Freeburg, Illinois

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Freeburg is a village in St. Clair County, Illinois, United States.

Contents

History

Freeburg lies in the fertile and rolling southern Illinois plains between the Kaskaskia and Mississippi Rivers. It was platted in 1836 as the town of Urbana by immigrants to this area from Virginia around 1800. The first European settlers of Freeburg were of English and Irish ancestry.

There were five migratory Indian tribes that crisscrossed each other in Illinois; the Peorias, Cahokias, Kaskaskias, Tamaroas, and Michiganics. It is said that Turkey Hill north of town was a popular Indian campground that also attracted many early settlers because of the view it provided of the surrounding countryside. The last Indian tribes left this area by 1820.

The big German migrations to this area started around 1830 and continued quite strong for the rest of the century. Obviously, the abundance of coal, the availability of cheap fertile farm land, as well as the proximity to the frontier city of St. Louis, only 20 miles to the northwest, are what attracted settlers to Freeburg.

The old "Plank Road" was built in the 1850s and for 35 cents travelers could ride from Belleville to Freeburg in "comfort" without potholes on what is now known as the old Freeburg Road. Abe Lincoln is said to have used this road on at least one occasion.

In 1851, the post office came, and when it was found that there was another town of Urbana in Illinois, the city fathers changed the name in 1859 to Freeburg after the beautiful city of Freiburg in the state of Baden, Germany, from which some of the early settlers had come.

The town was incorporated in 1867 with 808 residents. The railroad came in 1869 and exchanged owners several times before being sold to the Illinois Central.

In the heyday of independent coal mines, as many as 1500 miners lived here, and in 1874, there were 10 hotels for them to choose from if they could not find more permanent lodging. With the closing of the Peabody River King Mine just east of Freeburg in 1989, coal no longer played a dominant role in the local economy.

Today, Freeburg remains a conservative community with a highly diversified business economy that also serves as a bedroom community for Belleville and the St. Louis metroplex, while still providing essential services needed in any small community.

Geography

Freeburg is located at 38°25′37″N 89°54′38″W / 38.42694°N 89.91056°W / 38.42694; -89.91056 (38.426949, -89.910451).[1]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 3.2 square miles (8.4 km²), of which, 3.2 square miles (8.3 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (1.54%) is water.

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