In 1805, the first settlers in and around Edwardsville were from Georgia and the Carolinas. Thomas Kirkpatrick and his brothers James, Francis, and John filed a land claim for 100 acres of land on a bluff above Cahokia Creek, at the northwest end of what is now Main Street.
Illinois territorial governor, Ninian Edwards separated Madison County from St. Clair County in 1812, and declared that the temporary seat of justice was Thomas Kirkpatrick's home. The first Court of Common Pleas was assembled at that site on April 5, 1813.
Edwardsville's name wasn't officially recognized until February 5, 1816, although Thomas had named it years earlier in honor of Governor Edwards.
The Cooperative Village of Leclaire was established in 1890 by St. Louis industrialist, N.O. Nelson. The Village was built to support the many needs and services of Nelson's employees. The Leclaire neighborhood was declared an historic district in 1979 and registered with the United States Department of the Interior on the National Register of Historic Places.
Edwardsville's early economy was based on agricultural development and similar industrial growth such as grist mills, saw mills, cabinet makers, brickyards, an ice plant and a grain elevator. Over the years as Edwardsville has grown in area and population, the economy has shifted to more of a government center, surrounded by commercial and retail development.
Unprecedented residential growth in recent years has spurred additional business developments in and around Edwardsville, including the new 2,700 acre business park, Gateway Commerce Center. The new business has prompted the renovation of existing public and parochial school buildings and the construction of a new high school.
Edwardsville is also the home of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (SIUE).
The county seat of Madison County is located in Edwardsville.
The first permanent settler of Madison County was Colonel Samuel Judy. In 1801, with a 100 acre militia grant, he followed an Indian trail from Cahokia and settled at the foot of the bluff. The first Methodist congregation in the State of Illinois built a log church along Glen Carbon Road in 1805.
The area remained rural until the 1880's, when coal and high-quality shale were discovered in the valley. The attractive topography, along with its natural resources, assured Glen Carbon's role as a manufacturing and transportation center until well into the 1930's. During the period of 1970-1980, Glen Carbon experienced a population explosion of 174% making Glen Carbon the fastest growing community in the seven-county southwestern Illinois area. A regional housing study by Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville reported that Glen Carbon ranked among the top five in the 34-community metro east region in housing quality.
Grass-roots movements within the Village have resulted in many projects. A 'covered bridge' on Main Street was constructed by citizens as a Bicentennial project. Miner Park was also initiated by volunteers. The Ronald J. Foster Glen Carbon Heritage Trail, a 3.2 mile bike path, was constructed in 1991.
A highlight of Glen Carbon's 1992 Centennial activities was the dedication of the Yanda Cabin on Main Street. The 139-year old structure is now a museum and educational tool operated by the Village.
Students began attending classes on the Edwardsville campus in Fall, 1965. The University now has 20 major buildings, including a new Student Fitness Center and Art and Design facility. A new 500-bed residence hall opened recently and a new hall is under construction. SIUE's 2,600 acre campus supports a variety of academic and recreational programs. Student enrollment is approximately 11,000. SIUE has a diverse student body, outstanding facilities and a broad accreditation.
A 1995 survey of high school counselors rated SIUE as one of the top schools in Illinois for its quality academic programs. SIUE offers 41 undergraduate degree programs and 35 graduate programs, including the Doctor of Dental Medicine degree and a family practice residency certificate offered by the SIU School of Dental Medicine in Alton, Illinois, the only dental school within 250 miles.
The Edwardsville and Glen Carbon communities contain a total of eleven (11) schools including six public, four parochial and one private school. The public schools are located in School District 7, the eighteenth largest school district in the St. Louis region. District 7 has nine public schools and a total enrollment of 5,907. It encompasses 178 square miles serving the communities of Edwardsville, Glen Carbon, Hamel, Midway and Worden. District 7 is included in a Money Magazine ranking of the top 100 school districts in the country.
The new $23 million Edwardsville High School opened in the Fall of 1997. The building is situated on a 60 acre site, and can accommodate up to 2,400 students. The entire building is linked together by a network of fiber optic and copper cable for implementation of both video and computer technology.
The third weekend in October is brimming with Fall activities as Edwardsville and Glen Carbon celebrate hometown life during Harvest Homefest.
This annual festival showcases the history, recreation and activities available in the area. Families join together to bike ride, decorate pumpkins and scarecrows, enjoy delicious Fall treats, such as cider, kettle corn and bratwurst at the Parkfest, watch crafters weave their wonders and listen to local storytellers and the omm-pah-pahs of a German band.
Harvest Homefest gives everyone a chance to enjoy our hometown life.
Edwardsville: Hoppe Park: 20 acres, Tower Avenue in northwest Edwardsville. Baseball and softball diamonds, playground equipment, picnic area, restrooms, concession stand.
Springers Woods Park: 10 acres, Lindley and Frederick avenues. Fitness trail and playground equipment.
Leclaire Park: 3 acres, Hale Avenue off Troy Road, 3-acre lake, fishing, bandstand, pavilions, playground equipment and restrooms.
Esic Park: 5 acres, in Esic subdivision
Vadalabene Park: 4 acres, Home and Voge avenues. Softball diamond, basketball court, pavilion, playground equipment, concession stand and restrooms.
Watershed Nature Center: 40 acres, walking path, wildlife, wetlands, award winning.
Tower Park: 1 acre, Gerber Road and Bennington.
Terry Park: 4 acres, off of Terry Road in Edwardsville.
Rotary Park: 1.5 acres, Hadley Avenue in south central Edwardsville.
Lusk Memorial Park: 1.5 acres, Randle Street in central Edwardsville.
City Park: 2 acres, Vandalia and Buchanan streets in Downtown Edwardsville. Bandstand and restrooms.
Hotz Park: Randle and St. Louis streets.
For more information, call the City Parks and Recreation Department at 692-7538. Parks are open 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Glen Carbon: Miner Park: 17 acres, off Main Street in downtown Glen Carbon. Playground equipment, ball field, gazebo, pavilions, barbecue pits.
Citizen's Park: 5 acres, Daenzer Street behind Glen Carbon fire station. Ball diamond and starting point of 3.3 mile Ronald J. Foster Heritage Bike Trail.
For more information, call 288-1200.
Edwardsville Township: Township Park: pavilions, large playgrounds, tennis courts.
The Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Chamber of Commerce is a voluntary organization of the business community. The Chamber is not a civic club, charitable organization or department of the City or Village. The Chamber is a private, non-profit corporation. It unites hundreds of business and professional firms, thus creating a unique central agency working to improve business and build a better community. Over 80 percent of the membership is composed of small businesses interested in prospering and creating a healthy environment in which to conduct business.
Most importantly, the Chamber is people who realize that through the Chamber they can accomplish collectively what no one can do individually. The strength of the Chamber lies in attracting the greatest number of members, creating a pool of resources from which can be drawn ideas, energy and financial resources.
For information about Edwardsville or Glen Carbon, contact: Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Chamber of Commerce 200 University Park Drive, Suite 260 Edwardsville, IL 62025 (618) 656-7600 FAX: (618) 656-7611
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