Bond County Courthouse is located in Greenville's public square. The Bond County Soldiers and Sailors Monument is located on the courthouse grounds.
|Elevation||500 ft (152 m)|
|Area||6.19 sq mi (16 km2)|
|- land||6.19 sq mi (16 km2)|
|- water||0.00 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Density||1,130.9 / sq mi (437 / km2)|
|Founded||Municipal corporation, 1872|
|- summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|Wikimedia Commons: Greenville, Illinois|
Greenville is celebrating its Bicentennial in 2015 and is home to Greenville College, a private Free Methodist college, the Richard Bock Museum, American Farm Heritage Museum, the Armed Forces Museum and the Demoulin Museum, a federal prison, Federal Correction Institution Greenville (FCI Greenville), and internationally known companies, including Nevco Scoreboard, the largest privately owned scoreboard company in the world, and DeMoulin Brothers, the world's oldest and largest manufacturer of band uniforms.
Greenville was founded in 1815 in what was then the Illinois Territory by George Davidson when he purchased 160 acres (65 ha) along the bluff overlooking Little Shoal Creek, in what was then still part of Madison County. Davidson built a tavern near the present-day intersection of Main and Sixth streets, and by 1816 he was selling individual lots. The federal government established its first federal post office in Greenville in 1819. It was incorporated as a town in 1855 and as a city in 1872. At one time, it had neighborhoods called New Jerusalem, Piety Hill, Cobtown, and Buzzard Roost. A few possible reasons have been put forth for the naming of the town. Some think the town was named after Greenville, North Carolina, which had been named after Revolutionary War general Nathanael Greene. Others say that Greenville was named by early settler Thomas White because it was "so green and nice". A third possibility is that Greenville was named after Green P. Rice, the town's first merchant.
Greenville became the county seat of Bond County in 1821. The earlier seat of Perryville was annexed into Fayette County when it was formed from part of Bond County, requiring the naming of a new seat. Davidson offered to give the county government land around the present-day town square. His offer was accepted, and a courthouse was built in 1821 on the site of the current courthouse.
During the 1840s, some Bond County residents conducted slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Slaves were often spirited from Missouri, sometimes through Carlyle to Bond County. Rev. John Leeper was able to disguise his Underground Railroad activities due to his milling business. Dr. Henry Perrine practiced medicine near Greenville and helped with the secret railroad activities. Rev. George Denny's house was found in the 1930s to conceal a secret chamber that had been used in the Railroad.
Greenville College was founded as Almira College, a women's college, in 1855. GC history professor Donald Jordahl has written that Almira College was "one of the earliest extensions westward of an eastern idea favorable toward female education, an early step in the women's suffrage and liberation movement." In 1941, college president H.J. Long "declared the founding of Almira and Greenville ran parallel, for both were founded on prayer." Women in Bond County could vote for the first time in 1914.
When Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas gave speeches in Greenville in 1858 during a campaign for the United States Senate, Douglas said: "Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great and supreme gratification and pleasure to see this vast concourse of people assembled to hear me upon this my first visit to Old Bond." The Illinois State Register reported of the occasion: "I've seen many gatherings in Old Bond county but I never saw anything equal to this and I never expect to."
On November 21, 1915, the Liberty Bell passed through Greenville on its nationwide tour returning to Pennsylvania from the Panama–Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. After that trip, the Liberty Bell returned to Pennsylvania and will not be moved again.
The Greenville Public Library was established as a Carnegie library and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Hogue Hall at Greenville College also appeared on the National Register (it was demolished in 2008).
On April 18, 1934, during the Great Depression, a group of 500 protesters marched to the Illinois Emergency Relief Commission to lodge complaints about the delivery of emergency supplies from the state and federal governments.
Illinois native Ronald Reagan visited Greenville on the campaign trail in 1980 and gave a speech on the street in front of the courthouse; his visit is commemorated by a plaque. Barack Obama, the junior senator from Illinois elected as President in November 2008, visited Greenville while campaigning for his Senate seat in 2004, in a visit hosted by the Bond County Democrats.
On one of his tours across America in his motorhome, sportscaster John Madden stopped in Greenville and enjoyed his time at a truck stop so much that he declared it the "John Madden Hall of Fame." The truck stop has since been torn down.
In 1992, Greenville College celebrated its 100th anniversary and was featured on NBC's Today Show. In 2006, the college was again featured prominently in a Today Show story about the rapid growth of Christian colleges and universities. In 2007, GC had a record enrollment of an estimated 1,100 traditional students. The college was the first campus in America to go completely wireless with its Internet.
Enrollment topped 1,000 students for the first time in the college's history in 2006. The current student body at Greenville College contains over 1,000 students; most are from various Christian denominations. The college currently offers undergraduate degrees in over 50 different programs of study and graduate degrees in education.
In addition to Greenville College, Greenville is home to Bond County Community Unit #2 High School (usually known as Greenville High School), home of the Comets. Since 2007, the Comets football team has appeared in the Final Four in the IHSA Class 3A state football playoffs four times: in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2012. In 2007 they lost to Columbia, in 2011 they lost to Mount Carmel, and in both 2009 and 2012 they lost to Tolono Unity.
Students from the neighboring towns of Pocahontas and Sorento are included in the Bond County School District #2 with Greenville students and attend high school in Greenville. One of these notable students was country singer Gretchen Wilson, who attended GHS but did not graduate.
Greenville Junior High, home of the Bluejays, and Greenville Elementary School, home of the Rockets, round out Greenville's local schools. During the 2006 school year, Greenville Elementary was one of only 25 schools selected nationwide as a NASA Explorer school, a three-year partnership with NASA to promote math, science and space exploration. The 2010 Bluejays baseball team won second place in the Class 3A State Baseball championship, finishing the season with a 24-3 record.
From 2004 to 2007, Greenville also had a private Christian school, Greenville Christian Academy, run by Smith Grove Baptist Church. However, the school closed due to lack of enrollment in May 2007. Other nearby private school alternatives are Vandalia Christian Academy and Mater Dei in Breese.
While Greenville once hosted three newspapers, The Item, The Sun, and The Advocate, it now has only the twice-weekly Greenville Advocate. The Advocate is the oldest business in Bond County and one of the oldest newspapers in Illinois. Original Advocate owner Jedediah Alexander was friends with Abraham Lincoln and instrumental in bringing Lincoln to Greenville for a visit.
Historic Greenville businesses also include the Helvetia Milk Condensing Company, which later became the Pet Milk Company. The condensing plant, built in 1899, was the oldest in the world for many years until it was torn down in the early 1990s. Pet also maintained its research and testing center in Greenville. Many products. including Instant Pet, Pet-Ritz pies, Sego diet foods, and Old El Paso products were developed there, along with the first use of food irradiation to increase the Vitamin D content of milk. The remaining research buildings and warehouses were sold to Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals in the 1990s, which continues to operate there today.
Other historic businesses in Greenville included shoe manufacturer Mayer and Bannister, cigar manufacturers Thomas D. Scheske and H.H. Wirz, and a glove factory, the Greenville Glove Manufacturing Co. In the early 1900s, Greenville had its own power company, Greenville Electric Gas and Power Company, which later was bought by Illinois Power and Light Service.
The Watson family operated a pharmacy in Greenville for over 125 years, since 1881; it was sold in 2006, but still maintains the name Watson's Drug Store. Greenville once had a silent movie theatre, the Lyric, and now has a first-run movie theatre, the Globe.
Greenville conducts the Bond County Fair every August. In 2008, the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Moving Wall visited Greenville to coincide with the fair activities.—Ian H. Gentry 18:16, 10 November 2012 (UTC)
Greenville College bands
Several bands formed by students at Greenville College have gone on to achieve fame, including:
Places of interest
Greenville is notable for its old-fashioned downtown and many antique shops.
A large stone and plaque placed by the Daughters of the American Revolution marks the location where Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas gave speeches while running for the United States Senate in 1858. The city unsuccessfully applied for a grant from the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission to buy the property on South Fifth Street where Lincoln spoke and to create a small Lincoln park. A statue dedicated to county veterans of the Civil War was dedicated on the courthouse lawn in 1903; the courthouse lawn has a Veterans' Memorial in honor of all county veterans.
Greenville College is home to the only museum dedicated to the sculptures of Richard Bock, who was an associate of Frank Lloyd Wright and designed many of the sculptures for Wright-designed homes.
Greenville also hosts the American Farm Heritage Museum, a museum which aims to preserve agricultural history. The museum features exhibits of tractors and other farm-related memorabilia and holds multiple festivals a year. It held its third annual Heritage Days and was the largest Oliver Corp. equipment show in America in 2007, as the national Oliver show was held outside the US. In 2006, 500 tractors were on display for the event, and 5,000 people were in attendance. In 2008, the show was the site of the Cockshutt international equipment show. The AFHM also has a 15-inch-gage train going around it with approximately one mile of track.
In 2011, the St. Louis Armed Forces Museum, which had long been located in Alton, relocated to the American Farm Heritage Museum, due to the Greenville museum's tourist traffic and visible location on Interstate 70.
Greenville has had a mayor and city council form of government since 1957. The first mayor, James Bradford, was elected in 1873. He was the owner of Bradford and Son bank, which is still in existence today as Bradford National Bank.
Notable and current members of Government in Greenville:
Mayor: Alan Gaffner
Honorable Circuit Judge: John D. Knight
States Attorney: Christopher J. P. Bauer
Assistant States Attorney: Dora Mann
Circuit Clerk: Rex Catron
Bond County Clerk: Randy Reitz
Supervisor of Assessments: Deb Langham
County Treasurer: Katie Weiss
Chief Court Reporter: Judith J. Thacker
During the first half of the 20th century, the Anti-Saloon Party was a player in local politics, with aldermen and mayors being elected from the ticket in 1911, 1913, 1917, and 1953. After the 1953 election, a "city manager" style of government was voted in, which provided for non-partisan city council members.
Greenville is located near the center of Bond County at  U.S. Route 40 and Interstate 70 pass to the south of downtown, both highways leading west 49 miles (79 km) to St. Louis and east 19 miles (31 km) to Vandalia.(38.8895, -89.4036).
Greenville is also located on Illinois Route 127, which is a major north-south route connecting Southern Illinois to Springfield.
The National Road passes through Greenville. East of Greenville it follows Illinois Route 140, and west it follows U.S. Route 40. Its route west of town was the source of a historic controversy. Original plans were to connect Greenville to St. Louis. However, the Illinois General Assembly preferred a route to Alton in order to favor an Illinois city directly on the Mississippi River. When federal money for the road ran out in 1840 at Vandalia, 19 miles east of Greenville, the State Legislature refused to fund it further. Residents of Greenville, Highland, Troy, and Collinsville paid to complete the road to East St. Louis. The "State Policy" of favoring Alton over St. Louis remained a major political issue in Illinois until the Civil War.
According to the 2010 census, the city has a total area of 6.19 square miles (16.0 km2), all land.
Greenville Municipal Airport is located 3 mi south of downtown at 38° 50′ 10″ N, 89° 22′ 42″ W
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,955 people, 2,019 households, and 1,280 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,337.0 people per square mile (516.4/km²). There were 2,171 housing units at an average density of 417.3 per square mile (161.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 82.40 percent White, 15.44 percent African American, 0.62 percent Native American, 0.47 percent Asian, 0.37 percent from other races, and 0.69 percent from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.46 percent of the population.
There were 2,019 households, out of which 30.0 percent had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.7 percent were married couples living together, 10.0 percent had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.6 percent were non-families. 33.4 percent of all households were made up of individuals[clarification needed] and 17.7 percent had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.90.
In the city the population was spread out with 15.9 percent under the age of 18, 18.1 percent from 18 to 24, 32.7 percent from 25 to 44, 18.7 percent from 45 to 64, and 14.6 percent who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 143.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 152.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $35,650, and the median income for a family was $45,557. Males had a median income of $26,105 versus $20,889 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,326. About 8.8 percent of families and 11.8 percent of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.0 percent of those under age 18 and 9.9 percent of those age 65 or over.
- Ernest L. Boyer, former U.S. Commissioner of Education
- Robert Briner, Emmy Award-winning television producer
- Job Adams Cooper, sixth governor of Colorado
- Gerald Greider, Wisconsin legislator
- Phyllis Holmes, former basketball coach for Greenville College and the U.S. Olympics Team
- Alfred Harrison Joy, astronomer
- Enoch A. Holtwick, temperance activist and the Prohibition Party candidate for President in 1956
- Edwin G. Krebs, a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist
- Tom Merritt, executive editor on the TWIT network
- Henry Perrine, noted horticulturalist
- Robert E. "Ish" Smith, president of the IBAF and the United States Baseball Federation, former president of Greenville College
- Ron Stephens, formerly of the Illinois House of Representatives
- Manuel Velazquez, anti-boxing activist
- Frank Watson, longtime Republican Minority Leader of the Illinois Senate
- Howard Zahniser, environmental activist, wrote the Wilderness Act of 1964
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- "FCI Greenville". Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- "History". Nevco. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- "DeMoulin". DeMoulin Brothers. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- Carson, Will (1905). Historical Souvenir of Greenville, Illinois. Effingham, IL: LeCrone Press.
- Allan H. Keith, Historical Stories: About Greenville and Bond County, IL. Consulted on August 15, 2007.
- "Several Stops On 'Underground Railroad' In Bond County". Greenville Advocate. November 11, 2008.
- "Liberty Bell Attracts Crowd in Greenville During 1915 Stop". Greenville Advocate. July 3, 2007.
- "Our Readers Speak". Greenville Advocate. November 18, 2008.
- "Obama Visited Cafe in 2004". Greenville Advocate. November 11, 2008.
- "G.C. Enrollment Once Again at Record Level". Greenville Advocate. August 30, 2007.
- "Greenville College Is Already Wireless". Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
- Zettler, Linda (2008-05-04). "‘Redneck Woman’ Gretchen Wilson finishes school". The Tennesseean. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- "NASA Kicks Off Partnership with Greenville Students". NASA. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- "Lack of Enrollment Results in Closing of GCA in May". Greenville Advocate. July 19, 2007.
- "The Greenville Advocate". The Greenville Advocate. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- "Local AMVETS to Salute Wall". Greenville Advocate. July 17, 2007.
- "City Seeks Lincoln Grant to Draw Visitors to Site". Greenville Advocate. June 14, 2007.
- ~Historic~ Greenville Illinois - Bock Museum - Greenville Chamber of Commerce
- "Museum Readies for Third Show". Greenville Advocate. July 26, 2007.
- "Pleased with Heritage Days Results". Greenville Advocate. August 22, 2006.
- Berger, Kathleen (2011-07-02). "Museum readies for Alton exit". Alton Telegraph. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files for Places – Illinois". United States Census. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Colorado Governor Job Adams Cooper". National Governors Association. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
- 'Wisconsin Blue Book 1971,' Biographical Sketch of Gerald Greider, pg. 46
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Greenville, Illinois.|
- City of Greenville official website
- WGEL, Greenville's radio station
- Bond County Community Unit #2 School District