Belle Rive, Illinois

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Belle Rive is a village in Jefferson County, Illinois, United States. The population was 371 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Mount Vernon Micropolitan Statistical Area.



Belle Rive is located at 38°13′55″N 88°44′24″W / 38.232062°N 88.739940°W / 38.232062; -88.739940.[1]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 1.0 square miles (2.7 km²), all of it land.


In 1852, Edmund P. Grant bought about 480 acres (1.9 km2) of Federal land grants around what was to become Belle Rive. Grant was a wealthy land speculator from Montgomery County, Tennessee. At that time there was a corporation in Mt. Vernon that was attempting to build a rail line from St. Louis, Missouri to Evansville, Indiana. It seems likely that Grant was buying land in anticipation of the construction of the railroad, intending to build a town. This early attempt at building a railroad failed during a recession in the mid-1850s. Grant died in 1863, after being chased from Mt. Vernon by a mob objecting to his Confederate politics.

Belle Rive was founded in 1871, coinciding with the opening of the St. Louis & Southeastern Railroad.

Belle Rive got its name from Louis St. Ange de Bellerive, who surrendered Illinois to the British in 1765[2]. It is not clear if he was ever associated with the area near the village. See List of commandants of the Illinois Country.

Joseph Wall was one of the early settlers of Belle Rive. The Wall farm was to the southeast of the town. Joseph Wall was married to Edmund P. Grant's niece.

Belle Rive is home to the regionally-renowned Wilkey's Cafe. Serving a homestyle buffet, Wilkey's is a popular lunch spot for local farmers. In the past Utah Jazz head coach and local celebrity, Jerry Sloan has been seen eating in the small town eatery.


As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 371 people, 147 households, and 109 families residing in the village. The population density was 361.5 people per square mile (139.1/km²). There were 164 housing units at an average density of 159.8/sq mi (61.5/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 97.57% White, 0.54% African American, 0.81% Native American, and 1.08% from two or more races.

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