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Vienna was founded in 1818 when Johnson County needed a new county seat closer to the center of the county. Vienna has remained a county seat ever since.
The first post office opened in 1821, prior to the incorporation of the town.
One of the first things the court did once moving into its new courthouse was to start building roads. Vienna turned into a hub, an intersection of roads. Businesses started to grow and more people started to settle in and around Vienna. By February 27, 1837, Vienna was legally incorporated under the municipalities laws of Illinois.
By the 1850s, Vienna had the mills, schools, newspapers, general stores, churches, a tanyard, a hotel, and the first wool-carding machine in Southern Illinois.
Before the railroad, most families lived and worked for subsistence. The railroad offered a way to grow business which prompted Johnson County to sponsor the first railroad in 1872, the Cairo and Vincennes Railroad which ran through Vienna. Vienna grew more prosperous as people could travel in shorter periods of time and ship goods farther away. The railroad also provided job such as railroad workers, station agents, and businesses around the depots to serve passengers like hotels and restaurants.
With the decline of the railroad, Vienna could have become like so many ghost towns in Southern Illinois; however, with major roads US 24, IL 45, and IL 146 built in the mid 1900s, Vienna continued to prosper.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2), of which, 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2) of it is land and 0.44% is water. As of the census of 2020, the current population for the City of Vienna is 1,343.
Points of Interest
The City Park offers picnic & restroom facilities, volleyball nets and a playground for children. The Tunnel Hill Bike Trail, which is a tracks to trails project, runs through the City park. The City also has a community museum, Forman Depot, which features local art collections.
Another point of interest is the town square. In the center is the courthouse, surrounded by interesting monuments of history such as a Civil War Cannon.
Some other places to visit are the Paul Powell House, and the baseball park near the west side of town. Vienna is also close to many natural wonders including the Shawnee National Forrest, Ferne Clyffe State Park, and the Cache River Natural Area.
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