Carbondale is located in southern Illinois in Jackson County about 40 miles south-southwest of Mt. Vernon along U.S. 51 5 miles northeast of Cedar Lake and 5 miles west of Crab Orchard Lake & NWR. In addition, the Shawnee National Forest can be accessed in minutes in three directions.
Carbondale is the home of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. The campus features the McLeod Theater where 6 major productions are staged each year. The 488-seat theater is the attactive venue for the Summer Playhouse which produces 4 shows in an 8-week season. Venerable Shryock Auditorium, constructed in 1918, is a 1,200-seat theater hosting all performing arts genres. It features a 58-rank Reuter Pipe Organ.
West Walnut St. is Carbondale's Historic District displaying homes constucted in Italianate, Queen Anne and Victorian architectural styles.
The population estimate for July 1, 1998 was 26,454, a decrease of 579 since 1990.