History of Matteson
The area encompassed by modern Matteson was settled in the mid 1800s, primarily by people of German descent. Platted in 1855, Matteson had nearly 500 residents when it incorporated as a village in 1889. The village’s namesake is Joel Aldrich Matteson, who served as Illinois’ tenth governor from 1853 to 1857. The 20th century saw improvements in plumbing, the electrification of the Illinois Central Railroad, and the construction of today’s school district, resulting in significant population growth to more than 3,000 residents by the end of the 1960s. By 2000, Matteson was home to Lincoln Mall (opened 1973) and annexed 195 acres of land for the village.
For most of its history, Matteson’s population was majority white. However, by the 2010s, the village became majority African-American. The director of Chicago Metropolis 2020, Carol Sonnenschein, stated that the desire for higher quality neighborhoods and public schools drove the black influx into Matteson. In 1980, 8,288 residents were white, comprising 84% of the village’s population, while 12% of village residents were black. By 1990, Matteson, with a total of 11,400 residents, had 5,687 white residents, making up 53% of the village, a percentage decline of 31% in a ten-year span; 44% of the total number of residents in Matteson were black. By 1995 48% of the residents were black and 45% were white. In 2010, 78.72% of the residents were black and 16.3% of the residents were white.
In 1995 Matteson officials started a campaign encouraging white homeowners to buy houses in the village. Some Matteson residents, white and black, did not want their communities to become overwhelmingly black and lose racial diversity. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matteson,_Illinois)
Demographics of Matteson
As of the census of 2000, there were 12,928 people, 4,561 households, and 3,553 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,811.2 people per square mile (699.1/km²). There were 4,712 housing units at an average density of 660.2 per square mile (254.8/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 65.99% African American, 28.68% White, 0.17% Native American, 1.41% Asian, 3.06% from other races, and 1.85% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.75% of the population. A Dateline NBC episode in 1997 focused on Matteson and the issue of racial balance.
There were 4,561 households out of which 37.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.3% were married couples living together, 18.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.1% were non-families. 19.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 3.21.
In the village, the population was spread out with 27.7% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 27.1% from 25 to 44, 26.4% from 45 to 64, and 10.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 86.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.6 males.
The median income for a household in the village was $59,583, and the median income for a family was $65,666. Males had a median income of $46,075 versus $33,339 for females. The per capita income for the village was $25,024. About 2.7% of families and 4.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.0% of those under age 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 or over. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matteson,_Illinois)
The Chicago branches of the NAACP and some other black residents criticized the campaign, arguing it was racist. Some other critics stated that the blacks moving to Matteson were wealthier than the whites they replaced.
As of 1996, white residents were concentrated in the older, eastern portion of Matteson, while black residents generally lived in newer subdivisions located in the western portion of the village. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matteson,_Illinois)
Economy in Matteson
Matteson was home to Lincoln Mall, which was located at Cicero Avenue and US Highway 30. Once one of the Chicago Southland‘s major regional shopping centers, Lincoln Mall experienced a protracted decline beginning in the 1990s and closed on January 7, 2015. Several big-box retailers, including Target and Sports Authority, are located in close proximity to the former mall, as are hotels and low/midrise office buildings.
The 110-acre (0.45 km2) Matteson Auto Mall, just west of Interstate 57 along US Highway 30, is the largest agglomeration of automobile dealerships in Illinois. The Matteson Auto Mall was originally developed by David Miller in 2001. Valspar operates a paint manufacturing facility in Matteson. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matteson,_Illinois)
Schools in Matteson
Rich Township High School District 227, which has its headquarters in Matteson, operates public high schools serving Matteson. Different portions of Matteson are zoned to each of the three Rich Township district schools: Rich Central High School in Olympia Fields, Rich East High School in Park Forest, and Rich South High School in Richton Park. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matteson,_Illinois)