Counties with the oldest homes in Illinois

Written by:
September 12, 2021
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history can sometimes come with a cost: Many old homes come with asbestos, lead piping, knob-and-tube wiring, and other outdated building styles that can rack up a hefty price tag to modernize.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, with ties broken by the most homes 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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ProfDEH // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Marshall County

- Median year homes built: 1963
--- #468 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 28.0%
--- #487 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 5,919
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Archedamian // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Macon County

- Median year homes built: 1962
--- #449 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 19.0%
--- #994 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 50,392
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IvoShandor // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Whiteside County

- Median year homes built: 1962
--- #442 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 23.9%
--- #701 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 25,823
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Cass County

- Median year homes built: 1962
--- #430 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 28.4%
--- #463 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 5,822
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#26. White County

- Median year homes built: 1961
--- #398 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 19.0%
--- #993 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 7,164
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Mingusboodle // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Pike County

- Median year homes built: 1961
--- #368 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 31.1%
--- #350 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 7,985
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Farragutful // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Rock Island County

- Median year homes built: 1960
--- #342 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 26.1%
--- #577 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 66,160
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Katherine Johnson from Springfield, IL // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Logan County

- Median year homes built: 1960
--- #335 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 28.3%
--- #471 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 12,050
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Teemu08 // Wikimedia Commons

#22. LaSalle County

- Median year homes built: 1960
--- #334 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 28.9%
--- #444 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 50,151
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#21. Christian County

- Median year homes built: 1960
--- #331 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 29.7%
--- #407 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 15,614
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#20. Hancock County

- Median year homes built: 1960
--- #315 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 37.4%
--- #147 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 9,255
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#19. Cook County

- Median year homes built: 1959
--- #298 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 29.1%
--- #434 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 2.2 million
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#18. Henry County

- Median year homes built: 1959
--- #291 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.4%
--- #379 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 22,165
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Calvin Beale // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Iroquois County

- Median year homes built: 1959
--- #288 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 31.6%
--- #332 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 13,493
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#16. Stephenson County

- Median year homes built: 1959
--- #281 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 34.2%
--- #232 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 21,965
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#15. Lawrence County

- Median year homes built: 1958
--- #266 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.0%
--- #395 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 7,129
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#14. Fulton County

- Median year homes built: 1958
--- #258 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 32.0%
--- #314 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 16,328
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#13. Edgar County

- Median year homes built: 1958
--- #256 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 32.4%
--- #292 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 8,839
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IvoShandor // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Livingston County

- Median year homes built: 1958
--- #253 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 33.9%
--- #238 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 15,919
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IvoShandor // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Lee County

- Median year homes built: 1957
--- #213 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 35.6%
--- #195 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 15,083
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Visviva // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Carroll County

- Median year homes built: 1957
--- #211 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 37.1%
--- #151 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 8,475
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Boscophotos // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Mercer County

- Median year homes built: 1957
--- #208 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 39.3%
--- #104 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 7,420
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#8. Knox County

- Median year homes built: 1956
--- #183 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 35.7%
--- #194 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 23,917
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#7. Ford County

- Median year homes built: 1955
--- #157 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 33.9%
--- #243 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 6,360
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Kepper66 // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Bureau County

- Median year homes built: 1955
--- #150 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 36.1%
--- #179 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 15,682
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Vermilion County

- Median year homes built: 1954
--- #129 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 37.1%
--- #155 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 36,109
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Warren County

- Median year homes built: 1953
--- #106 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 37.1%
--- #154 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 7,687
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#3. Stark County

- Median year homes built: 1953
--- #102 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 38.4%
--- #125 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 2,653
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Scott County

- Median year homes built: 1952
--- #80 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 40.4%
--- #81 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 2,450
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Boscophotos // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Greene County

- Median year homes built: 1951
--- #56 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 42.8%
--- #44 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 6,438

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