Carbondale is a city in Jackson County, in the state of Illinois, within the Southern Illinois region. It is located at the junction of Illinois Route 13 and U.S. Route 51, 96 miles (154 km) southeast of St. Louis, Missouri, on the northern edge of the Shawnee National Forest. Carbondale is the home of the main campus of Southern Illinois University. The city is located in Jackson County, Illinois.
As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 25,902, and is the 20th-most populated city outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area. In addition, the city is the most populous in Southern Illinois, outside of the Metro-East area, and the most populous city in the Carbondale-Marion-Herrin, Illinois Combined Statistical Area and the Metro Lakeland area. The CSA has 126,575 residents, the sixth most populous Combined statistical area in Illinois. In 1971, Carbondale won the All American City achievement award, and was a finalist in the 2009 contest.
In August 1852, Daniel Harmon Brush, John Asgill Conner, and Dr. William Richart bought a 360-acre (1.5 km2) parcel of land between two proposed railroad sites (Makanda and De Soto) and two county seats (Murphysboro and Marion). Brush named Carbondale for the large deposit of coal in the area. The first train through Carbondale was on the main line north from Cairo on Independence Day 1854.