graphicRantoul has been known by several different names over the past few hundred years, and people have settled here for a variety of reasons. Native Americans discovered this was a wonderful place to hunt game and gather other foods. People of European descent later came here to grow crops and take advantage of the railroad that ran through town. In 1917, the federal government selected this community as a perfect place to teach pilots how to fly a relatively new-fangled contraption called a military airplane.

Through two major world wars, as well as several others, Chanute Field/Chanute Air Force Base was the training site for technicians in a variety of fields. The government considered closing the base several times throughout the years and eventually followed through on that threat in the early 1990’s.

Village leaders had seen the writing on the wall a few years earlier and developed a major industrial park which has replaced the bulk of the civilian jobs lost when the base closed. Those industries, as well as a strong agricultural sector, have been the major employers in the area since the base closed.

Through its various incarnations, Rantoul has remained a strong, close-knit community where people pull together in difficult times and work together in good times to ensure a bright future for everyone.



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