And Historical Resources
Association of State & Local History
Web Site: www.aaslh.org
Art On The Square
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.
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.
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.
Library is housed in a Carnegie library building dedicated on January
20, 1916, which is located at 121 E. Washington St.
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.
Macklin, Membership Chairman:
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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 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.
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/
Web Site: illinoisheritage.org
Historic Preservation Agency
Web Site: www.state.il.us/HPA
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.