Cobden is located in southern Illinois in Union County
about 20 miles south of Carbondale
along U.S. Highway 51 about 10 miles east of the Mississippi River
. Cedar Lake
is within 10 miles to the north. The population estimate for July 1, 1998 was 1,055, a decrease of 35 since 1990.
Cobden's "claim to fame" results from being the birthplace of the first refrigerated railroad car to carry fresh fruit. It was built in 1867 by Parker Earle who shipped strawberries on the Illinois Central Railroad.