Herrin is a city in Williamson County, Illinois, United States. The population was 12,501 at the 2010 census. It is home to Country Music star David Lee Murphy, the hometown of baseball's Cleveland shortstop Ray Chapman, and the hometown of San Diego State University men's basketball coach Steve Fisher, as well as Medal of Honor recipient Joseph William Ozbourn.
The city is part of the Marion-Herrin Micropolitan Area and is a part of the Carbondale-Marion-Herrin, Illinois Combined Statistical Area with 123,272 residents, the sixth most populous Combined statistical area in Illinois. The city is also part of the Metro Lakeland area.
The settlement of Herrin started out as scattered settlers on Herring's Prairie named for the first permanent settler Isaac Herring, a Baptist preacher. Later, his son-in-law David Herrin arrived and the similarity in names led to the eventual shortening of the name to just Herrin's Prairie. The trails from Jordan's fort to Humphreys' ford on the Big Muddy River intersected the old trail from Lusk's ferry at modern-day Golconda to Kaskaskia.
Isaac Herring entered the first land in what became Herrin on 4 November 1816, two years before Illinois became a state. He paid $2 an acre for the . At the time he lived to the west in Jackson County, The land entry was the northeast quarter off Section 30, Township 8 South, Range 2 East of the Third Principal Meridian. Today that area runs between 17th and 27th Streets, and from West Cherry Street on the north to West Stotlar Street on the south.
David Ruffin Harrison started storekeeping on the prairie in 1858. During the Civil War he built a frame store building and secured a fourth class post office that opened on 26 May 1864. After coal was discovered and mining began in nearby Carterville, Harrison, and his cousins Ephraim Snyder Herrin and Mrs. Williams in 1892 prospected for coal beginning at the southwest corner of Williams' farm, identified in 1939 as the corner of Legion Boulevard and East Herrin St. (Legion Blvd no longer appears on the maps, but the reference indicates the intersection was the North and North East public roads. The 1908 county atlas shows North East Public Road two blocks east of Park Avenue which would make it North 13th Street). "The men put up the cash, Mrs. Williams boarded the workers. A fine vein of coal was found at 185 feet."
In 1895, the Chicago and Carbondale Railroad organized the purpose of laying tracks between the Illinois Central railroad at Carbondale with the new Chicago, Paducah and Memphis Railroad that had opened up in 1894 going through the central part of the county. (This one later became the Chicago and Eastern Illinois railroad). Herrin convinced the developers to take their line between Carbondale and Johnston City through Herrin. Soon after it opened, the line was sold to the Chicago and Texas railroad in the fall of 1895. The following spring on 8 May 1896, the post office changed to Herrin post office and cousins Harrison and Herrin, great-grandsons of Isaac Herring made plans for a new town. They platted a 40-acre site divided by the line between Sections 19 and 30 of the township. They filed the plat 4 December 1896. The community incorporated as a village on 21 March 1898, and as a city two years later on 17 April 1900.
Herrin was the site of the 1922 Herrin massacre, during which two union miners and 19 strike-breakers were killed.
Herrin also had a recreational park, White City Park. It had a salt water swimming pool, rides and a theater. It also had the big bands play at the time. The Dorsey Brothers and Frank Sinatra played bocce ball and performed there. White City Park opened on Memorial Day in 1924 with 5000 in attendance. President Harry S Truman came to Herrin in September 1948. Three future presidents came to Herrin, Richard Nixon, John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. But Kennedy and Nixon came to the Herrin-Marion airport in 1960. Gerald Ford came to the Herrin-Marion airport in the 1970s.
At one time Herrin had 10 hotels, many clothing stores, grocery stores as well as department stores. Of the grocery stores Herrin has had over the years, only one has stood the test of time. Louie's P&R is still open in Herrin.