Known as the “Festival Arts City,” there is always something going on in Mt. Vernon. From live musical entertainment to gallery openings, Mt. Vernon is the place for the artist in  all of us. Check out our calendar on our newly recreated website:  www.enjoymtvernon.com for complete calendar listings, which are sortable by date or type of event!

Some highlights each year include:

Midwestern Herb & Garden Show, which features more than 50 exhibitors with fresh herbs, dried flower arrangements, books, wood-carving, garden art and more. Free admission includes complimentary classes and seminars. Call (618) 242-3151 for more information.

Annual Heartland Hook & Bullet Outdoor Expo. Whether you are an expert gamer or a seasonal novice, vendors will have something for you! Equipment testing, educational seminars, fun and prizes will be available. Call (618) 242-3151 for more information.

Southern Illinois Steel Guitar Show which features some of the best steel guitar players in the world as well as amateur players. For additional information, call (618) 218-2517.

July 4th Salute to Freedom is always held on July 4 at the Mt. Vernon Outland Airport. Food vendors, entertainment, kid zone, fireworks and more. Free to attend.

AirVenture Cup Race comes to Mt. Vernon every other year and 2017 is the year! Join us mid-July to cheer on the participants in this cross-country air race with a variety of air classes. Visit www.airventurecuprace.com or call (618) 242-7016 for more information.

Cedarhurst Center for the Arts is the place to be for the 41st Annual Cedarhurst Arts & Craft Fair. After a special preview party on Friday night, the fair is open from 10 am to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. More than 100 exhibitors from throughout the country will be on hand to demonstrate and sell crafts. Each year crafters bring jewelry, metal work, pottery and more for collectors to enjoy and purchase. Live entertainment can be found in the beer tent and a huge children’s area is tons of fun for your littles. Admission $5 adults, children under 12 free. Hotel packages are available for this event. Call (618) 242-1236 for more information.

Midwest Light Sport Aircraft Expo at the Mt. Vernon Outland Airport. The event was created to sell LSA’s, LSA Ancillary Equipment and LSA related services, but everyone enjoys visiting and learning about the aircraft technology. For more information, call (618) 242-7016.

Cedarhurst again opens its gates as the host of Ironclad Art: The Motorcycle. You’ll see firsthand why our slogan is “Creativity: Redefined!” when you see the works of art found in more than 100 bikes from all makes, models and generations! For more information, call (618) 242-1236.

Fall Fest is celebrated in the streets of downtown Mt. Vernon.
Live music, free kid zone, the DMDC Cruise In & Car Show,
vendors marketplace, amazing food court, a 100+ entry parade, 5K race and more! For more information contact (618) 242-3151.

The Heritage Festival at the Jefferson County Historical Village is a interactive take on history. See how a blacksmith works, grind some corn, listen to folk music and enjoy the sites. Free admission. For more information, call (618) 246-0033.

Balloons Over Mt. Vernon, Fly-In and Veteran’s Reunion will be held at Mt. Vernon Outland Airport in mid October. The event includes War birds, aircraft, hot air balloons, a car show, kid zone, vendors, food, RC boat races and more. Balloon Glows each evening are a beautiful way to end a southern Illinois day.

The Annual Downtown Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting on Main Street in Mt. Vernon is the first Saturday of December. Festivities kick off at 5 p.m. with the parade from 7th Street to the big tree at 13th Street where there will be signing, games and more for all ages. Don’t forget to visit Santa’s Cottage by the Courthouse while you are here. For more information, call (618) 242-3151.

Visit www.enjoymtvernon.com for a complete listing of festivals and events in Mt. Vernon where we are living Creativity Redefined! through our passions in life!


Jefferson County is home to many annual events and festivals, interactive historic landmarks, outdoor recreation adventures, and things to do for visitors and locals alike. Whether you’re enjoying street festivals in downtown Mt. Vernon, hiking, biking or horseback riding trails in Rend Lake’s Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park, or making a splash in Mt. Vernon’s Aquatic Zoo waterpark – this county is more than an interstate intersection, it’s the original heart of Southern Illinois. With rich history in the beginnings of the State of Illinois, our community has transformed over the centuries and is now a thriving hub for many facets of life from our roots in manufacturing to an ever-growing arts culture with one common thread throughout our history – creative innovation.

Mt. Vernon Visitors Center

The Mt. Vernon Convention and Visitors Bureau is located at 200 Potomac Blvd., just west of the I-57/I64 exit 95. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Located inside the Visitors Center is a unique gift shop called Made in Mt. Vernon. Made in Mt. Vernon features unique gifts made by local artists. Visit www.enjoymtvernon.com or call (800) 252-5464 for more information or to request a visitor’s guide.


Throughout Jefferson County, recreation is ample. The Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park is a mecca for outdoor recreation enthusiasts with water sports, horseback riding, picnicking, hiking, bird watching, wildlife observation and photography, fishing, boating, skiing and more. Overlooking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s 19,000 acre Rend Lake Reservoir, Wayne Fitgerrell State Park and Rend Lake is boasted as Southern Illinois’ biggest outdoor playground.

Jaycee Lake, on the outskirts of Mt. Vernon, is a beautiful place to relax with boating, fishing and breathtaking scenery. Veteran’s Park, situated in the heart of Mt. Vernon, is more than your average park with a memorial to Veterans from all U.S. conflicts located at the park entrance. The park also offers basketball courts, six lighted tennis courts, playgrounds, horseshoe and washer pits, walking paths, picnic facilities, and a community building available to rent for events and meetings. For more information, call (618) 242-6890.

The inaugural Mt. Vernon Community Gardens will be planted in 2017 at Veterans Park and serves as a hub of activity for novice and master gardeners alike.

Bicycle trails can be found throughout Mt. Vernon. Hop on anywhere to enjoy the ride, but we suggest starting near Cedarhurst Center for the Arts or Veterans Park. If you’d like a different type of adventure, check out R & J Lazer Tag just off Illinois Highway 15 in Woodlawn. With private parties or open play, memories are sure to be made in the Southern Illinois woods playing laser tag with your friends or family. Nu Bowl Lanes in Mt. Vernon offers league play for all ages, open bowling, and numerous special events. An arcade, lounge with gaming, and restaurant round out the requirements to make this a fun outing for the whole family.

In addition to Veterans Park, the Mt. Vernon Parks and Recreation Department oversees numerous other parks, including Lincoln Park. Lincoln Park offers a four-field complex for baseball and softball events as well as a soccer field and the Aquatic Zoo Water Park.

Archway RV Park is a family-owned and operated campground.
They have full hookup pull-through sites and back-in sites for the big RVs and some tent sites for the little campers. They boast clean showers and a laundromat along with a playground, fishing pond and dump station on-site.

For the golf enthusiast, Green Hills Golf Club in Mt. Vernon is widely considered to be one of the finest golf facilities in southern Illinois. Offering a beautiful and challenging layout combined with a friendly country club atmosphere, the course has an abundance of  trees, natural creeks and large lakes to create unique playing conditions. Also in Mt. Vernon, Indian Hills Golf Club offers a picturesque course for 18 holes as well. Both clubs are open to the public and have memberships available.

Broadway Market & Rec Center

Broadway Market is located at 205 S. 7th Street in downtown Mt. Vernon. Renovations to transform the market to a multi-purpose recreational facility and venue will begin in 2017, with outdoor events continuing through the 2017 season like normal. The market is home to Mt. Vernon Market Days, a free outdoor flea market and vendor fair held on the first Saturday of each month from May to October running from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and hosts vendors from across Southern Illinois to sell just about everything from locally grown produce to handmade jewelry. It’s also home to Friday’s Food & Art, a weekly buy local market that runs every Friday in the evening from June 2 to Sept. 1 and features local-only products like locally grown produce and plants and handmade jewelry, as well as events including live entertainment, local beer and wine, great food and activities. By 2018 the venue will host indoor markets, tradeshows, recreation tournaments and more. For more information, call (618) 242-3151.

Aquatic Zoo Water Park

The Aquatic Zoo is an outdoor water park located on South 24th Street in Lincoln Park. It includes two slides with a monkey themed water dumping bucket, zebra, giraffe and animal sound and light themes geysers, a lazy river, zero-depth entry leisure pool, an enclosed body flume slide, and an enclosed tube slide. The park also includes a 25 meter, six-lane lap pool with two diving boards that is in a separate section from the slides and lazy river and splash pad. For pricing, season passes or more information, call (618) 242-6890 or visit www.aquaticzoo.org.

Cedarhurst Center for the Arts

Cedarhurst Center for the Arts has achieved accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums, the highest national recognition afforded the nation’s museums. Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, to governments, funders, outside agencies, and to the museum-going public. The United States has an estimated 35,000 museums, and only a little over 1,000 are currently accredited.

Cedarhurst Center for the Arts, an activity of the John R. and Eleanor R. Mitchell Foundation, is a private, nonprofit arts organization established in 1973. The museum is best known for its significant collection of late 19th and early 20th century American paintings, exhibitions featuring regional and international artists, a 90-acre sculpture park featuring over 60 works of art, extensive art education opportunities both on campus and in regional schools, and an annual Art & Craft Fair held each September since 1977. They also host art classes and programs, live performances and Thursday Night Live! a summer program with great food, entertainment and activities. The Cedarhurst campus is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Thursdays between Memorial Day and Labor Day, it is open until 8 pm. Find more information about art exhibits and programs at Cedarhurst at www.cedarhurst.org or call (618) 212-1236.

Jefferson County Historical Village

Located on North 27th Street, the Jefferson County Historical Village is picturesque with two log cabins, the first log jail in the county, a one-room school, medical building, newspaper and print shop, blacksmith shop, log church, general store, gift shop, a nature trail, history museum and Interpretive Center. For more information, contact (618) 246-0033.

Jefferson County Hall of Honor & Col. R. D. White Veterans Museum

The Jefferson County Hall of Honor, Col. R.D. White Veterans Museum and Jefferson County Heroes Memorial are permanent memorials dedicated to area veterans on display inside the Koziara Terminal and outside at Mt. Vernon Outland Airport. The Hall of Honor is an ongoing, collaborative effort that complements the other area veteran’s memorials in that each veteran’s service history is preserved for future generations to see. “Just like the service of each veteran, no two tributes are identical. Each one has a different story to tell,” said Chris Collins, airport director. The Veterans Museum features authentic vintage uniforms, weapons, munitions, K-rations, era newspapers, magazines and letters from home from the Civil War to current conflicts. The Jefferson County Heroes Memorial honors the local family members, friend and neighbors who sacrificed their tomorrows for our todays.

Hall hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week and the museum is open every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or by appointment. Call (618) 242-7016 for more information.


Mount Vernon, known as “Festival Arts City,” is the county seat of Jefferson County, Illinois. The population was 15,277 at the 2010 census.

19th Century

Mt. Vernon was founded in 1817 by Zadok Casey and incorporated as a city in 1819. Casey was elected to the State Senate in 1822 and was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1833. He served in the U.S. Congress between 1833 and 1843. The town was named for George Washington’s plantation, Mount Vernon, which was named for Edward Vernon, a British naval hero.

After the state capitol was moved to Vandalia in 1819, it became apparent that a road to Vandalia was needed. After the Vandalia Road was built, Mt. Vernon was “on the map” and was officially incorporated as a city in the State of Illinois. The bridge across Casey Creek and the Vandalia Road provided a much shorter path across Jefferson County than the original Goshen Road. The new Goshen Road soon captured most of the traffic, and Mt. Vernon became an important stop on the road west.

In 1848, the Illinois Supreme Court was relocated to Mt. Vernon at what is currently 14th and Main streets. The 5th District Appellate Court was constructed in 1854 according to the National Register of Historic Places and is still in use as the Appellate Court House. When the Supreme Court was in session, the important lawyers in Illinois, including Abraham Lincoln, gathered in Mt. Vernon to argue their cases. The lawyers gathered at the Mt. Vernon Inn, owned by Angus McNeil Grant and his in-laws, the Andersons. This building has been on the National Register of Historic Places since July 2, 1973.

On Feb. 19, 1888, a tornado cut a path a half-mile wide through Mt. Vernon, killing 37 people and destroying more than 450 houses. The Jefferson County Courthouse was destroyed. This event was one of the first disasters to which the American Red Cross responded. Clara Barton herself directed the relief efforts.

In the late 1890s and early 1900s, Citizens Gas, Electric & Heating Company brought electricity, gas and running water to Mt. Vernon. However, rural homes and farms were without electricity until 1939 when Tri-County Electric Cooperative was formed under the Rural Electrification Act and erected power lines and furnished electricity to the area.

The Mt. Vernon Car Manufacturing Company opened in 1889 after moving from Litchfield, Illinois. This relocation may have been an outgrowth of the relief efforts following the tornado. The Louisville and Nashville Railroad hauled in some 1,900 carloads of supplies for reconstruction of the town. Somehow, this effort translated into a major business building railroad cars, at first building about 10 cars per day. By 1909, the car shops were producing 25 cars per day, employing more than 1,000 workers, with a payroll of $60,000 per month.

20th & 21st Centuries

The Great Depression of the 1930s, the worst economic downturn in U.S. history, had a large impact on the nation and Jefferson County. In President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” programs were developed to help small businesses, banks, and farms and to provide jobs. Jefferson County reaped the benefits of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) that hired local individuals to work in the nations parks and forest to help protect the land. Mt. Vernon hosted a CCC camp where the current Country Heights subdivision is located. This location later became a U.S. Army camp for training military police during World War II. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) hired the unemployed
and the Public Works Administration (PWA) financed road and building projects. In Mt. Vernon, these programs helped build City Hall and several original Mt. Vernon Township High School buildings.

During World War II, portions of the “car shops,” as they had to come to be known, were converted over to wartime production, including the production of bomb casings. Around 1939, a portion of the car shops was purchased by Precision Engineering, which originally built components for locomotives. During the 1970s, this company purchased old diesel/electric railroad locomotives, which it scrapped out or refurbished. Today, the plant thrives as a hub for National Railway Equipment Company that rebuilds and services diesel electric locomotives for rail lines across the globe. Ironically, the facility is poised to again become one of the area’s largest employers as sales of its innovative hybrid locomotives fuel plant expansion to include another facility across town.

In 1954, the car shops closed, causing a temporary jump in unemployment throughout the city and the 108 communities called “home” by its former employees.

The Interstate Highway System was built in the late 1950s and 1960s. The concurrency of I-57 and I-64 is along the western border of the ridgeline which divides the Big Muddy River and Casey Creek. The stack interchange on the southwest side of town complements the historic Casey Creek bridges, allowing much shorter travel times through the swamps to the east and south.

In April 2007, Mount Vernon voters elected the first female mayor of the city, Mary Jane Chesley. She was sworn into office on May 7, 2007.


The ease of access to multiple modes transportation is one of Jefferson County’s greatest strengths. Its central location versus national markets, the nations’ transportation system and the development of the location to service multiple modes of transportation are vital to the continued growth of Jefferson County.

Located in the heart of southern Illinois, Jefferson County has multiple Interstate exits on I-57 and I-64. Some highway access from Jefferson County includes:

Interstate 57LocalNorth/South
Interstate 64LocalEast/West
Interstate 7065 miles northEast/West

via I-57
Interstate 2451 miles southEast/West

via I-57
State Route 37LocalNorth/South
State Route 15LocalEast/West
State Route 148LocalNorth/South
State Route 142LocalNorthwest/Southwest

Another key component making Jefferson County a hub of transportation is its world-class airport. The Mt. Vernon Outland Airport has a 6,500-foot main runway, fixed base operation, terminal building and storage hangers. Charter and private aviation services are provided as well as refueling. The facility offers Shell 100 and Jet A fuels, a pilot lounge with weight and exercise room, shower and snooze rooms, wireless internet in the terminal, complimentary refreshments, courtesy shuttle, as well as overnight hangar reservations. Other commercial air service within 90 miles include Lambert International Airport-St. Louis, Mid America Airport-Mascoutah and Williamson County Airport-Marion.

Not to be outdone, the rail industry in Jefferson County and southern Illinois is thriving and a major component in logistics for North America. Mt. Vernon sits at the unique junction of three Class 1 Railroads, the UP, CSX and NS, as well as BNSF and Evansville Western, giving companies the opportunity to move their materials and goods east and west from one location.

Jefferson County is also just 45 minutes from East St. Louis, Illinois, the nations’ No. 2 rail hub, and passenger services are available within 30 miles through Amtrak.

Motor freight also plays an extensive role in moving Jefferson County forward. Local distribution is alive and well with manufacturers like Continental Tire, Everbrite Neon Sign, Walgreens Distribution Center and NAPA. Trucking companies include UPS Freight, FedEx Freight, Overnite Transportation and Direct Motor Freight, as well as other local companies including Prologistics, Midwestern Transit, Road Dog Drivers and more.

For companies that require more than road, air and rail transport, inland port facilities are available within 1 ½ hours of Jefferson County on both the Ohio and the Mississippi Rivers.

Jefferson County, Illinois, is uniquely positioned to be a transporta-tion hub for not only the Midwest, but also for all of North America.


Mt. Vernon, Illinois, in Jefferson County, is situated at the crossroads of Interstate Highways 57 and 64, just one hour east of St. Louis, Missouri and one hour west of Evansville, Indiana. The north/south, east/west access to over 66 percent of the United States gives Mt. Vernon a premier location for manufacturing.

Manufacturing got its start in Mt. Vernon back in the early 1940s when the Mt. Vernon “Car Shops” produced thousands of railway cars and railroad equipment for the nation. Over the years the products have changed, but the talented workforce and productivity of the people has not.

Mt. Vernon is the Southern Illinois manufacturing hub with Continental Tire, National Railway, Magnum Steel Works, InnoTech Manufacturing, Nutherm International, Inc., Everbrite Neon Sign and Phoenix Modular Elevator leading the list of prominent employers. Bennett Metal Products and Schulte Industries, Inc. also contribute to the list of manufacturers in Mt. Vernon.

Continental Tire the Americas, LLC currently has 150 acres of manufacturing under roof with current expansions of another 300,000 square feet in the planning and construction phases. With 2,392 employees, CTA is the anchor of manufacturers in Jefferson County. CTA produces approximately 13.4 million PLT (passenger) tires and 3.15 million CVT (truck and utility vehicle) tires per year. CTA is a top line manufacturer utilizing robotics and modernization techniques where applicable.

National Railway Equipment Co. (NRE), headquartered in Mt. Vernon, is employee-owned and a global leader in the rail, marine and power industries. Offering engineering solutions around the globe, NRE – Locomotive is the world’s largest independent supplier of locomotive services, new and remanufactured locomotives, locomotive leasing, field services, parts and salvage operations serving Class 1, regional, short line, government and industrial railroads around the globe.

Magnum Steel Works Corp has been in business since 2005 and has grown from a 12,000-square-foot building to a 34,000-square-foot facility and now to a new state-of-the-art 128,000-square-foot facility on the west side of Mt. Vernon. Magnum Steel Works specializes in high quality machine works for manufacturing and the coal mining industries including: heavy fabrication, sheet metal fabrication, manual and CNC Machining MIG and TIG welding waterjet cutting, laser cutting, turret punch, rebuild services and CNC press brakes. The focus has been to adapt to projects that come through the door and add equipment that will help produce projects at the highest efficiency possible.

InnoTech Manufacturing, LLC (ITM) is a versatile, creative metals manufacturing company. With more than 70 combined years in the manufacturing and construction industries, the principles of InnoTech have consistently made innovations which save time and resources for the various construction trades. ITM specializes in MIG/TIG welding, plasma cutting, press brakes and custom CNC folding of many products. InnoTech performs their own powder coating of all finished products. In addition, ITM is an UltraLox dealer and manufactures aluminum railings for commercial and residential projects across the nation.

Nutherm International, Inc. is an innovative company committed to delivering world-class solutions to the commercial nuclear power industry and the Department of Energy that meet the demands of the 21st century while providing unprecedented levels of service. Established in 1979, Nutherm’s 1E products have evolved to include electrical power distribution equipment, control and instrumentation panels, instruments and instrumentation systems and over 8,000 qualified parts and assemblies. While Nutherm remains committed to the nuclear power industry, they have expanded their markets to include heavily-engineered, custom-built, electrical panels, instrument panels and distribution equipment for non-safety related applications. They provide risk management solutions that create financial returns for their customers and manufacturing partners.

Everbrite Neon Sign has been designing and manufacturing point-of-purchase signs, displays and outdoor identity systems since 1927. Everbrite has progressed to become a global leader in visual identification and LED lighting. As a world leader in the visual branding and identity industry, Everbrite services A-list companies throughout the world in markets including automotive, brewery, convenience stores, medical, retail petroleum and quick-services restaurants, to name a few. Everbrite’s dedication to excellence and innovation as well as world-class care for their customers has made them one of the brightest choices in the business.

Phoenix Modular Elevator (PME) is the largest producer of quality, commercial modular elevators in the world, with a 20-year international track record. PME elevators are manufactured elevators, meaning the hoist-way and the elevator car are built together as one unit, ready for installation. PME delivers high-quality, commercial elevators in less time and with a faster installation than the out-of-date, stick-built alternative. Once the complete elevator arrives on-site, it is craned into place, and the installer connects it to power and performs final testing and adjusting. With power connected, the elevator can be fully functional and ready for inspection in less than one week.

Bennett Metal Products, Inc. is a second-generation, family-owned, ISO-certified shop offering multi-axis CNC precision milling and turning, product prototyping, mechanical and electrical assembly, welding, waterjet cutting, conventional machining, short-run production, tool & die building and testing. Over the last five decades, Bennett Metal Products, Inc. has been committed to becoming one of the finest precision job shops in the Midwest and has experienced continuous and steady growth. Around-the-clock operation, combined with their central location and access to major interstate and trucking lines, enables them to ship products quickly and economically anywhere in the Continental United States.

Schulte Industries, Inc. does contract industrial sewing applications. Schulte designs and produces most renewable packaging needs along with internal packing concerns.

Economic Development

The Jefferson County Development Corporation (JCDC) is a proactive force in the county that implements strategies to attract, maintain and develop business in the community and consists as a partnership of private industry, local and state government, local and state agencies, education, cultural entities and faith-based organization. This partnership provides a resourceful and flexible environment to meet ever changing economic demands.

There has been ongoing progress in Jefferson County, with a big boost since 2009 due to more than $1 billion in expansions and new development. Collaboration between municipal and county government and the JCDC has been key to ensuring the process of development is both efficient and effective. Each of the region’s targeted markets, including manufacturing, health care, distribution, retail and hospitality, has experienced growth.

Location has been a key part of the equation for the county’s success with convenient transportation via highway, rail and air. Almost one-third of the nation’s top 50 metropolitan areas are within 500 miles of Jefferson County. Two trans-loading facilities provide access to four of the train lines that run through Jefferson County. One is located at Milano Railway Logistics in Mt. Vernon, which serves the NS, UP and Evansville-Western short-line. The other is in Bluford, operated by Bridgewell Resources and serving the CN line.

Its strategic location, history of manufacturing and solid regional workforce have attracted several companies, making Jefferson County the jobs capital of Southern Illinois. In 2016, the State of Illinois announced the approval of an Enterprise Zone to serve portions of Jefferson County, including almost all of the non-residential property in Mt. Vernon, and portions of the villages of Dix and Waltonville, replacing a zone that expired in the same year. State benefits include a utility tax credit and investment tax credit that benefit large corporations. But the major incentives are provided locally, with property tax abatement available for up to 10 years for qualified projects. A sales tax rebate on building materials is also available. There are only 67 Enterprise Zones statewide with 15 more to be awarded in 2017.

Another critical tool that has driven area development for years in Jefferson County is the tax increment finance (TIF) district. Mt. Vernon has three TIF districts; one in our downtown and two more to assist with development on the east and west sides of exits 94 and 95, serving the I-57/I-64 corridor. TIF is a versatile economic development tool that makes the annual increase in taxable value available for qualified development assistance while preserving the base value for all participating taxing jurisdictions. TIF has been responsible for providing more than 40 percent in assistance to area businesses.

With new and renovated retail, expanding manufacturing, thriving freight and logistics businesses and available incentives on more than 2,000 acres of land, Jefferson County provides tremendous value add for your next development project. We welcome you to join in our success.


Education is a vital part of a growing, productive community and in Jefferson County education is woven into the fabric of every day life. Represented by a variety of school districts, Jefferson County schools include three pre-K-12 unit districts, one 9-12 high school, 10 K-8 grade school districts, one Pre-K-8 school, one parochial pre-K-4, and three K-12 parochial schools.

Mt. Vernon, the largest city in the county, features a newly constructed state-of-the-art high school with a campus that features quality use of technology, up-to-date science labs, a fully programmed Career and Technical Educational Department, a professional level performance theatre and expansive athletic facilities. Students from 11 different grade schools feed into Mt. Vernon Township High School.

One of those feeder schools, Mt. Vernon City Schools, provides a challenging educational program by serving students at the Dr. Andy Hall Early Childhood Center, the Dr. Nick Osborne Primary Center, the J. L. Buford Intermediate Education Center and the Zadok Casey Middle School. Mt. Vernon City Schools have become technology leaders in education by assigning computers to every third through eighth grade student.

Several other K-8 grade feeder schools cover the Jefferson County countryside and each school is strongly supported by their community. The schools’ athletic programs, music programs, and parent-teacher organizations help support a strong academic environment and keep the members of the community involved in school events.

The villages of Bluford, Waltonville and Woodlawn are Pre-K-12 districts. These communities boast of their challenging academic programs, and they thrive in the high involvement of the parents and community members in their schools. These schools highlight a unique learning experience with small class sizes and increased student-teacher relationships.

Parochial schools in Jefferson County include Coram Deo Classical School, St. Mary’s Parochial School and Victory Christian Academy and Mt. Vernon Christian School.

All the Jefferson County high schools are heavily supported by the local junior college, Rend Lake College. Students may receive dual-credit (high school and college credit) for some classes at their high school to aid in college preparations and cost savings. Rend Lake offers more than 100 distinct associate degrees as well as occupational certificate programs. Their programs provide high quality instruction at a fraction of the cost of a four-year university. Rend Lake College has been recognized for outstanding service to its community.

Jefferson County is served by the Clinton-Jefferson-Marion-Washington Counties Regional Office of Education. For questions or additional information about area schools, visit the ROE website at www.roe13.org.

Health Care

There are many reasons that Jefferson County is one of the progressive counties in the Southern Illinois region. Keeping its citizens and others in the region healthy is at the top of the list.

Jefferson County is the only county outside the St. Louis market in Southern Illinois that can boast of two major hospitals located in its largest town, Mt. Vernon.

Crossroads Community Hospital is a 47-bed hospital that is a part of the network with hospitals in Marion, Union County, Red Bud and Granite City. Crossroads has been a part of the community for  more than 30 years.

SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital – Mt. Vernon is a 134-bed hospital in the SSM Health network that has 20 hospitals in Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. Although the building and location are new, the hospital has been a part of Jefferson County for more than 70 years.

Virtually all medical specialties are represented by the hundreds of physicians in Jefferson County, whether they are hospital based, in clinics or in group and private practices. In addition to medical doctors and mid-level care providers, there are also hundreds of nurses and medical technologists working in various practice settings in Jefferson County.

When you add ancillary doctors to this health care mix (dentists, optometrists, chiropractors) and assisted living and extended care facilities, you have a health care capability that makes Jefferson County the leader in health care for the region.

Crossroads Community Hospital serves Jefferson County and the surrounding region with emergency care, surgical care and medical care. In 2013 the hospital completed a $23 million expansion resulting in all new patient rooms, laboratory department, radiology department, admitting offices and same-day surgery offices. Crossroads Community Hospital emergency department pledges to see all patients within 30 minutes of their arrival. The average time patients spend in the ER before they were seen by a health care professional is 16 minutes, which is below national and state averages. In 2016, CCH received a “Grade A” Hospital Safety Grade from Leapfrog Group. This safety grade shows the commitment and effort that Crossroads Community Hospital has for its patient safety and care.

SSM Good Samaritan Hospital is a nonprofit organization. SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital – Mt. Vernon along with SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital – Centralia, is part of one of the largest health care networks in the region with over 200 active medical staff, 2,200 employees, numerous specialty programs, and a network of rural outreach facilities. SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital offers advanced services in breast care, surgical, cardiology and pediatrics. Their network of southern Illinois hospitals, clinics, home health services and doctors deliver a shared promise to the communities they serve. That promise is to be exceptional in every way – through exceptional people providing exceptional experiences while delivering exceptional value.

In addition to two quality hospitals, Mt. Vernon is home to a host of ancillary medical providers such as SSM, Express Care, Orthopaedic Center of Southern Illinois, Neuromuscular Orthopaedic Institute, Asbery & Associates, Heartland Women’s Healthcare, Mt. Vernon Community Health Center, Oza Cancer Center and many more, making Jefferson County a mecca for your medical needs.

To expedite your check in process to our SSM Health Express Clinic and SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital Emergency Room, please visit www.ssmhealthillinois.com and click the “Check In To Express Clinic” tab and choose your desired location. This can also navigate you to our 2015 Women’s Choice Award for “America’s Best Hospitals for Emergency Care” Emergency Department. Other awards consists of Healthgrades “Patient Safety Excellence Award” three years in a row, 2015 “Outstanding Patient Experience Award” and the 2015 “Distinguished Hospital Award for top 5% Clinical Excellence” recognition, the Leapfrog Group 2016“A” grade and many more awards and recognitions.