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History of South Roxana, Illinois

Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser

 

Territory was laid out in about 1920 just south of the Roxana Refinery (Shell Oil) by the Gonterman interests of St. Louis. About 50 houses were constructed in the area by June 1923. The Roxana Refinery had plans to build 150 more homes - mostly for their workers. The village of Roxana had already been platted and incorporated just to the north.

In 1920, forty acres of the Hugh Poag farmland were sold at $800 an acre. This land was divided into lots for homes and businesses. By 1923 the town of South Roxana was booming with construction of new homes and sidewalks. The new Shubert Grocery Store opened in May 1923, and the Roxana refinery began expanding on their property. In July 1926, the Bley-Blain Hotel was opened for business.
                             1927 Map of South Roxana
By 1927, South Roxana had constructed a two-room elementary school. In 1935 a new building was constructed for sixth-grade pupils.

Reverend E. Sims took option in 1927 on a 100-foot lot in South Roxana for the construction of a new Baptist Church.
South Roxana Mayor Lawrence Cunningham

 

 


Discussion began as early as 1923 on incorporating South Roxana as a village, or annexing into Roxana. Most favored incorporating as a village of their own. It was not until March 1967 that South Roxana was finally incorporated. Some 676 voters braved thunder storms and heavy rains to cast ballots in the referendum, which was twice defeated in the past, that resulted in a new village being added to Madison County. By more than 200 votes, the referendum passed. Supporters emphasized that village status would not give immediate solutions to problems such as streets and police protection. Boundaries of South Roxana at the time included Madison Avenue on the north, Hedge Road on the east, Rt. 111 on the west, and the cemetery, lagoon and a strip of land along Rt. 111 to Wagon Wheel Road on the south. Lawrence Cunningham served as the first mayor.

 

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