Situated along scenic Rock River in northwestern Illinois, Sterling enjoys all the charms of quiet, small-town living, yet is only a two hours’ drive via I-88 to bustling downtown Chicago, the location of our Diocesan Cathedral and administrative offices. Our local population is about 25,000 when combined with the town of Rock Falls, which is located on the other side of the river.
Sterling supports major hospital, clinic and rehab facilities, YMCA and YWCA organizations, an excellent primary and secondary school system with a 5A high school (1,100 enrollment), Woodlawn Arts Academy, and Sauk Valley Junior College . Our town also provides many recreational opportunities such as golfing, boating, fishing, biking, hiking and camping. We also have cultural events such as municipal band concerts, Musicfest , the fall Latin Fiesta, a Free Movies in the Park Series and various community theater productions.
Sterling is home to the international headquarters of Wahl Clipper Corporation, a global manufacturer of grooming products for the consumer and professional markets. Wahl Clipper employs about 700 people at its Sterling location with nearly 2,300 worldwide. Other notable local industries include Sterling Steel, Menk,USA, Boston Leather, Astec Screens, HALO and Franz Manufacturing.
Located in Sterling are the Dillon Home Museum, the Whiteside County Historical Society and the Lincoln Learning Center, which contain written and pictorial records of our town and the surrounding area.