In 1805, Thomas Kirkpatrick, Edwardsvilles first settler, arrived from North Carolina and built a two-room log cabin overlooking Cahokia Creek. Word spread of the rich resources here, and, by 1809, other settlers from the Southeast followed the Kirkpatrick familys example and formed a small community.
In 1812, Illinois territorial Governor, Ninian Edwards, divided the region into Madison County and St. Clair County.
To this day, North Main Street remains an historic district in Edwardsville. It showcases some of the towns oldest building including a log cabin that was built just northwest of the Kirkpatrick home. The street also was the site of the first county jail, a U.S. land office, the first courthouse, and the citys first public square.
Eventually, hotels, businesses, schools, residences, a newspaper, restaurant and a tavern developed around the center of town, which then expanded to include Dale School in 1863.
Early industry was based on agriculture, gristmills, sawmills, cabinetry, bricklaying, an ice plant and a grain elevator. Coal mining arrived in the mid-1800s.
Although settlers had been living in the area since 1801, Glen Carbon officially became a village in 1892. The village prospered as farmers and coal miners emigrated from Eastern Europe. Glen Carbon owes its earliest success to the coal mining industry and pays homage to its mining heritage with the images of miners that appear on everything from stationery to signs welcoming visitors to Glen Carbon. Near the turn of the century, Glen Carbon boasted of two bituminous coal mines and a coal washer.
A growing brick production industry augmented mining. Major employers of the time, Madison Coal Corp. and St. Louis Press Brick Co., built "saltbox" homes along Main Street. Many of these are still standing today.
At one time the village had a soda bottling works, several general stores, a German singing society and even live vaudeville acts.
During the twentieth century Glen Carbon continued to grow. Soon after Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (SIUE) established itself in the area, subdivisions sprung up along Glen Carbon Road, Meridian Road and the Cottonwood area. New construction continued through the 1960s and 1970s.
By 1980, Glen Carbons population had grown by 174 percent, making it the fastest growing community in Southwestern Illinois. Today its popularity among businesses and residents remains as strong as ever.
Historical Trivia -Did You Know?
Edwardsville is the third oldest city in Illinois.
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