“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Greenville in Bond County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)


Finding a Place for Print

Greenville Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, January 3, 2020
1. Greenville Marker
Inscription.  Imagine a world without books--a frontier where print is a luxury, often out of reach. It's the world you would have known in 1815, when George Davidson settled the bluff overlooking Little Shoal Creek, just a short walk from where you stand.

While Davidson was platting Greenville, the National Road was pressing West from Cumberland, Md., carrying the people of a young nation with it. Between 1830 and 1850, Illinois' population soared from 157,445 to 851, 470. With growing communities came a demand for more teachers, schools, and print.

Old School

Distance and dirt roads prevented rural students from pursuing education beyond grade school. With the introduction of affordable automobiles in the 1900s, and a national push for better rural roads and consolidated schools in the decades after, high schools once out of range were now within reach.

From Parlor Closet to Public Library

In January 1856, four Greenville women outlined plans for a new subscription-based library. By August, the founders of the Ladies' Library Association were housing volumes in the parlor closet of
Paid Advertisement
Click on the ad for more information.
Please report objectionable advertising to the Editor.
Click or scan to see
this page online
charter member Almira Morse.

Over the next 50 years, the collection outgrew homes, rental space above a pharmacy, and shelves on the second floor of the Bond County courthouse. In 1903, with a $10,000 pledge from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie to support construction, the city of Greenville provided land and tax revenue for a permanent library.

When the Greenville Public Library opened in August 1905, it was home to about 3,000 books----some of which once rested in a parlor closet.

Photo captions:

Founded in 1858 as a vehicle to support Abraham Lincoln's senate bid, the Greenville Advocate is one of Illinois' oldest newspapers.

Many National Road communities were home to high schools and colleges. Founded in 1855, Almira College became Greenville College in 1892.

Greenville Public Library has served as a meeting hall, polling place, and driver's license facility. There've been subtle changes to the building since this photo was made. Do you see them?


A Road of Dirt, Rock, And Dreams

In 1806, President Thomas Jefferson signed legislation to provide federal funding for a National Road. Surveyed from Cumberland, Md., to the Mississippi River, the National Road was a highway for pioneers eager to settle the West.

Today, as US 40, the National Road
Greenville Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, January 3, 2020
2. Greenville Marker
Greenville Public Library is across the street
in Illinois spans 164 miles. From Indiana to East St. Louis, you can still see how the ambitions and accomplishments of early Illinois immigrants shaped our communities. You'll find their influence in our art and architecture, our industry and agriculture, and in our way of life. Enjoy your time on the Road.
Erected 2015 by National Road Association of Illinois.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicCharity & Public WorkCommunicationsEducationRoads & VehiclesWomen. In addition, it is included in the The Historic National Road series list.
Location. 38° 53.526′ N, 89° 24.882′ W. Marker is in Greenville, Illinois, in Bond County. Marker is at the intersection of North 4th Street and West Main Street, on the right when traveling south on North 4th Street. Marker is located at a parking lot, across the street from Greenville Public Library. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 414 West Main Street, Greenville IL 62246, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Greenville Public Library (within shouting distance of this marker); Kendall Morse Town House (within shouting distance of this marker); Turret Building
Paid Advertisement
Click on the ad for more information.
Please report objectionable advertising to the Editor.
(about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); J. R. Bennett Building (about 400 feet away); Bond County Veterans Memorial (about 400 feet away); History of Greenville-Bond County (about 400 feet away); Weise & Bradford Store (about 500 feet away); War of 1812 Soldiers Buried in Bond County (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Greenville.
Also see . . .  Greenville. From the Illinois National Road's YouTube channel, this is a short video that talks about the history of Greenville, as well as recommend historical places to visit while there. (Submitted on January 5, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 5, 2020. It was originally submitted on January 4, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 268 times since then and 100 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 4, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

Share this page.  
Share on Tumblr

CeraNet Cloud Computing sponsors the Historical Marker Database.
U.S. FTC REQUIRED NOTICE: This website earns income from qualified purchases you make on Thank you.
Paid Advertisements

Dec. 8, 2023