Valmeyer, Illinois

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Valmeyer is a village in Monroe County, Illinois, United States, on the Mississippi River. The population was 1200 at the 2006 census.

History

Valmeyer was named after a German immigrant who settled there, Val-Meyer, literally:"The valley of the Meyers". Many of his relations and descendants live in the area to this day. The original site of the village in the American Bottom floodplain was inundated by the Great Flood of 1993 of the Mississippi River. After the flood receded, the village accepted federal government assistance to relocate to higher ground about 2 miles (3 km) to the east atop the bluffs, on the north side of the eponymous valley.

Valmeyer's history has been marked by the periodic flooding of the Mississippi River and efforts to control it, the town having been flooded in 1910, 1943, and 1944. In the 1940s and 1950s, the Army Corps of Engineers constructed a levee system to protect the village and surrounding area. This levee system successfully protected the area from flooding for almost 50 years, even as floods occurred upstream from Valmeyer, the most significant threat having come in 1973.

The Great Flood of 1993

It was not until the Great Flood of 1993 that the levees protecting Valmeyer and its environs were damaged by floodwater causing a large gap to form, flooding the town. Though the village was largely destroyed, the flooding of the American Bottom floodplain relieved pressure upstream from Valmeyer, and very likely saved downtown St. Louis from a major flood event. This was an intentional design element in the original levee plan, to use the sparsely populated agricultural areas surrounding Valmeyer to relieve threat against the more valuable real estate in the levee districts north of Valmeyer, including St. Louis. Valmeyer's story was well-documented in both the national and international media, most notably on public television's Nova program and as a front-page article in the New York Times in 1996.

After the Great Flood of 1993

After the Great flood of 1993 the residents of Valmeyer decided to relocate the town. Two miles from the original town, known now as New Valmeyer. New Valmeyer is 400 feet higher, located on top of the bluffs of Old Valmeyer. To rebuild, Valmeyer families had to rely on proceeds from the sale of their damaged homes to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, payments from national flood insurance, Small Business Administration loans and their savings.

Once everyone was all settled in, the town growing in population until the economic downturn, the school thrived with High School sports such as Volleyball playing successfully. The same kids that were one game away from super-sectionals, the farthest they had ever been in the playoffs, are the same kids that one day found their houses completely destroyed with only mud and junk left. As these kids graduated their younger peers continue on their traditions. Although the school is not large enough for a football team, the Volleyball team and their great pep club that goes to every game, no matter how far away, it definitely has the heart of a southern high school football game on a Friday night.

Whether it is the High School Sports or the successful forms printing business this town is growing at a quick pace. Once under water now 400 feet higher and growing.

Demographics

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 608 people, 222 households, and 166 families residing in the village. The population density was 182.7 people per square mile (70.5/km²). There were 241 housing units at an average density of 72.4/sq mi (27.9/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 98.68% White, 0.33% African American, 0.33% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, and 0.49% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.82% of the population.

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