We are open every Saturday from
10am to 2pm or by appointment.

Phone: (618) 222-9430

Labor & Industry Museum
123 North Church St.
Belleville, Illinois 62220

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Cultural And Historical Resources

American Association of State & Local History

The American Association for State and Local History provides leadership service, and support for its members, who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful in American Society.

Web Site: www.aaslh.org

Art On The Square

Art on the Square is intended to foster the appreciation of the visual and performing arts to a diverse public by presenting an exhibit and sale of fine art, providing educational and enjoyable workshops for children and promoting the importance of the creative process. This commitment includes providing these goals free of charge, not only for entertainment, but also to educate the residents of Southwestern Illinois.

Web Site:

Belleville Main Street

Illinois Main Street is modeled after a program developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It is tailored for communities under 50,000 in population and is under the direction of the State Lt. Governor's Office. The program draws on a community's architectural and historical resources. Its major goal is the revitalization of downtown areas. Heritage tourism is recognized as an important player. Belleville became a Main Street Community in 1998. The executive director is Rick Ortiz.

Contact: 618-239-9428

Web Site: www.bellevillemainstreet.net

Belleville Public Library

The Belleville Public Library is the oldest subscription library in the State of Illinois. Belleville, a community with a strong German heritage, owes this distinction to a group of educated German immigrants known as the "Latin Farmers". On June 26, 1836, they pooled their books and housed them in a place easily accessible to the public. The German Library Society of St. Clair County was organized. As to be expected, much of the original collection of 346 volumes is in German. At a City Council meeting on February 5, 1883, the decision was made to acquire the holdings of the Saengerbund and Library Society's collection of 6,000 volumes. Along with that decision came the establishment of a tax of one mill (1/10 of a cent) on the dollar to support the library.

The Library is housed in a Carnegie library building dedicated on January 20, 1916, which is located at 121 E. Washington St.

Contact: 618-234-0441
Web Site: www.belleville.net | Belleville Public Library Page

Belleville Sister Cities, Inc.

Paderborn, Germany, became Belleville's Sister City in 1990. The aim of this organization is to encourage travel and communication between the two countries in order to strengthen cross-cultural relationships. It sponsors a summer youth program with financial assistance for young adults between the ages of 16 and 19. To support this program, Belleville Sister Cities participates in various festivals and sponsors "A Taste of Germany" each fall.

Anyone wishing to contact Belleville Sister Cities, Inc. may do so by e-mail.

Doris Roach, President:


Nancy Macklin, Membership Chairman:

Belleville Tourism

Belleville Tourism is an arm of the Belleville Chamber of Commerce located at 216 East A St., Belleville, IL, 62220. Belleville Tourism publishes an annual Calendar of Events for Belleville. The brochure also includes sites in Belleville and the Belleville area, i.e., The National Shrine of our Lady of the Snows, Eckerts Country Store and Farms, Cathedral of St. Peter, Historic Lincoln Theater, and Scott Air Force Base. A map and a Hotel/B&B Directory are also included.

Contact: Cathleen Lindauer 618-233-2015 or 800-677-9255

Gateway East Artists Guild

The Guild, a non-for-profit organization founded over 30 years ago, is open to any professional or non-professional artist 18 years of age or older. Members create and display art and help promote the arts throughout the community by providing educational opportunities and shows. The Gateway East Artists Guild meets the first Wednesday of each month at the Broadway Center of Arts, 124 E. Main St., Belleville.

For information on guild programs and workshops for 2003 contact Patty Kampmann 618-234-9812; for theatre productions and art exhibits at the Broadway Center of the Arts contact Kathy Mordini at 618-233-0431.

Web site: geogweb@hotmail.com

Historic Preservation Commission, City of Belleville

Founded by City Ordinance in 1972. The purpose of the Commission as defined by City Ordinance #3154 is to "identify and inventory those places, areas and buildings having special historical, cultural or aesthetic interest or value and to prepare for consideration by the City Council such proposed legislation as may be necessary to insure preservation and continued utilization of the places and objects so identified." The volunteer citizen board reviews all exterior changes in historic districts so designated by the City Council.

A large portion of the near north and south side of the residential areas beyond E. Main St. was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of Interior in 1976.

In December 2002, the City Council adopted a "Design Guideline Manual" to assist homeowners with exterior changes to their homes. A copy is available for reference at the Belleville Public Library, 2nd Floor Reference Department, the City Zoning Office and the Office of Economic Development.

To further promote Belleville's downtown area and century-old residential neighborhoods, the Commission sponsors "Old Belleville Days" which is held annually the third Saturday in May.

Contact the Belleville Zoning Office or the Economic Development Office at City Hall at 618-233-6810.

Labor & Industry Museum - Belleville, Illinois History
"Old Belleville Historic District"
Labor & Industry Museum - Belleville, Illinois History
"Hexenbuckel Historic District"
Labor & Industry Museum - Belleville, Illinois History
"Oakland Historic District"

In 1974 the "Old Belleville Historic District" was formed and expanded twice.

In 1991 the "Hexenbuckel Historic District" was established.

In 1995 the "Oakland Historic District" was established.

Illinois Association Of Museums

The Illinois Association of Museums is an independent statewide network of art, history, and science museums, historical and genealogical societies, zoos, nature centers, arboreta, and other cultural agencies.

The primary purpose of the Association is to facilitate the exchange of ideas and methods among member organizations in Illinois who share goals relating to preservation and interpretation of history, prehistory, natural and built environments, and social scientific, cultural and/or artistic endeavors.

Web Site: www.illinoisassociationofmuseums.org/

Illinois Heritage Association

The Illinois Heritage Association perpetuates the history and heritage of Illinois by providing professional services to educational institutions, local government bodies and nonprofit agencies. It recognizes the contribution of people and nature to the shaping of the cultural heritage of the state of Illinois. In furthering such such purposes, the Illinois Heritage Association researches and documents the history of Illinois, makes available the services of qualified personnel to assist with the needs of agencies entrusted with the perpetuation of Illinois history, provides educational services and benefits to the public, and builds coalitions with other groups that have similar objectives.

Web Site: illinoisheritage.org

Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

The Agency operates 60 state-owned historic sites and memorials, ranging from prehistoric Native American to the Vietnam War, that are visited by nearly three million people each year. We administer all state and federal historic preservation and incentive programs in Illinois, including the National Register of Historic Places.

Web Site: www.state.il.us/HPA

Illinois History

For 56 years the Illinois History Magazine has been available to young people as an opportunity to be published. Belleville high school students traditionally write for Ilinois History Magazine which will be available only on line beginning in 2003.

Web Site: www.state.il.us/hpa/education.htm

Illinois Labor History Society

The Purpose of the Illinois Labor History Society is to encourage the preservation and study of labor history materials of the Illinois Region, and to arouse public interest in the profound significance of the past to the present.

Web Site: www.illinoislaborhistory.org

Gustave Koerner House Restoration

The Gustave Koerner House Restoration Committee is dedicated to the restoration of Belleville's Gustave Koerner home, on Mascoutah Avenue at Abend Street. Once complete, the home will be opened as a museum, where Koerner's life and political career will be interpreted. This site contains information about Koerner's life and the progress of the home restoration project.

The restoration of Belleville's Gustave Koerner home, on Mascoutah Avenue at Abend Street, will stand as a testament to one of Belleville's most illustrious citizens. Koerner joined Abraham Lincoln, Horace Greeley and others who, fired by the passions of the times, came together to create the Republican Party in 1856. Koerner became a close Lincoln confidant, helped write the 1860 Republican Party platform, and managed Lincoln's drive to the presidential nomination at the party's convention. Koerner was an ardent anti-slavery proponent and, as a German emigre, played a key role in allying western America's German population with the Union cause. The Koerner House Restoration Committee is working with a team of consultants to prepare a Historic Structure Report. Selective demolition of the structure's modern components commenced in May 2005. Once complete, the home will be opened as a museum, where Koerner's life and political career will be interpreted.

Web Site: www.gustavekoerner.org

Masterworks Chorale

The Masterworks Chorale is an auditioned adult ensemble of experienced choral singers committed to dynamic performances of significant choral literature. A. Dennis Sparger is music director and conductor, as well as founder, of the Masterworks Chorale. Under Dr. Spargerís baton, the Chorale has performed over sixty major choral-orchestral works, since its inception in 1974.

Founded in 1985, Masterworks Childrenís Chorus (MCC) is based on the premise that all children possess the capacity for artistic expression when provided an opportunity for its nurturing. MCC is a music education and performance program emphasizing individual understanding and development of musical skills. The program endeavors to enrich the lives of children from all religious, racial, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Membership consists of singers drawn from grades 1 through 12, including both boys and girls, divided into three levels. The summer includes a choir tour and a summer camp, complete with noted guest clinicians.

The adult chorale performs 4 concerts per year, while the children perform 2 major concerts and 2 concerts with the adults. Concerts are open to the public and admission prices are held to a minimum to include all who wish to attend. The two most popular concerts are Christmas at the Cathedral and the Spring Broadway Concert.

More information can be gained by visiting our website at www.singmasterworks.org or by calling our Executive Director, Paul Lindauer at 618-236-0182.

Philharmonic Society Of Belleville

The Philharmonic Society was established in 1866, and its first concert was played January 26, 1867. Robert Charles Howard is the 22nd conductor of the Philharmonic, the nation's second oldest philharmonic. The Philharmonic Society which was incorporated in 1871 and in 1897 acquired a home of its own by purchasing a building previously used as a kindergarten. This historic and architecturally significant building is located at 116 N. Jackson St. Despite world wars and economic depression, the Philharmonic has continued to present outstanding concerts by well-trained musicians and professional artists. In celebration of the Society's centennial in 1966, the Philharmonic Chorale was organized. The Chorale is under the direction of Richard Thompson. The Society also makes available instruction to children.

A history of "The Singing Societies and Philharmonic Orchestra of Belleville" can be read in the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, November, 1975.

Contact: 618-235-5600
Web Site: www.bellevillephilharmonic.org

St. Clair County Genealogical Society

The St. Clair County Genealogical Society, organized in 1977, publishes a quarterly journal, a monthly newsletter and maintains ancestral records, genealogical publications, and family histories at the Belleville Public Library.

The 500+ member organization publishes member queries and indexes and translates civil and military records, including census records, newspaper obituaries, and cemetery and church records. The society provides programming at monthly meetings and sponsors genealogical programs in cooperation with the Belleville Public Library on a wide variety of topics pertaining to family history. Monthly meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month at St. Luke's Parish Hall.

Contact: Beth Koenig, President, 618-398-1832, eakoenig@aol.com (subject SCCGS)
Web Site: www.stclair-ilgs.org/stchome.htm

St. Clair County Historical Society

The St. Clair County Historical Society was founded in 1905 by the Honorable J. Nick Perrin who served as the Society's first president. Perrin, a lawyer, legislator, author and orator, was an acknowledged guardian of Belleville St. Clair County History. He died in 1940, and the society diminished. In 1960, the society regrouped to prepare for Belleville's Sesquicentennial in 1964, and J. D. Trabue, attorney and judge, was elected president.

Since that time an annual journal has been published. The society has restored two house museums that have been opened to the public -- a German street house dating from Victorian America and a two story mansion also representing Victorian America. They also maintain the historic Messenger Cemetery.
Labor & Industry Museum - Belleville, Illinois History
St. Clair Historical Society Museum
Labor & Industry Museum - Belleville, Illinois History
St. Clair Historical Society "Kunz House"

The Society is currently raising funds to restore the 1852 Gustave Koerner Home in the "Old Belleville Historic District". Koerner fled to Illinois in 1833 after Germany's social revolution failed. Koerner, an attorney, became the first German-American elected to the Illinois Legislature. In 1852, he was elected to the Office of Lt. Governor for the State of Illinois. He was a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln and was emphatic in his stand against slavery.

The Society can be reached at 618-234-0600.

Web Site: www.facebook.com/stcchs

Southwestern Illinois College

The William and Florence Schmidt Art Center, a new 6,800 sq. ft. privately funded art gallery was opened in 2002. It is located on the campus of Southwestern Illinois College. Its 400 plus piece collection includes Pre-Columbian Pottery, Greek Stoneware, "Ogoni" Marionettes, photographs, paintings and sculptures by artists including: Picasso, Dali, Manet, Delacroix, Cunningham, Adams, Oldenburg, Motherwell, Cristo, Damier and Close.

In addition to exhibiting its own collection, the art center provides educational programming for students and traveling exhibits. The college was founded as Belleville Junior College in 1946. Satellite campuses are located at Granite City, Red Bud, and Scott AFB, IL. The college has a current enrollment of 23,000 students.

Web site: www.swicfoundation.com

Executive Director/Curator: Libby Reuter 618-222-START ( EXT. 5278)

Walnut Hill Cemetery

Walnut Hill Cemetery, located in the southeast quadrant of the city on Route 177, has been serving Belleville families since 1850. The practice of burying loved ones in a family plot was abandoned with the cholera epidemic of 1849. Walnut Hill at that time was outside the corporate limits of Belleville. Walnut Hill with its remarkable source of history and beauty offers a tranquil sanctuary. Some of the unique features are the gently rolling grounds with above ground monuments, lawn crypts, a Civil War Memorial, a Veterans of Foreign War Memorial and other unique headstone sculptures.

Web Site: www.belleville.net | Walnut Hill Cemetery Page


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Historical information for this web site has been pulled from public records and archives available at the Belleville Public Library Reference Department.

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