County Welcome

Welcome to St. Clair County and to the City of Belleville, our county seat! Both St. Clair County and the City of Belleville have a rich history. St. Clair County was Illinois’ first county having been created in 1790. The City of Belleville was formed in 1814. The City of Belleville (200 years) and the County (225 years) both have recently celebrated milestone anniversaries.

Belleville has a rich cultural background, quality schools, growing businesses and a great quality of life. It is a great place to live, work and play. The County is home to Scott Air Force Base, MidAmerica St. Louis Airport and St. Louis Downtown Airport. We have a successful light rail system, MetroLink, connecting Belleville and other communities in the county with the Missouri portion of the region. We are home to Southwestern Illinois College, McKendree University and Lindenwood University’s fast growing Belleville Campus as well as other institutions of higher learning with satellite locations at Scott Air Force Base and in Belleville. We offer many great attractions, historic neighborhoods, tourist destinations and year round activities for the entire family.

I welcome you to contact my office if you want to learn more about our vibrant and growing region.


Mark A. Kern
St. Clair County Board Chairman

City Welcome

It is my great pleasure to introduce you to Belleville’s many special attributes, and I hope you will be able to experience our city in person.

Established in 1814, Belleville has over 200 years of history, tradition and progress. Opportunities abound in Belleville. The City of Belleville is committed to education at all levels. Excellent schools are available, from “Gold Medal” elementary education to expanded higher education opportunities at Southwestern Illinois College and Lindenwood University. With Art on the Square, the No. 1 Art Show in the nation, the Belleville Philharmonic Society, the St. Clair County Historical Society, literary study groups, and Illinois’ first library system indicate Belleville’s rich heritage and culture. Our three local and two National Register historic districts proudly exhibit the fruits of dedicated preservationists, while our clean, safe neighborhoods – both well established and new – provide perfect homes for raising families.

Belleville, the county seat of St. Clair County, is located five minutes from Scott Air Force Base and 15 minutes from downtown St. Louis. Belleville is not only a great place to live, but also is a great place to work. Perfectly situated near highways 15, 159, 177, 13 and 161, and not too far from I-255 and I-64, businesses find our location convenient and comfortable. Belleville is proud to offer MetroLink, a light rail transportation system that runs from Scott AFB to Lambert International Airport in St. Louis with three stations for parking and boarding in Belleville. Our medical services are among the best in Southern Illinois, and Belleville is also the financial center of the region.

Shopping in Belleville provides something for everyone. We feature a wide array of shops, from large retail stores to smaller antique, clothing, hardware, lumber, photo, specialty and sporting goods stores. We feature a number of fine eating establishments as well. We also have a vibrant downtown with unique shopping and dining. Our supermarkets are state-of-the-art, and our country-fresh produce stores are simply the best. The rich farmlands of the Belleville area have consistently provided economic stability. The nearby Eckert’s Orchards and the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows attract thousands of visitors each year. St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Belleville is the largest cathedral in the state of Illinois. All major religious denominations are represented. Add the MidAmerica St. Louis Airport, sports complexes, little leagues, movie theaters, parks, bike trails, a daily newspaper, and an enthusiastic group of service organizations, and it is clear that Belleville is the perfect place to live and work. Belleville has it all!

Mark W. Eckert
Mayor, The City of Belleville

Chamber Welcome

As Executive Director of the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce, I would like to extend our warmest welcome to our visitors. The Chamber is excited to showcase our great community, Belleville, Illinois, and all it has to offer in our relocation guide and member directory.

Belleville has the distinct privilege of being the largest city in Southern Illinois and the county seat for St. Clair County. This gives Belleville some unique opportunities. The Chamber, Belleville and St. Clair County continue to build partnerships that help us meet our mission of “Advancing Business, Supporting Community.”

We live in a community where the heart of the city can be seen in its vibrant downtown. Downtown Belleville is not only the governmental hub of St. Clair County but also has unique boutique shopping, fine dining and evening entertainment and is a host to many downtown festivals and parades. A few of the festivals that take place each year are Art on the Square, Oktoberfest and Chili Cook-off, plus you will not want to miss our holiday activities at Christmas time.

Over the past several years Belleville has worked to develop a network of biking/running trails and parks for our families to enjoy. Belleville has received designation as a RRCA Runner Friendly Community and, in 2014, the new Bicentennial Park opened for all to enjoy. Belleville also has a thriving parks and recreation department to keep our families active throughout the year.

We enjoy a partnership with our neighbors to the east at Scott Air Force Base. Many military families reside here in Belleville and add a unique flavor to our city. They bring many cultures to our community and we enjoy welcoming them into our city.

Belleville is just a short commute from St. Louis by way of the MetroLink light rail service. With service not only to downtown St. Louis where you can catch a Cardinal baseball game or Blues hockey, but also direct transportation to St. Louis International Airport at Lambert Field. You may also choose to stay close to home and take a flight from Mid-America Airport.

The Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce is the largest Chamber south of Springfield, Illinois, and the third largest in the St. Louis Metropolitan area. We are a thriving Chamber with close to 600 members and 11 committees that help to support our mission. We continually strive to address the needs of our members and the community.

This publication only begins to touch on the many highlights that Belleville has to offer. We look forward to welcoming you to our great city and thank you for visiting.

Warm wishes,

Wendy J. Pfeil, Executive Director
Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce


Belleville is one of the oldest cities in Illinois. It was first settled after the Revolutionary War by veterans who received land grants. After the Civil War, manufacturing began to take hold in the community and changed the landscape of the city that we know and love today.

Larger local companies made nails, printing presses, gray iron castings and agricultural equipment. Smaller companies made cigars and candy. As immigrants came to the area, they struggled with language barriers, working conditions, pay scales and many other challenges. Soon, labor and workingmen organizations formed. Advances in quality of the workplaces and fair wages contributed to the creation of the middle class – a factor that spurred the local economy.

In the early 1800s, southern Illinois was home to many French settlers – Belleville means “beautiful city” in French. But since the mid-1800s, the major cultural influence here has been from Germany. In 1824, Gottfried Duden published a book about the area. Many well-educated and successful German citizens read the book and considered immigrating to southern Illinois. After the failure of the German Revolution in 1830, many chose to leave Germany. Giessener Gesellschaft was a German company that brought many immigrants to Missouri. Many moved in to Illinois in their search for a place where they could enjoy political and religious freedom.

German immigrants began settling in Belleville in large numbers during the 1830s. They brought with them their simple brick architectural designs – which can still be seen in the city’s older neighborhoods of Old Belleville District: Hexenbukel and Oakland, as well as their talents in beer brewing. At one time, there were as many as seven breweries in Belleville. German influences in law, journalism, education, science and industry were strong then and are still evident today.

Other advances began to make a more civilized and productive life for Belleville residents. The fire brigade was organized in 1840, and gas lighting was first introduced in 1856. During the 1850s, paving of city streets began.

Founded in 1867 as the German Library Society, the Belleville Public Library is one of Illinois’ oldest continuous subscription libraries. It began with German immigrants donating their books, which are still part of the collection today. The St. Clair County Genealogical Society is now responsible for maintaining ancestral records, genealogical publications and family histories at the library. By 1870, an estimated 90 percent of the city’s population was German – immigrants were graduates of and professors from German universities who came to be known as Die Lateiner or “Latin Farmers.” They began a German language newspaper and an organization for vocal music.

Meeting regularly in one another’s homes, they discussed and shared ideas. One of the Illinois’ first public school systems, including the first kindergarten, and the Belleville Philharmonic Society began because of the strong emphasis they placed on education and the arts.

One of the major industries in Belleville was stove casting for heating and cooking stoves. The first stoves arrived in 1834, and soon the Enterprise and Empire foundries were in operation. From the late 1800s to the 1940s, the city was known as the “Stove Capital of the World.” The first enameled stove was made here, and the “Jacketed Stove” was invented here. As the city prospered, the first street railway appeared in 1874, and electric lighting came in 1891.

Today, Belleville’s Labor and Industry Museum preserves the history of the city’s business beginnings. Photographs, artifacts, historical documents and products from the Industrial Revolution are housed in the restored Charles Bornman house. Bornman was a Blacksmith, strawberry farmer and brickmaker. Originally built in the German Klassizimus style, the house was 1.5 stories with gabled side walls and a cornice of brickwork across the front.

Among its many displays, one of the museum’s prize artifacts is “Jumbo,” the Harrison steam engine. The Belleville Heritage Society and the Belleville Historic Preservation Commission are dedicated to maintaining the German influences and architectural treasures of the city.

The St. Clair County Historical Society was established in 1905. It has restored two house museums that are open to the public. Victorian Home Museum is an example of an 1866 Greek Revival home with mid-19th-century furnishings. The society’s research library and gift shop, along with its offices, are located here. Emma Kunz Home Museum is a restored 1830s home, modeled after the 19th-century German street homes built in Europe. Furnished with antiques from the period, it is the oldest brick home in Illinois. The Society’s latest restoration project is the 1852 Gustave Koerner Home, which will also become a museum. Koerner was the first German-American elected to the Illinois Legislature and was elected in 1852 as Illinois’ Lieutenant Governor. He was also a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln.

The Belleville Historic Preservation Commission began in 1972, and one of its earliest accomplishments was having more than 700 of Belleville’s commercial, industrial and residential sites on the National Register of Historic Places. This continues to be one of Illinois’ largest historic districts. The commission is responsible for reviewing all exterior changes in the city’s historic districts and identifying and working to preserve places, areas and buildings with special historical, cultural or aesthetic interest.

The diversity of Belleville’s history and its impact as a center for education, industry and culture since the early 19th century are symbolized well in the Belleville City Flag. Designed in 1964 as part of Belleville’s sesquicentennial celebration, its colors are symbolic of the city’s strengths. Black represents the rich soil. Yellow shows the mineral wealth. Green symbolizes agriculture. White is indicative of culture and plenty. The posthorn stands for the blend of Old World pioneers who settled here and the city’s musical heritage.

Living in Belleville

From the historic districts to new subdivisions, Belleville has it all when it comes to housing.

The architecture of many older homes in Belleville reflects the city’s German ancestry. Many Belleville residents enjoy the older neighborhood’s simple brick cottages, that feature an architectural style known locally as “German street house.” Other brick structures in Belleville’s historic neighborhoods embrace established architectural styles such as Greek Revival, Italianate, French Second Empire, Gothic Revival, Queen Anne, and American Foursquare. The Belleville National Register Historic District includes over 700 properties and provides residents and visitors alike an opportunity to view one of Illinois’ finest examples of mature 19th-century neighborhoods.

If you prefer new construction, there are houses available in every shape and size, in established neighborhoods and in new developments. The average home price in Belleville is from $100,000 to $150,000, with some neighborhoods reaching average prices into the $300,000 range and higher.

Many people who work in St. Louis, choose to live in Belleville. They have found that they can buy more house for their money and the commute time is shorter than from the western suburbs.


Belleville enjoys a strong business community. Home to several major manufacturers including Empire Comfort Systems, The ROHO Group and TerraSource Global, plus two major hospitals and numerous retail stores, banks, restaurants, and office buildings – Belleville is a strong economic force in the St Louis Metro East.

Scott Air Force Base also plays a major role in the city’s economy, employing over 13,000 people just miles away from Belleville.

Belleville Area Top Employers

1. Scott Air Force Base1 3,002
2. Memorial Hospital 2,308
3. Southwestern Illinois College 1,856
4. St. Elizabeth Hospital 1,353
5. St. Clair County 989
6. School District #118 620
7. Allsup 500
8. City of Belleville 485
9. School District #201 455
10. Missionary Oblates 450
11. Walmart 391
12. Empire Comfort Systems 290
13. Dental Network of America 270
14. Ameren 264
15. First Student 260
16. Eckert’s Orchards 250
17. The ROHO Group 242
18. Caritas Family Solutions 229
19. Lindenwood University 227
20. McDonald’s 208
21. Illinois American Water 205
22. Shop N Save 188
23. Schnucks 185
24. Belleville News-Democrat 180
25. Belleville Shoe Company 175

Scott Air Force Base

Scott Field was established on June 14, 1917. It is named after Corporal Frank Scott, the first enlisted person killed in an aviation crash. It is the only Air Force installation named after an enlisted Airman. The decision to name the aviation site after Corporal Scott is a lasting tribute to those who lost their lives during the early years of the military aviation.

Scott Field was one of the first aviation stations built as part of the nation’s World War I effort. The 11th and 21st Aero Squadrons of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service arrived from Kelly Field, Texas, on Aug. 12, 1917.

On Aug. 24, 1918, an aviator with a broken leg became Scott’s first air evacuated patient. This early aeromedical evacuation mission was just the beginning of what would eventually become a primary role for Scott.

In 1921, the Secretary of War authorized building a lighter-than-air (LTA) station on Scott Field. With approval, and $1.25 million in funding, the Air Service set about making Scott Field into the first inland airship port in the nation.

Scott Field needed many new facilities to accommodate its new balloon/airship mission. The most notable addition was the new airship hangar. Constructed between Sept. 1921 and Jan. 1923, it was three blocks long, nearly one block wide and 15 stories high. One report commented that 100,000 men — nearly the entire U.S. Army in 1923 — could have stood in formation inside it. Scott’s hangar was second in size only to the naval station hangar in Lake-hurst, N.J., the largest one in the world at the time.

With the outbreak of World War II, Scott Field reverted back to its former role as a training installation. On June 1, 1939, one of Scott’s Balloon Groups was redesignated as a headquarters unit of the Scott Field Branch of the Army Air Corps Technical Schools. Subsequently, various technical schools moved to Scott. The arrival of the Radio School on Sept. 19, 1940, marked the beginning of Scott Field’s communication training-era. On Jan. 13, 1948, Scott Field was redesignated as Scott Air Force Base.

Scott has gone through many, many changes over the years, in size, infrastructure, and mission. Today, Scott AFB supports; U.S. Transportation Command, Air Mobility Command, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, Air Force Network Integration Center, Defense Systems Information Agency CONUS, Eighteenth Air Force, 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center, 375th Air Mobility Wing, 635th Supply Chain Management Wing, 126th Air Refueling Wing (ANG), 932nd Airlift Wing (AFRC) and more than 50 other associate partners. Together, they make up Team Scott–one team cooperating to enable combat power for our Air Force and its combatant commanders!

– Compiled by the 375th Air Mobility Wing Historian Office



Bellevue Park is Belleville’s first park. It sits on 27 beautiful acres on the west end of Belleville near Memorial Hospital. The park offers a tranquil, three-acre fishing lake and gentle rolling terrain that also serves as a picturesque site for small outdoor weddings. It’s also home to Belleville’s Angel of Hope Memorial Garden and Camp Quackers, a summer day-camp run by Belleville Parks & Recreation.

Bicentennial Park is Belleville’s newest park. It consists of 43 beautiful wooded acres and a number of ponds. It was developed and named in honor of the City of Belleville’s 200th Anniversary in 2014. The Kimball Plaza area of the park features a “wedding-like” gazebo, restroom, playground, an art sculpture by Andrew Carson, ADA fishing pier, native plant garden, fountain, nature trails and a lighted parking lot.

Citizens Park is Belleville’s largest park. Citizens is a recreational park with two large lighted softball diamonds and a first class baseball field named for Whitey Herzog, which serves as the home field for the American Legion and Althoff High School Baseball Teams. In addition to the ball diamonds at Citizens Park, the park also offers bicycle ramps, along with other recreational amenities. Two modular playgrounds for children and three picnic shelters are available for family picnics.

East End Park offers a lighted tennis court for exercise after work, school or dinner. A playground is conveniently located next to the tennis court. East End has horseshoe courts and an area large enough for a softball game.

Hough Park is Belleville’s Picnic Headquarters. A part of the Richland Creek Greenway Trail and Sculpture Walk cuts through the western and northern sections of the park. A large hexagon-shaped shelter with brick patios in the center of the park serves as its main focal point and is excellent for group events. A modular playground and horseshoe courts are adjacent to the shelter for a friendly game of ringers.

Laderman Park offers 22 acres of excitement. Two lighted softball diamonds, a lighted soccer field, volleyball courts, horseshoe courts, basketball court, picnic shelters, and modular playground equipment for children are all available for family enjoyment. A one-mile walking trail with fitness stations provides a fantastic opportunity to achieve physical and mental health. Thickly wooded areas of the park provide a home to many squirrels and a variety of birds.

North End Park presents the perfect location to spend a quiet lunch break. Other features include a soccer field, playground and horseshoe courts. The park is at the Richland Creek Greenway Trail’s north end.

Optimist Park features beautiful art sculptures. This linear park is just the ticket for a leisurely stroll along Richland Creek taking in some of nature’s best plants and animal life found along the creek. This is an excellent outdoor educational setting for anyone interested in nature.

Pleasant Hill Park is ideal for family reunions or company picnics with two large picnic shelters available for rental. You can play off your picnic dinner with a set of tennis under the lights or a softball game on two lighted ball diamonds. You can also try your hand at horseshoes while the children play on one of the two playground structures close by. There’s also a small walking trail featured at this nice, quiet park in the heart of town.

Rotary Park, a gift from the Belleville Rotary Club, is the center point of the Richland Creek Greenway Trail and Sculpture Walk where you can see “Star,” the largest art sculpture in Belleville. This park specializes in leisure recreation. The large picnic shelter close to the parking lot is a great spot for downtown office workers to enjoy a sack lunch break.

Skateboard Park brings out the daredevil in those who take the challenge. The parks director included skaters in on the design and construction process and gave them what they wanted, a challenging, fun and safe place to sharpen their skating skills.

South Side Park provides a two-acre lake for you and your family to stroll around, go fishing or feed the ducks. On warm summer evenings you can catch an exciting softball game or tournament under the lights. South Side Park also has picnic facilities and playground equipment available for family fun and is the southern end of the Richland Creek Greenway Trail.

Ever & Anon Park is a quaint little park in downtown Belleville. The beautiful gazebo with the rose garden backdrop is an excellent place to hold an outdoor wedding. Reservations for such events are handled through the Parks and Recreation office.

West End Square Mini Park features a beautiful rose garden. Volunteers from the Belleville Area Rose Society tend to the garden and are responsible for this beautiful display of roses. West End Square served as the public square for West Belleville from 1852 to 1882 and that’s how the park got its name.

Dawn Heights Mini-Park proves that great things come in small packages. This mini-park is designed for maximum use by neighborhood children. Totally fenced to provide protection for the kids and peace of mind for parents, the park has a modular playground structure and an open area for a game of tag. It’s a great place for children to make new friends and have hours of fun.

Cambridge Park is Belleville’s gift to its children. This park features a playground arena sure to make any child smile. The park offers several slides, a mini climbing wall, swings and bridges. The park even provides the comfort of swinging benches so the parents can relax while they observe their children’s excitement.

For more information on any of Belleville’s parks or the many programs offered by Parks & Recreation, visit the city’s website at

Other recreation opportunities

In addition to the many parks, the Belleville area offers many other ways to stay active.

Fitness centers include Club Exhilaration, Flipmode Fysique, Kings Point Sports Club and two Gateway Region YMCA facilities, one downtown Belleville and one on the east end of town. For yoga and other stress relief remedies, Stillpointe Wellness Center is the place to go.

Belleville also has an annual marathon, Belleville Main Street Marathon, in September. It is a full marathon that is a Boston Marathon qualifier. For more information about the marathon, visit