Where is Cobden?

Cobden’s History

Date Founded: 1857. Originally named South Pass.

Origin of name: Named after Sir Richard Cobden, a member of Parliament and Englishman who was responsible for financing English money toward the Illinois Central Railroad.

Population: 1,100

Notable history: The Cobden Appleknockers brought fame to the town in 1964 by finishing second in the Illinois high school basketball finals. Cobden is famous for its fine fruits and vegetables. The town led the world as a peach shipping point in 1929 for 13 days. In the mid-1930s, Cobden shipped more tomatoes than any other place in the United States.

Location: 13 miles south of Carbondale, Ill., just off State Route 51. From St. Louis, the town is 101 miles southeast.

Birthplace of important invention: Cobden resident Parker Earle came up with a way to ship refrigerated fruit using wooden chests containing several inches of ice on the bottom. He then stacked strawberries on top of the ice and shipped the berries to Chicago where they brought in as much as $2 a quart. Earle spent years perfecting methods of refrigerated shipping.

Celebrating more than 150 years: The village celebrated its sesquicentennial in 2007 with special events throughout the year. Cobden is home to several mom-and-pop businesses, orchards, wineries and taverns. History buffs can learn more about the area by visiting the Union County Museum at 117 S. Appleknocker Drive.