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Edwardsville, Illinois
Downtown Edwardsville with the Madison County Administration Building in the background
Downtown Edwardsville with the Madison County Administration Building in the background
Location of Edwardsville in Madison County, Illinois.
Location of Edwardsville in Madison County, Illinois.
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Country  United States
State  Illinois
County Madison
 • Total 20.50 sq mi (53.10 km2)
 • Land 19.89 sq mi (51.53 km2)
 • Water 0.61 sq mi (1.58 km2)
 • Total 26,808
 • Density 1,347.54/sq mi (520.28/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP Codes
62025, 62026
Area code(s) 618
FIPS code 17-22697

Edwardsville is a city in and the county seat of Madison County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2020 census, the population was 26,808. The city was named in honor of Ninian Edwards, then Governor of the Illinois Territory.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, the Edwardsville Arts Center, the Edwardsville Journal, the Madison County Record, and the Edwardsville Intelligencer are based here. Edwardsville High School and Metro-East Lutheran High School serve students in the area. Edwardsville also serves as the headquarters for Prairie Farms Dairy one of the largest dairy cooperatives in the United States and ranked in the top 10 of the largest privately held companies in the St. Louis region.

Edwardsville is a part of Southern Illinois and the Metro East region within Greater St. Louis, located 18 miles (29 km) northeast of downtown St. Louis. It is part of the Edwardsville School District, which also includes the villages of Glen Carbon, Hamel and Moro, as well as the township areas around them.

Parks and recreation

  • MCT Trails: Madison County Transit has developed more than 125 miles (201 km) of scenic bikeways that weave throughout the communities of Edwardsville, nearby Glen Carbon and beyond, and connects its MCTTrail system with its public bus system. The trails are mostly asphalt. Maps of the trails, which connect to neighborhoods, schools, business districts, SIUE, parks, and more, can be found on kiosks throughout the trail system, or online at
  • Watershed Nature Center: 46-acre (190,000 m2) wildlife preserve. The interpretive center displays native Illinois plants and animals and has education about the environment. Programming for children and adults is available.
  • SIUE Campus: Located on 2,660 acres (11 km2), the SIUE campus is one of the largest college campuses in the United States. The property includes rolling hills, acres of forests, and extensive fields.
  • Edwardsville Parks: Glik Park, City Park, Edwardsville Township Park, Leclaire Park, and Lusk Park.
  • Arts & Culture: Edwardsville Arts Center, Wildey Theater, Edwardsville Children's Museum, Madison County Historical Museum, Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities.


Edwardsville was originally incorporated in 1818, making it the third oldest city in Illinois. It marked the first movement of European-American settlers up onto the Illinois tallgrass prairie and out of the American Bottom below the river bluffs. The first European-American settler was Thomas Kirkpatrick, who came in 1805, laid out a community, and served as the Justice of the Peace. He named the community after his friend Ninian Edwards, then territorial governor of Illinois. (Illinois did not become a state until 1818.) The Edwards Trace, a key trail in the settlement of Central Illinois, used Edwardsville as a northward launching point.

In 1868 was founded The Bank of Edwardsville, still functioning regional bank.

In 1890, St. Louis industrialist N.O. Nelson chose a tract of land just south of Edwardsville to build plumbing factories. He also built a model workers' cooperative village called Leclaire. He offered workers fair wages with reasonable working hours and a share of the profits. He named the village in honor of the French economist Edme-Jean Leclaire. The village also provided educational and recreational opportunities and made it financially possible for anyone to own his own home. Unlike company towns such as Pullman near Chicago, this was a company town where the welfare and quality of life for the workers and their families was a major concern.

In 1934, the Village of Leclaire was incorporated into the City of Edwardsville. The area has a lake and park, baseball field, and the Edwardsville Children's Museum, located in the former Leclaire schoolhouse. Several Nelson factory buildings were renovated and adapted for use as the historic N. O. Nelson Campus of Lewis and Clark Community College. The recognized Historic District has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Each year on the third Sunday in October, the Friends of Leclaire host the annual Leclaire Parkfest with food, live heritage music, historic displays & tours, artisans, children's activities, a book sale, and more.

In 1983, Edwardsville’s historic Saint Louis Street was also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Dating back to 1809, this Historic District has a visual landscape that is a mile in length. More than 50 historic homes date from the middle 19th century to early 20th century. The protection and preservation of Saint Louis Street is overseen by the Historic Saint Louis Street Association.

Five Illinois governors came from Edwardsville: namesake Ninian Edwards, who became a territorial governor in 1809 and later served as governor from 1826–1830; Edward Coles, elected in 1822 and a strong opponent of slavery; John Reynolds, governor from 1830 to 1834; Thomas Ford, governor from 1842–1846; and Charles Deneen, governor from 1909 to 1913.

Former president Abraham Lincoln was in Edwardsville twice, as an attorney in the 1814 courthouse and a speaker outside the 1857 courthouse on Sept. 11, 1858. The present county courthouse, a square, four-story neoclassical structure of white marble that rises to six stories at the back section, was constructed from 1913-15.


According to the 2010 census, Edwardsville has a total area of 20.165 square miles (52.23 km2), of which 19.56 square miles (50.66 km2) (or 97%) is land and 0.605 square miles (1.57 km2) (or 3%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 677
1870 2,193
1880 2,887 31.6%
1890 3,561 23.3%
1900 4,157 16.7%
1910 5,014 20.6%
1920 5,336 6.4%
1930 6,235 16.8%
1940 8,008 28.4%
1950 8,776 9.6%
1960 9,996 13.9%
1970 11,070 10.7%
1980 12,480 12.7%
1990 14,579 16.8%
2000 21,491 47.4%
2010 24,293 13.0%
2020 26,808 10.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2005, 24,047 people, 7,975 households, and 5,199 families resided in the city. The population density was 1,549.2 people per square mile (598.2/km2). There were 8,331 housing units at an average density of 600.6 per square mile (231.9/km2). The city's racial makeup was 87.70% White, 8.66% African American, 1.69% Asian, 0.28% Native American, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.29% from other races, and 1.35% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.00% of the population.

There were 10,000 households, out of which 32.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.4% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.8% were non-families. 25.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44, and the average family size was 2.99.

The population was spread out, with 22.6% under the age of 18, 16.0% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 11.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.3 males.

The city's median household income was $50,921, and the median family income was $65,555. Males had a median income of $47,045 versus $29,280 for females. The city's per capita income was $26,510. About 5.0% of families and 8.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.3% of those under age 18 and 6.0% of those age 65 or over.

Pop culture

Scenes for the movie The Lucky Ones, starring Tim Robbins and Rachel McAdams, were filmed in downtown Edwardsville in June 2007. However, the scene filmed was set in Denver, Colorado, and banners were hung on Edwardsville's Main Street that read, "Welcome to Denver."

Scenes for the 1978 film Stingray were filmed in downtown Edwardsville, as well as in neighboring Alton, Illinois. Actor Christopher Mitchum, second son of Robert Mitchum, starred in the film. (This film is not to be confused with Corvette Summer, released in the same year.)

Singer Jackson Browne recorded "Shaky Town" in Edwardsville's Holiday Inn Room 124 for his album Running on Empty. It is now a Comfort Suites located at 3080 S. Route 157.

Notable people

  • John Hicks Adams, gunslinger and Wild West lawman
  • William H. Berry, Treasurer of Pennsylvania, Mayor of Chester, Pennsylvania
  • John Bischoff, Major League Baseball player
  • Max L. Bowler, Illinois state representative
  • Evelyn M. Bowles, Illinois state senator
  • Hedy Burress, actress (He's Just Not That Into You, Foxfire, If These Walls Could Talk, and Valentine)
  • Edward Coles, businessman and the second governor of Illinois
  • Charles S. Deneen, US senator and the 23rd governor of Illinois
  • Ninian Edwards, US senator, judge, governor of the Illinois Territory, and the third governor of Illinois; Edwardsville is named after him.
  • A.J. Epenesa, Professional Football player for the NFL. Drafted no. 54 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills
  • Thomas Ford, Illinois Supreme Court judge, author, and the eighth governor of Illinois
  • Earl E. Herrin, Illinois state representative
  • Jason Isringhausen, pitcher with five MLB teams; lived in Edwardsville
  • Mannie Jackson, chairman and CEO of the Harlem Globetrotters; purchased the team in 1993
  • Thomas Judy, Illinois legislator
  • Charles E. Lippincott, California State Senator and Illinois Auditor
  • Mark Little, outfielder with five Major League Baseball teams; born in Edwardsville
  • José Martínez, first baseman/outfielder for the New York Mets; Lived in Edwardsville
  • Laurie Metcalf, actress (Jackie Harris on Roseanne)
  • Joseph P. Newsham, lawyer and US congressman from Louisiana
  • Billie Poole, jazz singer
  • John Reynolds, speaker of the Illinois House, US congressman, Illinois Supreme Court justice, and the fourth governor of Illinois
  • AJ Schnack, director of Kurt Cobain: About a Son
  • Jesse L. Simpson, Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court
  • Sam M. Vadalabene, Illinois state legislator
  • Lee Wheat, pitcher for the Philadelphia Athletics and Kansas City Athletics; born in Edwardsville
  • Rudolph G. Wilson, first black school board member/president in the city's history and educational leader for more than 45 years.

See also

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