logan Community College and S.I.U.
Our town, that is just over the edge of 5,000 people, was founded in 1871. Like many towns of Illinois, Carterville was known for its coal-mining industry and at one point, it produced more coal than any other town in Illinois. Today, while some residents still work in area coal mines, residents are primarily employed in the retail trade, education, manufacturing, health care, and hospitality industries.
Carterville is also an area known for its hunting and fishing, and other outdoor activities. With various hunt clubs – both private and public – as well as Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge, hunters come to Cartervillle from all over the country for recreation opportunities including waterfowl, goose, deer, and other hunting. The 43,890 acres of Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge includes three man-made lakes – Crab Orchard, Little Grassy, and Devil’s Kitchen, all of which offer quality fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities. In fact, the refuge has 1.2 million visitors a year and Carterville is the location for beautiful Blue Heron Marina & Campground. You can also enjoy a day of hiking at places nearby including Giant City State Park or Garden of the Gods.
But beyond all of these wonderful assets that Carterville has to offer, if you stay any time at all in this small town, you’ll know that its charm is its people. Take a stroll in its historic downtown, sit a spell at Rich’s Barber Shop or enjoy a cup of coffee at the Country Cupboard. You’ll note some friendly smiles and certainly some characters that make this town pretty special. You’ll come across people that routinely give back to their community – some in small ways through ongoing project efforts in our town. Others, through establishing charities such as Gum Drops, a non-profit organization that provides a backpack of food to at-risk children in more than 35 Southern Illinois schools or The Poshard Foundation For Abused Children, an organization that provides assistance to abused and neglected children.
Whether it is the spirit in the air at a fall’s night football game or a summer’s day parade, you’ll note that you have crossed paths with a unique, wonderful community. And whether you call it home or you are just passing through, you’ll enjoy your time in Carterville and we are certainly glad that you came.