Waterloo, Illinois

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Waterloo is a city in Monroe County, Illinois, United States. The population was 7,614 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Monroe County.[1]



Waterloo is located at 38°20′7″N 90°9′10″W / 38.33528°N 90.15278°W / 38.33528; -90.15278 (38.335243, -90.152685).[2]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.6 square miles (14.6 km²), of which, 5.6 square miles (14.4 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.89%) is water. Illinois Route 3 and Illinois Route 156 intersect within its bounds, and it is along the historic trail from Kaskaskia to St. Louis.


Early History

Waterloo's history dates back to French explorers during the 17th century, who travelled through and settled in the region. Its settlement by Americans began when James Moore, Larken Rutherford, and James Garretson, settlers from Maryland and Virginia travelled to Kaskaskia, Illinois in 1781 and after wintering there, settled at or near Bellefontaine (French for Beautiful Spring) the next spring, in 1782. This name had been supplied by the French to a spring of water a mile south of the site of Waterloo, at which they had doubtless often camped on their journeys between Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and St. Louis. This marked the first permanent American settlement in the entire Northwest Territory. Moore, who had been a member of a George Rogers Clark 1778 Illinois campaign, (he shared this distinction with several other of the early settlers) established himself at the site of the spring, this tract remained in possession of the Moore family for over a century, until at least the 20th century. The Bellefontaine House, situated a short distance west of the southern end of Main Street, the kitchen of which is believed to be Moore's original log cabin, was restored and stands there to this day. Rutherford settled in the vicinity, while Garretson selected a location a mile northeast of Waterloo's present location. Judge Shadrach Bond, uncle and namesake of Illinois first governor, was also a part of the Moore party of settlers, however, he settled on the Bottoms. It had been assumed that when these immigrants left the country east of the Alleghenies, that the settlers need fear no trouble from the Indians. It was not long, however before the native residents began to threaten, and James Moore was elected captain of the company which came to be raised for the protection of the colony.

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