My Photo Walk: Belleville, Illinois
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22 - Belleville 5 22 - Belleville 2 My daughter Lauren is in the Air Force, and she is relocating to Scott Air Force Base near Belleville, IL. We came here to house hunt this week, which was happily a success, and before we leave tomorrow, I wanted to do a photo walk in the town.
In 1814 George Blair named the town Belleville, French for "Beautiful City," hoping to attract newcomers to settle here. By the mid 1800's, German immigrants flocked here to live, and they comprised 90% of the population. Coal mining came to the area, along with iron foundries, and the town grew, especially with the arrival of the steam engine railroad to move goods. Today, Belleville is a suburb of St. Louis, 30 minutes to the west, and the air force base, located to the east, brings in lots of military and support personnel.
22 - Belleville 1 22 - Belleville 3 Belleville's main street is wide, lined with shops and restaurants on both sides. There were only a few vacant storefronts when I walked today. I especially liked Ben's, a huge variety store with arts and crafts, clothing, framing, toys, artificial flowers, and more. I found an antiques and vintage clothing shop housed in an old hardware store known as Keil's.
I walked about five blocks each way along East Main. In the middle of Main Street there is a public square with a flowing fountain. Beyond it is West Main. On the brick walls of some of the buildings there were murals and fading advertising signs. Do you know what "relieves fatigue" and only costs 5 cents? It's still going strong today, but at higher prices.
22 - Belleville 4 22 - Belleville 6 Surrounding the old town of Belleville are modern shopping centers and big box stores, but there's still charm and plenty of local business in downtown Belleville. I'll be back, I'm sure.
All photos in “My Daily Photo Walk" are for sale upon request.
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