Illinois is the birthplace of several famous people, including former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Enrico Fermi, and writer Ernest Hemingway.
St. Clair County, Illinois, has a rich and diverse history that dates back to the early 18th century. The region was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Cahokia and Illinois tribes, who lived along the Mississippi River. In the early 1700s, French explorers, such as Louis Joliet and Father Jacques Marquette, arrived in the area and established a fur trading post near present-day Cahokia. This marked the beginning of European settlement in St. Clair County.

In 1763, the area came under British control following the French and Indian War. However, after the American Revolutionary War, the region was ceded to the new United States as part of the Northwest Territory. St. Clair County was officially established in 1790 and named after Arthur St. Clair, a Revolutionary War officer. It was one of the first counties in the Illinois Territory and included a vast area that extended beyond the borders of present-day Illinois.

Throughout the 19th century, St. Clair County experienced significant growth and development. The county became a transportation hub with the opening of the National Road in the early 1830s, which connected the region to the eastern seaboard. The construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal in the 1840s further enhanced transportation in the area.

St. Clair County was also a key player in the industrial revolution. Coal mining became a major industry in the county, with numerous mines opening in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The county's proximity to St. Louis, Missouri, and its growing industrialization also contributed to St. Clair County's growth.

Today, St. Clair County continues to thrive as an important economic and cultural center in Illinois. It is home to major cities and towns, including Belleville, East St. Louis, and O'Fallon. The county boasts a diverse population and offers a multitude of attractions and amenities, from historical sites to recreational opportunities. Its rich history plays an important role in shaping the county's identity and continues to be celebrated by its residents.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of St. Clair County, Illinois.

  • 1790 - St. Clair County is established as part of the Northwest Territory.
  • 1809 - Illinois Territory is created, and St. Clair County is incorporated as part of the new territory.
  • 1818 - Illinois becomes a state, and St. Clair County remains a part of it.
  • 1820 - Belleville is established as the county seat of St. Clair County.
  • 1841 - St. Clair County experiences a severe cholera epidemic, resulting in many deaths.
  • 1861 - The American Civil War begins, and St. Clair County contributes soldiers to the Union Army.
  • 1945 - Scott Air Force Base is established in St. Clair County, bringing economic growth to the area.
  • 1974 - East St. Louis faces a financial crisis, leading to the creation of the St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department to manage federal funds.
  • 2010 - St. Clair County's population reaches over 270,000, and it remains an important part of the state of Illinois.