The Edwardsville/Glen Carbon area offers a unique blend of rural beauty with quick access to a metro scene in nearby St. Louis. Quality of life here is a major source of pride – no doubt one of the main motivators behind the strong-and-steady local real estate market.
Its education system warrants bragging rights as one of the top-rated districts in the state. Edwardsville is home to a Southern Illinois University campus – one of the largest local employers – as well as a community college. Not only does that make the area attractive for students, but also for those who want to live in a college town with a cerebral vibe, numerous coffee shops, bicycle trails and bountiful green space areas.
A good number of Edwardsville/Glen Carbon residents commute about 30 miles to St. Louis for work, and this area provides a respite from the city while being close enough to interstates 270 and 255 to make the daily drive seamless. Glen Carbon not only offers a quick commute to the city, but it also thrives because of its regional presence in the retail market as well, said Jamie Bowden, Glen Carbon Village Administrator.
“The median income for the village of Glen Carbon along with our local schools and amenities help attract a wide range of businesses to our community,” Bowden said.
In 2009, Glen Carbon was named to the “Top 100 Best Places to Live” list by CNN Money Magazine. It offers a variety of unique restaurants and shops, and it’s known for its annual “homecoming” festival that includes a parade, covered bridge run, amusement rides and a beer garden every June.
Enviable family appeal
Edwardsville also has been recognized several times for its appeal, with Family Circle magazine deeming it one of the top 10 cities and towns for families in America in 2010. The accolade was due to the town’s affordable housing, excellent school system and green spaces. In 2013, the website NerdWallet ranked Edwardsville first in best cities for young families.
Part of what sets Edwardsville apart is its downtown, where you’ll find picturesque lampposts, plenty of benches and varied architecture. Downtown is also home to independently-owned restaurants and shops, and the Goshen Market that offers fresh local produce Saturday mornings May through October.
Edwardsville’s history as the third-oldest town in Illinois is a source of pride and distinction. Businesses, schools, churches, cemeteries and homes are among the more than 40 designated local historic landmarks here.
Edwardsville is also known for having one of the lowest costs of living in the U.S. Furthermore, the housing stock is varied, which makes the area attractive to a wide variety of potential newcomers. Apartments and condos are plentiful, as are the starter-home stock and lakeside properties. The majority of properties are single-family homes.
Edwardsville has devoted more than 140 acres to public green spaces spread over 13 city parks – with more on the way – many of which are neighborhood parks that make a leisurely afternoon or evening outside just a few minutes away. The community also enjoys indoor recreational activities at two YMCA facilities, which also offer early childhood development programs, daycare and summer camps.
“The combination of a stellar education system and a location perfect for large and small businesses, makes the Edwardsville and Glen Carbon area the perfect place for a family to locate,” said Kyle Anderson, CEO of the Greater Gateway Association of REALTORS. “Quality housing stock, family-friendly parks and entertainment options help close the deal with most who see this area.”
Glen Carbon: Rich in history
Glen Carbon celebrated its 125th anniversary of incorporation in June 2017. The village had humble beginnings as a hodgepodge of small areas: Peters Station to the west, Mont Station to the east, and the original Goshen settlement. In 1892 many of these areas were consolidated and the Village of Glen Carbon was born.
Over time, two railroad depots were built. These were well-used by folks looking to travel to St. Louis, providing a convenient method for day trips. Those in mining and business found the railway was a significant way to transport coal and other goods to various locations. Today, most of businesses are found in the eastern portion of the town, with the “Old Town” section remaining quaint.
Local history is also documented in several cemeteries dating back to before the village was founded. Many community pioneers and soldiers are buried here.
From the start, Glen Carbon townspeople were education-minded. The current Glen Carbon Heritage Museum building started out in 1914 as a schoolhouse. The structure also has served as a WWII scrap metal collection center, blood bank, civil defense building, village offices, police station, doctor’s offices, library and more.
In 2014, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Parks Service/Department of the Interior. Today, it bears original hardwood floors and tin ceilings, welcoming visitors to experience and preserve local history.
Glen Carbon today
Several new developments are evident in the village. They include Altitude Trampoline Park, Variety Storage Facility and the massive West Main Street Extension across State Route 157. Plans for a new suite of professional office buildings are also on the horizon.
The village is also home to Greenspace North, a 34-acre conservation area that boasts a hiking and biking trail to the west and across from village hall. The park features public parking and access to Madison County Transit Nickel Plate Bike Trail.
On the east side of Glen Carbon is the new Greenspace East Recreational Trails Project, with designations for walking, jogging or hiking (biking is prohibited). The project spans 80 picturesque acres just west of Old Troy Road, east of Route 159. Main access points include trails at the end of South Trace Road and off of the Ronald Foster Heritage Bike Trail near Oaklawn Drive.
People hit the trails without worry: an asset that differentiates Glen Carbon is public safety, Bowden said. In 2014, the village ranked 12th on the “SafeWise 50 Safest Cities in Illinois” list.
The vast Madison County Transit bike trails that are locally accessible, as well as myriad parks, easy access to the interstate for commuting, and its location shadowing St. Louis Metro region make Glen Carbon one of the premier places to call home in southern Illinois.