Tolono is a village in Tolono Township, Champaign County, Illinois, United States. The population was 3,447 at the 2010 census. Its name was fabricated by J.B. Calhoun, land commission of the Illinois Central Railroad, who wrote about it simply: “[I] placed the vowel o three times, thus o-o-o, and filling in with the consonants t-l-n.”Tolono is located at 39°59′10″N 88°15′35″W (39.986046, -88.259727). According to the history of Champaign County: A surveyor for the Illinois Central who was looking for a division headquarters, surveyed the Tolono area and wrote on a map ‘too low, No.’ and that became the name of the town established there.
Tolono at one time had two or three companies making tile used to drain the land around the town, resulting in swamps on the east side of the town both on the north and south side of the Wabash Railroad. Founded in the early 19th century as a result of the land-grant Illinois Central Railroad‘s expansion southward, Tolono was initially home to many railroad employees. Many streets bear the names of the IC’s administrative staff. The original homes in the community were small and narrow filling half lots adjacent to the railroad tracks. With the intersection of an east-west railway, Tolono became a featured stop for early rail passengers.
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