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Early History of Glen Carbon

Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser




In the beginning, Glen Carbon started out as many different small areas – Peters Station to the west, Mont Station to the east, and the original Goshen settlement.
                                                Glen Carbon, Illinois - 1906
In 1801, Colonel Samuel Judy received a military grant for 100 acres of land called Goshen Settlement near the base of the bluffs in the American Bottoms, just north of Judy Creek. Colonel Judy became one of the first permanent settlers of Madison County. He built his residence a mile from the Peters railroad station in 1807, made of brick made on the premises. It still stood in 1912.
Yanda Log Cabin, Glen Carbon, Illinois
The Yanda Log Cabin
The Yanda Log Cabin is believed to have been constructed by blacksmith William Yanda in 1853. William Yanda and his wife, Anna Zeola Yanda, were immigrants from Bohemia, Austria. They and their ten children lived in the cabin. Their eldest son, Frank, became a blacksmith. After moving to other towns to engage in his craft, he returned home with his family and raised eleven children in the cabin. Frank sold the cabin to his son, Frank Jr., who was one of the early mayors of Glen Carbon. Eventually the village bought the lot with the existing house which was constructed around the cabin. After discovering the cabin underneath, renovation began in 1989 and concluded in 1992. The cabin now serves as an addition to the Glen Carbon museum.

Coal Mining
After the Civil War, coal mining became a serious industry in the area, and the future Glen Carbon was located on top of vast coal reserves. Seven veins of coal, ranging in depth from 90 to 400 feet, ran beneath the surface. In 1891, the Madison Coal Corporation was founded by three St. Louis businessmen – William E. Guy, James L. Blair, and George O. Carpenter Jr. – who proposed to mine coal and other minerals. William Guy served as President and was a geologist and engineer. The Madison Coal Corporation operated four coal mines in the area – three mines in Glen Carbon, and one in Edwardsville. The company hired Anton Daenzer, a mining expert out of Belleville. Daenzer was named District Superintendent of the corporation and was in charge of all company mines. A large, two-story Victorian home was built for the Daenzer family on a bluff overlooking Glen Carbon, near the company offices on Collinsville Avenue. The company office building still stands on Collinsville Avenue at the bike trail, however the superintendent’s home was razed many years ago.
Madison Coal Company, Glen Carbon, Illinois
Madison Coal Company’s philosophy was to create a “company town,” which provided all the amenities necessary for workers. The company owned and platted much of the land in the future village and built rental houses for miners and donated lots for churches, schools, and a firehouse/village hall. It provided access to supplies through the Company Store. A large, well-appointed park was provided by the company, and awards were given to the miner with the best garden and yard. While many of the houses in Old Town were built by the coal company, the most notable were the nine saltbox houses which lined lower Main Street. These houses were the same two-story, two family houses built by the Press Brick Company’s “Brickyard Row” on Upper Main Street. The “Blue Row,” located between School Street and Collinsville Avenue, differed in that these houses did not have brick porches and were all painted blue. Four of these houses still stand today.

Mine No. 2 was the largest and most productive mine of the four. It was situation north of the bike trail, just east of Madison Avenue. Located on the Illinois Central tracks, a large coal washer was constructed nearby for the washing of the coal prior to loading onto the train cars. In 1934, the last mine in Glen Carbon was closed permanently. In 1988, a project funded under “The Mine Land Reclamation Act” obliterated nearly all traces of the mine.

In 1892, 76 residents petitioned the county court, and the village of Glen Carbon was officially incorporated on June 6, 1892. The name “Glen Carbon” means “valley of coal,” which reflects the importance of the history of coal mining there.

The Railroad
There were two depots for the railroad erected – one running east and west, and the second running north and south. Rail travel was important to the businesses and mining companies and travelers. It was easy to board the Illinois Central and Clover Leaf railroads, who made several trips a day to St. Louis and back. The trains carried coal and other goods to various locations.
St. Louis Press Brick Company, Glen Carbon, Illinois


St. Louis Brick Company
Another important industry in Glen Carbon was the St. Louis Press Brick Company, which burned down in the 1930s. After being rebuilt, it burned once again and was never opened again. Bricks made in Glen Carbon were used in the building of the 1904 World’s Fair buildings in Forest Park.






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