Arcola is a city in Douglas County, Illinois, United States. The population was 2,916 at the 2010 census. The city was founded in 1855, when the Illinois Central Railroad was built through the county. The railroad itself was responsible for surveying, platting and founding the town.
Arcola is somewhat famous for the Lawn Rangers, a "precision lawn mower drill team" that marches in formation with brooms and lawn mowers while wearing cowboy hats. Every year since 1980, the Lawn Rangers have marched in the Arcola Broom Corn Festival Parade. The event, held the weekend after Labor Day, honors Arcola's position in the late nineteenth century as a center of broom corn production. This unique custom was publicized by humor columnist Dave Barry, who marched with the Lawn Rangers in 1995 and has written columns about them.
Arcola was the birthplace in 1880 of John Barton Gruelle, or "Johnny" Gruelle, who is famous for creating Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy, the loveable American dolls and storybook characters. Gruelle used artistic skills learned from his painter father Richard Buckner Gruelle combined with his self-taught writing skills to create stories expressing regional values and aesthetic images. His artistic granddaughter, Joni Gruelle Wannamaker, manages the Raggedy Ann Museum in Arcola.