Caseyville Library Turns 60
The Caseyville Public Library began as a community project by a Girl Scout Troop that took place at a local hardware store. The owner allowed the girls to use some of the store's shelving for the collected books. Soon the store's shelves were overflowing with books. The Library's next location would be a closet at the top of the stairs of the second floor of the Municipal Building, currently the Police Station.
On July 6, 1962, the residents of the Village of Caseyville voted to establish and maintain a Public Library. In 1971, The Library moved into the newly remodeled second floor space of the Municipal Building. The collection materials continued to increase and the Library began to outgrow it's space again. Made possible by years of saving, the Live and Learn Construction Grant, and the generous gift of 2.15 acres of land from the Village of Caseyville, on April 28, 1998 construction began at the new location.
With 200 citizens of Caseyville, local political figures, and Library System Staff, the Caseyville Public Library was dedicated and opened on November 22, 1998 (Stephens, 1998).
The latest chapter of Caseyville Public Library begins soon with the construction of the new library building made possible by an intergovernmental agreement between Caseyville Library
and Collinsville Unit School District 10 (CUSD) that exchanged library property for the construction cost and upkeep of utilities of the new public library building set to open in late Winter/early Spring 2024. If you would like to follow the building construction, visit the Building Project page for more!
PDFs Available to Download
History of the Village of Caseyville
Pre Colombian Eras
Although the Village of Caseyville was founded in 1849, the history of the land goes back thousands of years. In the area, the first Paleo-Indians arrived here to the American Bottom Mississippi River region in 9500 BC (Iseminger, 2010). Woodland tribes settled in AD 700 who later became the Cahokians who established the expansive trade epicenter that is known as Cahokia Mounds today (Cahokia Mounds Museum Society, 2023). This civilization spanned outward from Cahokia Mounds and for miles into the surrounding area, including Caseyville (Stephens, 1998). After the collapse of the Cahokian civilization and Cahokia Mounds' abandonment in the late 1300s, People of the Oneota culture later called this area their home.
By the 1600's Illiniwek confederacy and Cahokia sub-tribe set up villages here (Cahokia Mounds Museum Society, 1999). French fur trappers and missionaries brought conflict and diseases and by the late 1600's missionaries had rounded up local peoples to Cahokia Mounds, where many fell ill, contributing to their population loss. Later, war with the Iroquois, Fox, and conflict with settlers lost more lives until the US moved them to a reservation near the Big Muddy River. They instead decided to make their way west, joining the Peoria Tribe in Oklahoma where they remain today (Peoria Tribe, n.d.).
Early European Settlers & Founding of Caseyville
The earliest recorded settlements are registered in 1814. From the mid 1820's-1830's wealthy landowners settled in Caseyville. In 1849, the Illinois Coal Mining Company established it as a village. The village is named after Zadok Casey, who spent time as a congress person for the state and federal government and was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1830 (St. Clair County Genealogical Society, 2018).
Coal was the primary export during this period. At first, it was sent to St. Louis by ox and mule teems, but then the company constructed a railroad in 1851 that ran to Brooklyn as well. The railroad also led to a population increase. The village went from 40 individuals to 150 by 1851.
Local Historian & Author Bob Stephens
Bob Stephens has written two books about Caseyville, including A Walk Through Time and A Walk Through Time: A Sequel. The first book covers the years 1849-1999 and the second covers 1849-2011. These books detail the early founding of the town, extensive historical photos, family histories, local organizations and businesses histories, and features of remarkable people from Caseyville. Bob writes about local history in an energetic but casual tone.
Summer Book Printing
Sign up to reserve your own copy of A Walk Through Time by contacting the library. Books will be printed this summer. A Walk Through Time: A Sequel is currently available for purchase at the library.
Belleville News Democrat, Tim Vizer, Associated Press
What is My Caseyville Story?
My Caseyville Story is an oral history project which aims to explore the past and present of Caseyville by documenting stories of its residents. The main goal of this project it to record, preserve, and share audio interviews with the Caseyville community to connect residents with the history of their neighbors. This project will present Caseyville residents with an opportunity to share their story, and for all patrons- a chance to learn about the diverse community of Caseyville.
Who is Eligible?
The goal of this project is to focus on Caseyville residents, past and present. If you don't currently live in Caseyville, but grew up here or raised your family here, we would love to hear your story.
Do you currently own a business? Did you family own a business? Volunteered in the community? What memories do you have of Caseyville?
Are you new to Caseyville? Welcome! You are part of our community, and we welcome you to share your story with us!
Caseyville Public School, 1949,addition added in 1948
Miller School, est. 1932, part of Caseyville Unit 102
About the Project
To recognize and honor the Caseyville Library's 60th Anniversary, we wanted to create a project that would provide residents with meaningful opportunities to engage with the Caseyville community. Our hope is that the My Caseyville Story Oral History Project will allow people to document history, capture memories, share perspectives, and gain understanding. Whether community members contribute their stories to the project or listen to the recorded interviews, this project will connect people to their community, and most importantly to one another.
Oral History Kits are now available to check out at the library and the request forms are available in person and on the library's website. Keep up with the project online at caseyvillelibrary.org/history, where you'll have access to all interviews, photos, and videos.
How will it Work?
Think of a story you would like to tell or find a friend or a family member to interview (or be interviewed by). We highly recommend this arrangement as it will allow for a more dynamic and personal conversation.
Fill out a My Caseyville Story Kit Request Form and return it to the front desk in order to check out an Oral History Kit.
If you prefer to be interviewed by a library staff member please contact Ashley Stewart, Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also fill out a My Caseyville Story Kit Request Form and return it to the front desk.
Do you have photographs or artifacts?
Photographs and artifacts can greatly enhance and enhance and enrich your story. We would love to include any relevant items you have along with your recording. Feel free to bring any items along to your interview, we will photograph or scan the original(s) and return them to you right away.
The Old School on the Hill, n.d., built 1870
Miller School, lower grades with Theresa Haig, n.d.
Leroy Randal Sr., Supt Caseyville; Band Master: Carl Von Birch
Create a Family Tree
Start with yourself and immediate family and fill out as much as you know.
Ask relatives (if possible) to help you fill in the gaps. If this is not an option, you can start searching
Begin your database and archive searches
Search what you already know and find related articles and family members. Start with basic searches in our genealogy databases.
Explore local history
Once you feel like you have enough information, explore records at local historical societies, museums, and other archives kept in schools, libraries, government buildings, and places of worship.
FamilySearch Family Tree
PhotoScan by Google Photos
Find a Grave
BBC: A History of the World in 100 Objects
Family Tree Magazine
Genealogy Happy Hour
Letters from the War
Research Like a Pro
Stuff You Missed in History Class
The Genealogy Guys
The Memory Palace
The Podcast of the History of Our World
You Must Remember This
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701 E. Washington St., Belleville, IL 62220
PO Box 431, Belleville, IL 62222
Collinsville History Museum
406 West Main St., Collinsville, IL 62234
801 N. Main Street, Edwardsville, IL 62025
401 State Street, Alton, IL 62002, 618-462-0677, option 3
MVLD Local History & Genealogy Supervisor
John A. Logan College
700 Logan College Road
Carterville, IL 62918
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, & Cahokia Mounds Museum Society. (n.d.). Explore. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. https://cahokiamounds.org/explore/
Iseminger, William. (2010). Cahokia Mounds: America’s first city. The History Press.
Mink, C. (1999). Cahokia: City of the sun. Cahokia Mounds Museum Society.
Peoria Tribe. (n.d). History. Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma. https://peoriatribe.com/history/
St. Clair County Genealogical Society. (n.d.). Caseyville Precinct: 1881. St. Clair County Genealogical Society. https://stclair-ilgs.org/1881precincts/
Stephens, B. (1998). A walk through time: A pictorial history of the Village of Caseyville, Illinois 1849-1999. Caseyville Cemetery Association.