The New International Encyclopædia/Kankakee (city)

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KANKAKEE. A city and the county-seat of Kankakee County, Ill., 50 miles south of Chicago; on the Kankakee River, and on the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, and Saint Louis, the Illinois Central, the Indiana, Illinois and Iowa, and other railroads (Map: Illinois, E 2). The river, broad and deep at this point, furnishes excellent water-power, which is used for manufacturing purposes, as well as for generating electricity for city lighting and the operation of street railways. The most important manufactures are plows, buggies, starch, and iron beds. There are also carriage and wagon factories, grain-elevators, stone-quarries, household furnishings, and ornament works, brick and tile works, and establishments producing nails, foundry and machine-shop products, wire, flour, mattresses, cigars, etc. Kankakee has also considerable commercial importance as a distributing centre. The Eastern Illinois Hospital for the Insane, accommodating 2300 patients, is situated here. Other fine structures are the arcade and opera-house, public library, high school, county jail, Conservatory of Music, and Y. M. C. A. building. Electric and Athletic parks are the two principal pleasure-grounds. At Bourbonnais Grove, a suburb three miles distant, is Saint Viateur's College, with about 300 students, one of the most prominent Roman Catholic divinity schools in the West. Settled in 1853, Kankakee was incorporated in the following year. The government, as provided by the charter of 1892, revised in 1895, is vested in a mayor, chosen every two years; a unicameral council, which elects boards of health and of local improvements and the customary administrative officials. Population, in 1890, 9025; in 1900, 13,595.