A mayor who died trying to save his town, a State’s Attorney’s home bombed, women who broke the glass ceiling, and more are all part of Madison County’s political history.
The Village of Alhambra was founded in 1849. Ten years later a second village was platted less than a mile away! This newsletter explores the history of Alhambra and how the two villages became one.
A new exhibit, “Ink to Paper: Exploring the Advancement of Letter Writing and its Uses,” has just opened at the Madison County Archival Library at 801 N. Main Street, Edwardsville. In the exhibit, Thompson explores something that is becoming a lost art: letters. The exhibit looks at the instruments used to write them, the various types of letters, and even the stamps that were used to send letters. Many items in the exhibit come from the recently donated Flagg Collection.
Although the museum building remains closed for renovation, the work of the museum continues with exhibits like this one, on-line exhibits and the collection and curation of artifacts that reflect Madison County history. This latest exhibit was created by David Thompson, a graduate student in Historical Studies at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville who was hired as an intern for the Madison County Historical Museum during the fall semester. He worked under the direction of County Museum curators.
Earlier this year, the Madison County Historical Society was able to obtain a grant from the SIUE Emeriti Faculty Association that made it possible to hire Thomson for the semester. Thompson’s master’s thesis focuses on the use of memory in the message of public art. He is also working on obtaining a certification in Museum Studies, and wants to examine heirloom collecting, and the oral history surrounding it.
The Madison County Archival Library is open to the public Wednesday-Friday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday 1-4 p.m. Numerous restrictions are in place due to COVID-19, including a mask requirement and limits on the number of visitors allowed in the building at one time. Due to the latter, it is strongly advised that patrons call 618-656-7569 for a reservation before visiting the Library. To browse on-line exhibits, visit https://madcohistory.org/online-exhibits/.a
Right (from the exhibit): This letter on the stationery of Illinois Representative Norman G. Flagg is far from official business. It was written by the representative’s son, James Smith Flagg, in 1916 (James is shown in 1912 at age 2).
Roland Harris has been collecting and sharing the history of communities in the eastern part of Madison County for 70 years. His collective works have now been recognized by the State of Illinois.
During the height of the tuberculosis epidemic, Madison County built a hospital dedicated solely to the care of TB patients.
East of Edwardsville, in Pin Oak Township, more than 150 years ago, there was a settlement of Black farmers that author J. Eric Robinson calls “The Pin Oak Colony.”
The Archival Library, which has been closed earlier in the pandemic, is open with COVID-19 guidelines to protect patrons and staff. Masks are required and the number of patrons which can be at the library at any given time will be limited to allow for social distancing. Due to this restriction, library staff highly recommend that patrons call and make a reservation before coming. In addition to reserving a time-slot for research, this allows staff to pull needed books and materials to assist with whatever topic the patron is researching.
Library hours are Wednesday – Friday 9-4 and Sunday 1-4. The phone number is 618-656-7569.
From 1899-1930s there were streetcars, known as electric railways, crisscrossing Madison County. The last holdout was a line between St. Louis and Granite City that discontinue service in 1958.
801 N. Main Street
Edwardsville, IL 62025
Madison County Historical Society
P.O. Box 422
Edwardsville IL 62025