Centralia, Illinois was founded in 1853 at the junction of two main lines of the Illinois Central Railroad. Though it is no longer solely a railroad community, Centralia still has strong cultural ties to the railroad as it played a major role in the city’s development. The city also holds a critical position in the state of Illinois because it sits on the Third Principal Meridian, a designated point of reference for land surveys throughout large areas of the state. Over the years, this town of 14,000 has grown into a fun city with great food, people, and festivities.
Centralia is home to the sixth largest bell tower in the world, the Centralia Carillon, which stands over 150 feet high. Every day, the bells of the Carillon chime a new tune for all to hear. Visitors to this unique attraction can tour the Carillon museum at the bottom of the tower or enjoy the bell chimes along a sitting wall that runs nearby.
In August, city hosts the annual Centralia Balloon Fest and the highly anticipated balloon races. Centralia also hosts the Outboard Powerboat Races presented by the National Boat Racing Association and the Outboard Drivers Association. Each year in July, thousands of people come from all over Illinois to see the boats speed across the waters of Centralia’s Lake Raccoon.