Counties with the oldest homes in Illinois

Written by:
August 27, 2022
Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

Counties with the oldest homes in Illinois

There's an undeniable charm that comes with pre-World War II American architecture, characterized by high ceilings, crown molding, hardwood floors, and ornate details. In fact, 12.8% of all housing units in America were built in 1939 or before, showing the popularity of the preservation of these units. Owning a piece of history can sometimes come with a cost: Many old homes come with asbestos, lead piping, knob-and-tube wiring, and other outdated building styles that can rack up a hefty price tag to modernize. However, with more and more modernized pre-war homes on the market, generally located just outside bustling downtown metros, investing in property that has withstood the test of time is an attractive prospect.

Stacker compiled a list of the counties in Illinois with the oldest homes using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by median year the structure was built according to 2020 5-year estimates. Ties broken by the highest percentage of homes built before 1939.

The country's domestic architecture is perhaps best characterized by a rugged individualism as opposed to the hybridization of disparate architectural elements. As Maya Angelou once perceptively observed, "the ache for home lives in all of us," a phrase that has meant very different things to different people.

Modest or palatial, there is no shortage of noteworthy homes in the U.S. Log cabins constructed by industrious pioneers have dotted the landscape alongside traditional Native American dwellings ever since immigrant Swedes introduced them to the New World in 1638. The unprecedented personal fortunes amassed by the so-called "Robber Barons" at the close of the 19th century gave way to the construction of a staggering number of Gilded Age estates.

The ravages of time spared neither the sumptuous nor the humble. Stately mansions, often prohibitively costly to maintain in the modern era, were frequently neglected; simple structures were forgotten, discarded by their owners, and damaged by natural elements. However, the tireless efforts of architectural preservationists and local historical societies have saved many of these homes from demolition, leading to their inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places and thereby safeguarding them for future generations.

Keep reading to learn more about which counties in Illinois have the oldest homes.

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Alexander County

- Median year homes built: 1968
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 22.1% (878 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 5.5% (220 homes)
- Total homes built: 3,965
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Shelby County

- Median year homes built: 1968
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 25.8% (2,740 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 10.9% (1,160 homes)
- Total homes built: 10,628
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Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Tazewell County

- Median year homes built: 1967
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 16.2% (9,548 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 13.7% (8,049 homes)
- Total homes built: 58,941
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Daniel Schwen // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Hardin County

- Median year homes built: 1967
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 25.4% (597 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.6% (201 homes)
- Total homes built: 2,347
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#46. McDonough County

- Median year homes built: 1967
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 26.3% (3,785 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 10.6% (1,519 homes)
- Total homes built: 14,392

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Calhoun County

- Median year homes built: 1967
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 32.6% (943 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 13.6% (395 homes)
- Total homes built: 2,896
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#44. Edwards County

- Median year homes built: 1966
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 23.1% (741 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 12.2% (391 homes)
- Total homes built: 3,204
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Franklin County

- Median year homes built: 1966
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 23.5% (4,387 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 12.9% (2,403 homes)
- Total homes built: 18,643
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#42. Clark County

- Median year homes built: 1966
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 25.6% (2,001 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 14.9% (1,167 homes)
- Total homes built: 7,822
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Brown County

- Median year homes built: 1966
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.2% (741 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 13.2% (323 homes)
- Total homes built: 2,454

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#40. Wabash County

- Median year homes built: 1965
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 22.3% (1,239 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 7.4% (414 homes)
- Total homes built: 5,559
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#39. Adams County

- Median year homes built: 1965
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 24.7% (7,474 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 12.7% (3,836 homes)
- Total homes built: 30,226
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Morgan County

- Median year homes built: 1965
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 25.1% (3,885 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.6% (1,327 homes)
- Total homes built: 15,467
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Coalfather // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Macoupin County

- Median year homes built: 1965
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 28.8% (6,259 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 12.3% (2,668 homes)
- Total homes built: 21,769
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#36. Peoria County

- Median year homes built: 1964
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 23.0% (19,249 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 12.5% (10,431 homes)
- Total homes built: 83,680

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Cass County

- Median year homes built: 1964
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 26.1% (1,520 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 9.9% (576 homes)
- Total homes built: 5,816
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#34. Fayette County

- Median year homes built: 1964
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 27.0% (2,508 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 12.7% (1,181 homes)
- Total homes built: 9,306
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Archedamian // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Macon County

- Median year homes built: 1963
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 17.9% (9,007 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.5% (4,300 homes)
- Total homes built: 50,364
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#32. Crawford County

- Median year homes built: 1963
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 21.0% (1,820 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 11.6% (1,009 homes)
- Total homes built: 8,680
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#31. DeWitt county

- Median year homes built: 1963
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 26.0% (1,971 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 9.6% (725 homes)
- Total homes built: 7,578

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ProfDEH // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Marshall County

- Median year homes built: 1963
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 27.7% (1,637 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.1% (477 homes)
- Total homes built: 5,919
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#29. Montgomery County

- Median year homes built: 1963
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 29.3% (3,847 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 10.4% (1,359 homes)
- Total homes built: 13,122
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#28. Christian County

- Median year homes built: 1962
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.4% (4,739 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 9.2% (1,427 homes)
- Total homes built: 15,592
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#27. Hancock County

- Median year homes built: 1962
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 35.0% (3,238 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 10.1% (932 homes)
- Total homes built: 9,248
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IvoShandor // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Whiteside County

- Median year homes built: 1961
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 24.8% (6,412 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.6% (2,230 homes)
- Total homes built: 25,831

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#25. Mason County

- Median year homes built: 1961
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 26.9% (1,889 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 7.6% (537 homes)
- Total homes built: 7,026
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Teemu08 // Wikimedia Commons

#24. LaSalle County

- Median year homes built: 1961
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 27.2% (13,622 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 11.1% (5,544 homes)
- Total homes built: 50,120
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Mingusboodle // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Pike County

- Median year homes built: 1961
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 32.8% (2,621 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 9.2% (734 homes)
- Total homes built: 7,999
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#22. White County

- Median year homes built: 1960
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 18.6% (1,336 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 7.4% (532 homes)
- Total homes built: 7,164
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Farragutful // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Rock Island County

- Median year homes built: 1960
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 26.0% (17,191 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 7.9% (5,257 homes)
- Total homes built: 66,183

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Katherine Johnson from Springfield, IL // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Logan County

- Median year homes built: 1960
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 29.0% (3,493 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 7.1% (853 homes)
- Total homes built: 12,040
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#19. Lawrence County

- Median year homes built: 1960
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 29.2% (2,094 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 6.8% (487 homes)
- Total homes built: 7,175
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Calvin Beale // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Iroquois County

- Median year homes built: 1960
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.5% (4,128 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.3% (1,117 homes)
- Total homes built: 13,514
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#17. Henry County

- Median year homes built: 1960
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.8% (6,821 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 6.9% (1,539 homes)
- Total homes built: 22,168
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#16. Cook County

- Median year homes built: 1959
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 28.3% (621,478 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 10.0% (220,573 homes)
- Total homes built: 2,198,489

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#15. Edgar County

- Median year homes built: 1959
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.2% (2,667 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 9.9% (878 homes)
- Total homes built: 8,827
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#14. Fulton County

- Median year homes built: 1959
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 31.6% (5,163 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.5% (1,392 homes)
- Total homes built: 16,340
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IvoShandor // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Lee County

- Median year homes built: 1959
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 34.5% (5,205 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.4% (1,263 homes)
- Total homes built: 15,086
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IvoShandor // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Livingston County

- Median year homes built: 1958
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 34.3% (5,454 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.0% (1,266 homes)
- Total homes built: 15,884
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#11. Stephenson County

- Median year homes built: 1958
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 35.4% (7,758 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 6.1% (1,343 homes)
- Total homes built: 21,895

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Boscophotos // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Mercer County

- Median year homes built: 1957
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 35.7% (2,654 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 6.7% (501 homes)
- Total homes built: 7,431
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Visviva // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Carroll County

- Median year homes built: 1957
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 36.3% (3,066 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 11.9% (1,010 homes)
- Total homes built: 8,453
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Kepper66 // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Bureau County

- Median year homes built: 1956
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 34.9% (5,470 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 8.4% (1,324 homes)
- Total homes built: 15,679
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#7. Knox County

- Median year homes built: 1956
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 35.3% (8,434 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 5.2% (1,231 homes)
- Total homes built: 23,890
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Scott County

- Median year homes built: 1956
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 38.5% (945 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 11.0% (270 homes)
- Total homes built: 2,452

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#5. Stark County

- Median year homes built: 1955
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 35.1% (931 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 2.6% (70 homes)
- Total homes built: 2,651
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#4. Ford County

- Median year homes built: 1955
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 35.2% (2,231 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 7.3% (464 homes)
- Total homes built: 6,335
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Vermilion County

- Median year homes built: 1955
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 37.2% (13,404 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 6.6% (2,395 homes)
- Total homes built: 36,035
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Warren County

- Median year homes built: 1954
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 36.6% (2,813 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 7.2% (554 homes)
- Total homes built: 7,683
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Boscophotos // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Greene County

- Median year homes built: 1953
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 40.8% (2,620 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 6.4% (409 homes)
- Total homes built: 6,425

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