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History of Maryville, Illinois

Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser


Carl Wilhelm Friedrich “Fritz” Lange was born May 3, 1841 in Germany. He immigrated to America with his parents in 1843, settling in St. Louis.  He was educated in St. Louis, and was employed as a bookkeeper for two of the largest wholesale dry goods houses in St. Louis. Due to failing health, he moved to Madison County, Illinois in 1863, buying a small farm in Collinsville Township. Lang married Maria “Mary” D. Krome on Carl Wilhelm Friedrich "Fritz" LangeSeptember 27, 1863, and together they had thirteen children. He added tracts of land throughout the years, becoming the owner of 350 acres, where he was one of the principal wheat growers. Lange was also a  successful horse and mule breeder, selling them at high prices. In October 1900, Lange platted and laid out the village of Maryville in Collinsville Township, naming it in honor of his wife. Maryville was incorporated as a village on June 4, 1902. The first meeting of the town board was held in the home of W. E. Mabbs. The president was John Enz; clerk, Mike Daly; treasurer Albert Hrubetz; with trustees Charles Forneso, John Contratto, Louis Novero, William Schoettle, Edward and William Williams. John Enz was proprietor of a confectionery and lunchroom in the Hrubetz building, located at the northeast corner of Main and Center Streets. due to the efforts of Mr. Lange, the electric streetcar line was brought into Maryville.

Lange moved to Edwardsville in 1906. He divided his farm among his children (although he retained the old homestead of 116 acres. He became the director of the Bank of Edwardsville. Lange died April 7, 1926 in Edwardsville, and is buried in the St. Johns Lutheran Cemetery in Maryville.

Stores, hotels, rooming houses, blacksmith shop, taverns, and other businesses sprang up rapidly as the town begin to grow. In 1902 there were four saloons, all run by village officials – Mike Daly, Al Hrubetz, charley Fornero, and John Contratto. In October 1902, gasoline fueled streetlights were installed.

In 1902, the Donk Brothers Coal and Coke Company opened its Mine No. 2 in Maryville. The mine became one of the largest in the state,Donk Brothers Coal & Coke Mine No. 2 employing 700-800 miners. As mine operations grew, stores, rooming houses, a blacksmith shop, taverns (over a dozen at this point), and other businesses sprang up. There was also a boarding house for miners. Most of the town’s revenue came from the taverns. McCormick’s ran a restaurant along with the train station, which was located in the far east side of the Hrubetz building (later the Fireside Inn).

In 1903 the first post office was established, with William Mabbs as postmaster. It was located in the Mabbs building, which was at Main and Lange Streets (the present location of the Baptist Church).

In 1904, C.W.F. Lange sold four acres of land for $400, to established the Fairland Cemetery. Prices were set at $10 per lot, $2.50 per grave, and $4 for opening a grave.

In June 1905, a fire department was established. A No. 38 fire engine with a 60-gallon steel tank was purchased. This was later replaced by a pump engine. In 1928, the Volunteer Fire Department began with their annual homecomings. In 1939, they were able to purchase their first fire truck. Building plans were started for the construction of a public building. The two-story frame building had a belfry, 4’ by 4’. The first public gathering in the new hall was the Methodist Sunday School’s Christmas Eve program in 1905. In 1906, a public library was installed in the Village Hall.
                                                        Maryville - 1906
In 1909, the first motion picture shows were offered by Louis Novero on Main Steet, in what is now a heating and air condition store. The children nicknamed the movie theater “Louis State,” as a joke, as the theater had only boards to sit on.

The first electric lights in Maryville were installed in 1910, and a public park was established in the northwest part of the village on the car line. The park was named Buffalo Park. Joe Zajcek operated refreshment stands and a dance hall in the park.

In 1912, the streetcar company erected a waiting room and express office, and installed a potbellied stove at the intersection of Rt. 159 and Main Street. A platform was also built for loading and unloading of goods. Ben Elsbecknear operated a tomato canning factory with 12 employees, at what is now Rt. 159 overpass.

Maryville prospered until the closing of the mine in 1924 due to an underground fire. The town then became a residential village, with the title, “Whose Only Industry Was Baseball.” In 1931, with the formation of the Inter-City League, Maryville was one of the six-member clubs. Maryville won the league championship that year in the playoffs. A number of young men at that time went on to play professional and semi-pro ball – namely, Dwain Sloat, Robert Boken, John Lucas, Al Krupski, Walter Schuerbaum, Mike Semanisin, John Drost, John Brussaiti, Charles Boken, Welsey Gronemeyer, George Govenat, Lloyd Zarr, and Joe Garnero.

Early Schools in Maryville
On October 5, 1902, the first school in Maryville was established. It was held in the second story of the Avetta building. Within a short time, a new school building was constructed across the railroad tracks, east of the Donk Brothers Coal & Coke Company mine. An addition was made to the school as the village increased in population. This schoolhouse was destroyed by fire on November 15, 1915. With the aid of Donk, a new school was constructed at the present site of Donk Avenue, across from City Park.

Early Churches in Maryville
Churches began in Maryville as early as 1905, when Sunday School was held at the City Hall. There was also a church near the first school, which burned down in April 1920. A Catholic Church was established in April 1938, and a Baptist Church was established in 1939. The Assembly of God Church was constructed in 1942, and St. Luke’s Methodist Church was dedicated May 1956.

Recommanded Reading: The History Of Maryville


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