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Photographs by Billie Browning, 4 April 2011
Third-smallest community in Illinois with a population of 23 found in Pike County
From the Quincy Herald Whig, 27 March 2011
Article by Deborah Gertz Husar - Staff Sriter

Not only is Pike County home to Valley City, the smallest community in Illinois according to the 2010 CenQsus, but it's also home to the third smallest community. The population of Time, with 23 residents, may fluctuate a bit over the years, but otherwise, nothing much has changed in the 25 years Bobby England has lived in the community southeast of Pittsfield.

"It's still the same as it was when we moved in," said England, president of the village board. "When I was a boy, I thought, Who would want to live at Time? There's nothing there, but when you get older, you learn just because there's nothing there doesn't mean it's not a nice place to live."

However, England and his wife are moving to another house closer to Milton this summer, which will drop the population to 21. He'll hand over the village board duties to someone else.

The seven member board meets once a month on a Monday, either at the first of the month or in the middle depending on England's work schedule. The village, like man communities, faces a budget crunch. "Money from the state is getting tighter and tighter and tighter, which I understand. These are really hard times," England said. But Time lives on, powered by "the love for the town," England said. "It's not a very big town, but people seem to get along real good. They want to keep it alive."

The village was platted in the mid 1850s by Hiram Scott. People were lured there by a desire for farmland. Veterans of the War of 1812 were given tracts of land in exchange for military service, according to a 1987 Herald Whig story. The village was named in April 1857 but may have been founded earlier. As the story goes, two men stopped and figured it was time to give the place, which apparently had a cluster of houses, a name.

By the 1860 Census, the village had more than 140 residents, and three doctors.

The village also had three churches at one time, a school with the first hot lunch program in Pike County and the largest flour mill in the county. However, it hasn't been a business center since horse and buggy days, and the first blacktop road wasn't built through Time until after the Vietnam War.

A ballot question in April 1987 asked residents to decide whether the municipality should be dissolved, but by a 31-2 margin, the village remained incorporated.

The community still is known for its historic bandstand, built in 1903 and renovated a century later, in Time Square.

"It was built so the much sought after Time Band would have someplace to play," a longtime resident, the late Karolyn Sheppard, said in a 2003 Herald Whig story. "It had a second floor to keep the children from bothering the musicians."

The community earmarked money raised at the Color Drive food stand for the project. Additional fundraisers and grants helped pay for the $10,000 restoration project which straightened the bandstand, added steel "boots" to the posts and a rubber floor to the second story to protect the structure from moisture in the future and installed new decorative scrollwork pieces.

In 1980, Time was the smallest incorporated village in the state with 27 residents, down from a population of 39 in 1970.

Having two of the state's smallest communities and a third, Florence, ranks eighth smallest with a population of 38, poses some challenges to the county. "We love our Country nature, but we would like to see a little more growth. Right now, we don't have the draw to pick up a lot of numbers," Pike County Board Chairman Andy Borrowman said. Declining populations mean financial challenges.

"What it does is cut some of our funding," Borrowman said. "We have to try to do the same amount of work with less funds from the state and come up with those funds from another source." Borrowman worries the declines will continue unless the county could attract additional business or industry to provide more jobs. "A lot of young people going onto college and seeking good paying jobs are having to go elsewhere to get those jobs. You're not retaining them," he said

Time Community Church April 4, 2011
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