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The area where Ilion is located was first settled by Palatine Germans under the Burnetsfield Patent around 1725. Settlers first established residencies along Steeles Creek, which flows through the current village into the Mohawk River. Many mills were set up along the creek. After the American Revolution, a small community was set up in the area named New London. This area of the village still has buildings which use the name London.
The community began to flourish starting around 1816 when Eliphalet Remington created his first gun, which would later grow into the Remington Arms company. The community was even further advanced with the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825.
In 1843 a post office was desired so a name for the settlement needed to be chosen. Remington rejected the use of his name as a name for the village, and it was eventually named Ilion. A popular, yet unverified rumor is that the application said Illium, but due to a misspelling or bad penmanship was interpreted as Ilion.
The Village of Ilion was incorporated in 1852. Ilion is one of only twelve villages in New York still incorporated under a charter, the other villages having incorporated or re-incorporated under the provisions of Village Law.
The Current Mayor is now John P. Stephens and the Trustees include Beth Neal, Joanie Moore, Kim Connly, and Donna Felker.
As of the census of 2000, there were 8,610 people, 3,425 households, and 2,212 families residing in the village. The population density was 3,476.6 people per square mile (1,340.5/km²). There were 3,623 housing units at an average density of 1,462.9 per square mile (564.1/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 97.35% White, 0.66% African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.21% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.24% from other races, and 1.41% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.58% of the population.
There were 3,425 households out of which 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.0% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.4% were non-families. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.06.
In the village the population was spread out with 26.6% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 27.0% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 16.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 85.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.3 males.
The median income for a household in the village was $31,793, and the median income for a family was $38,203. Males had a median income of $30,069 versus $21,754 for females. The per capita income for the village was $14,264. About 14.1% of families and 17.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.3% of those under age 18 and 13.9% of those age 65 or over.
The Ilion Central School District is composed of three buildings: Remington Elementary, Barringer Road Elementary, and Ilion Jr/Sr High School. The athletic team's nickname is the Golden Bombers, the mascot is the Bomber Bear, and the school colors are gold and brown.Barringer Road Elementary is nicknamed the Bobcats. Remington Elementary is nicknamed the Roadrunners. For the 2005-2006 school year, total K-12 enrollment was 1673 students.
In the 2010-2011 year, the district had a $25 Million budget, about 1600 students, and a proposed cut of $1.1 Million in Governor Andrew Cuomo's state budget for 2011. Ilion Central School District is among the poorest in the state of New York. More than a third of its students are eligible for free or low-priced lunches, a standard measure of poverty. However, many families in Upstate New York are too ashamed to admit that their children need subsidized nutrition. Ilion was promised additional state education aid after the CFE court ruling in 2006, but due to the state budget crisis, this had not come to fruition. The buildings are in fine shape, but the district has not been able to afford any foreign language (other than Spanish), and only offers four out of 34 possible AP courses. The district is considering the option of merging with nearby school districts to save money, which may be its only option.
- Boots Day, Major League Baseball player
- Andrew D. Morgan, lawyer and former chairman of the New York State Hospital Commission
- Eliphalet Remington, founder of Remington Arms
- Alden, Hatch (1956). Remington Arms in American History. New York Toronto: Reinhardt & Company Inc. p. 67. ASIN B0006C589A.
- "Local Government Handbook - Village Government: Historical Development" (PDF). New York State Department of State. 2008, 5th edition. p. 72. Retrieved 2009-06-26.
- "The Village of Ilion".
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Editorial, "Rich District, Poor District," New York Times, March 27, 2011, Perspective, p. 9.