Carbondale, Illinois - History

Carbondale, Illinois - History

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Carbondale, Illinois

History of Southern Illinois

The Zeigler Coal company in Franklin County purchased the latest machinery to mine coal in 1901-1902. The owner, Joseph Leiter, inherited the mine after his father passed away and hoped to run an efficient and profitable mining operation. Since the mine was highly mechanized for its time, the owner refused to recognize the Coal Miners Union scale for wages that were based on tons of coal mined by hand. As soon as coal was hoisted to the surface, coal miners went on strike and trouble began. Leiter brought in strikebreakers to work his mines and violence ensued for several years. A series of underground methane gas explosions caused considerable loss of life and convinced Leiter to close his mine for good in 1909.

When the United States entered into World War I, the federal government looked to the agricultural states to increase food production. Despite a shortage of farm workers, Illinois did its part to support the war effort, including the farmers in Southern Illinois. Virgil Marks of Murphysboro, a soldier in the Great War, described the combat action in France some 75 years later, They killed them all around me it looked like just for the fun of it. Out of 245 men, there was only 28 of us walked off. The rest were shot.

As soon as the War ended, a surplus of airplanes were converted into mail carriers or were purchased by daring young pilots, called barnstormers. Many Illinoisans saw their first airplane while standing in near a farmers barn watching daredevils fly overhead.

While the post World War I years were prosperous for many, they were troubled times for Southern Illinois coal miners. When Union miners all over the nation went on strike in 1922, Williamson County mine owner William Lester was given permission by the miners Union to continue uncovering coal in his strip mine but was not allowed to dig it up or ship it to market during the strike.

Refusing to listen to warnings of trouble, Lester dismissed his Union miners and brought in strikebreakers and guards to load and ship his unearthed coal. Union miners attacked the railroad cars hauling coal and soon surrounded the Lester Mine while its guards and strikebreakers were there. The mine supervisor called the local sheriff and reported that over 500 shots had been fired by both sides, but help never arrived.

Following an all night siege, the mines guards and strikebreakers surrendered to the Union miners the next morning and were marched toward the town of Herrin in Williamson County where they were told they would be released. Vengeance overwhelmed the angry crowd, however, as they chased and shot unarmed prisoners before reaching Herrin. Twenty people died and some of the bodies were mutilated. Although several miners were indicted, no one was successfully convicted of these crimes. After this massacre, Williamson County was to be known as Bloody Williamson.

The 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which was ratified in 1919, prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcohol. This caused a strong reaction including the rise of bootleggers and gangsters even in Southern Illinois. Some bootleggers in Southern Illinois were foreigners or Catholic. The Ku Klux Klan had always been against these groups and saw a chance to further its cause. Clansmen in Williamson County first appeared in 1923. They appointed themselves defenders of the public morals and raided many bootleg operations.

Later the Clansmen were deputized by a former government agent turned local lawman, S. Glen Young, and raided suspected operations, shooting up their places and engaging in gun fights with bootleggers. Glen Young's career came to an end when he and three other men were killed in a shoot-out in a drugstore in Herrin, Illinois.

The Shelton and Birger gangs operated in Southern Illinois in the 1920s. Shoot-outs between these and other rival gangsters and between law enforcement officers were common. After being convicted of ordering the murder of the mayor of West City, the leader of the Birger gang, Charlie Birger, was condemned to be hanged in 1928. The killings continued, however, as nearly 50 members of the Shelton clan were murdered or died under mysterious circumstances over the next 20 years.

Tornados and violent thunderstorms have always plagued this region. The worst tornado devastated the town of Murphysboro in 1925. It cut a 219-mile swath across Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. The official death toll was 689, with 210 killed in Murphysboro alone, but scores more never were accounted for. Other notable tornados occurred in 1957, again in Murphysboro, and in 1982 in Marion.

The stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression of the 1930s caused coal miners to lose their jobs when mine after mine closed. Farmers could not sell their crops and lost their land, families defaulted on their home mortgage loans, and young people from the region began leaving for the cities to find work and a better life.

Many of the banks in the area went bankrupt and people paid their bills with post office money orders and postage stamps, or traded and bartered for goods. Occasional welfare orders provided some relief for poor families and President Roosevelt's New Deal WPA program provided intermittent jobs. But many people in the region were too proud to accept much help or accept help for too long.

The people in Southern Illinois did whatever they could to get by, such as using candles instead of electricity for light, stopping newspaper and magazine subscriptions, and conserving water or even digging a well to get water free. People saved and reused all sorts of small items including buttons, old clothes, used paper, lumber and bricks, and sundry other items.

When the U.S. entered World War II in 1941, it was supported in Southern Illinois, as elsewhere, with people working in military production and with their Victory Gardens. An ordnance plant in the Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuse in Southern Illinois was built and worked around the clock to supply the military with ammunition and other ordnances. The plant is still in use today making ammunition for commercial sale. Because the crops farmers grew were going directly to the government for the War effort, everyone used every spare space in their yards or nearby fields to grow food. These gardens were called Victory Gardens.

The regions economy was better after World War II. Miners found work in the coal fields and new industry and jobs seemed to spring up nearly everywhere.

In 1951, the second worst mine disaster in the states history took place at the New Orient Coal Mine near West Frankfort in Southern Illinois. Sparks from electrical equipment touched off a pocket of methane gas, killing 119 miners. This resulted in the federal Coal Mine Safety Act of 1952 updated mine safety laws and provided for more stringent inspections of mines.

Many public schools consolidated after the War. The days of the one-room school houses and small, rural schools was rapidly coming to an end. More emphasis was given to secondary and higher education. Southern Illinois University Carbondale grew rapidly in size from 3,500 to over 23,000 students between 1950 to 1980.

Junior Colleges, the forerunner of today's Community Colleges, were initially viewed by some as extensions of local high schools. The enacted of the Junior College Act of 1965 gave them better funding and allowed for the building of campuses and extended curricula. Shawnee, Southeastern Illinois, Rend Lake, and John A. Logan Community Colleges are all located in Southern Illinois.

There were demonstrations in Southern Illinois to support the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. Some disturbances were reported, particularly after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King in 1968.

During the Vietnam War in the late 1960s, the antiwar movement spread to Southern Illinois University Carbondale. After the shootings at Kent State University in 1970, riots in Carbondale closed down the campus and ended the University's school year prematurely.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Halloween was celebrated by large crowds, estimated to be as large as 20,000 people. These large crowds took to the streets in downtown Carbondale in Halloween costumes. The celebration was peaceful and entertaining for many years but turned more violent with property damage, looting, and arson in the 1980s. Officials of the City and Southern Illinois University took measures to end the party by closing the campus and its dormitories and preventing bars and liquor establishments from selling alcohol for several days around Halloween. These measures have effectively stopped the gathering of large crowds and ended the Halloween tradition in Carbondale.

Surrounded by rivers, floods have plagued the region for decades. The Great Flood of 1993 on the Mississippi River, a smaller flood on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers and their tributaries in 1995, and flash flooding along the Ohio River in 1997 cause a great deal of property damage but no reported loss of life in Southern Illinois.

The Fayville Levee near Miller City in Alexander County was breeched in the flood of 1993 that allowed thousands of acres of farmland and many homes in the area to be flooded. Subsequent rains and high water in the Spring of 1994 continued the problem. High water and storms in 1995 caused damage in Perry County and flooding along the Ohio River basin in Saline and Gallatin counties caused property damage to some homes and farmland. Many older people were evacuated during these periods of natural disaster.

Unemployment generally higher in the southern region of the state with many of its counties exhibiting the highest unemployment rates in the state. Only Jackson County, where Southern Illinois University is located, has had an unemployment rate consistently lower than that of the U.S. or state.

Due to its high unemployment rate, communities in Southern Illinois have become more aggressive in seeking economic opportunities. Jobs associated with the building and operation of prison facilities have been sought for the region. There are currently two federal (both in Marion, IL) and many state Correctional facilities located in the southernmost 13 counties of Illinois. Inmates in these facilities are from all regions of the state.

Southern Illinois has many beautiful natural attractions and sites. Site-seeing, hunting, fishing, camping, backpacking, climbing, rappelling, hiking and other related outdoor activities are abundant in the region.

History | Touch of Nature Environmental Center | SIU

1949 - Dr. William "Bill" Freeberg returned to SIU to establish a specialization after becoming the first in the country to complete a Doctorate of Recreation at Indiana University. Both Morris and Freeberg would soon work together to create what is now Touch of Nature Environmental Center.

1949 - At a national conference, a need for outdoor education as part of the national educational curriculum was recognized. The Board of Trustees granted President Morris and Dr. Freeberg the authority to negotiate leases on land in the Little Grassy Lake area from the Department of Interior.

1950 - The Board of Trustees authorized options along the western shores of Little Grassy Lake, and the University acquired 150 acres of land from the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service.

1954 - A Master Plan for the development of the Little Grassy Lake site was approved by the SIU Board of Trustees, and was accepted by the Fish and Wildlife Service in February. The development of the University's outdoor education program was sponsored jointly by the University and by the Educational Council of 100. 

1954 - Department of Recreation and Outdoor Education was established. Part of the new Department's responsibility included the supervision and development of a camping program at the Little Grassy Lake Campus. William Freeberg was appointed Chairman of the Department.

1959 - Lloyd Burgess (L.B.) Sharp, pioneer in outdoor education, accepted a faculty position at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He relocated the Outdoor Education Association to campus and influenced the establishment of the outdoor experiential education facility Touch of Nature Environmental Center. National Camp closed in 1962. Sharp died in 1963.

1963 - The Little Grassy Lake Campus was made a separate unit, no longer administered by the Department of Recreation and Outdoor Education, and the name was changed to Little Grassy Facilities. William F. Price was appointed Coordinator.

1968 - Little Grassy Facilities became the central campus for the larger surrounding Outdoor Laboratory.

1969 - Hank Schafermeyer, a forestry graduate student at SIU, with the help of Tony Calabrese, started the Underway Adventures program.  Schafermeyer based the program off of the Outward Bound program, a week-long program giving coed youths and adults a taste of rock climbing, high ropes courses, team building and other outdoor activities.

1972 - The National Park Service named Touch of Nature a National Environmental Education Landmark.  This distinguished honor was only given to 11 sites around the United States with Touch of Nature as the first of its kind in the nation.

1973 - SIU's Outdoor Laboratory changed its name to Touch of Nature Environmental Center.

1974 - Year round programming began to be offered.

1978 - Soon after retiring, William Freeberg started the Friends of Touch of Nature, a group dedicated to raising funds and awareness about Camp Little Giant. 

1980 - With the cooperation and contracts with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and the Department of Corrections, a Youth Advocacy Program was initiated. The program later took the name Spectrum Wilderness Therapy.

1980 - Camp Little Giant was awarded the Eleanor P. Eells Award by the American Camping Association.

1991 - In honor of his hard work and dedication, the Camp II dining hall at Touch of Nature was named Freeberg Hall. In keeping with Dr. Freeberg's lifelong pursuit, a living memorial in the form of an endowed scholarship fund has been established.

1995 - The Wilderness Education Association held their national conference at Touch of Nature. The keynote speaker was the legendary outdoor educator Paul Petzoldt.

1999 - Camp Little Giant starts Dyna Camp, a camp for children with attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

2006 - The Environmental Education Program starts Eco Camp. A weekly theme-based environmental day camp for children.

2009 - The Underway Adventures Program starts Wild Outdoor Week (WOW) Camp. An adventure-based day camp for children entering grades 5-8.  

2013 - SIU's Department of Health Education and Recreation started offering classes at Touch of Nature. The classes include Land Navigation, Backpacking, Canoeing, Leave No Trace Trainer, Rock Climbing, Therapeutic Recreation and Wilderness Medicine.

2014 - SIU alumni JD Tanner becomes Director of Touch of Nature Environmental Center. 

2014 - The Therapeutic Recreation Program started a fall respite camp for adults with developmental disabilities. The camp is a partnership with the Recreation Department, as well as being an experiential class for students studying Therapeutic Recreation.

2015 - Touch of Nature hosted Dawg Days, an extended orientation for incoming SIU freshmen.  

2017 - Touch of Nature hosted Camp BETA, a residential camp for children with diabetes.  

2018 - Touch of Nature celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Special Olympics with Change the Game Day.  Sledgefoot Lounge was renamed Burke Lounge after Justice Ann Burke who was instrumental in developing the first Special Olympics in Chicago in July, 1968.  

2018 - The intern house, known as the "Red House," was named the Cavaletto House, in honor of Illinois State Representative John Cavaletto for his work with Camp Little Giant and Dr. Freeberg in the 50's and early 60's.  That same day, the Camp 1 Dining Hall was named Schafermayer Hall in honor of Underway Adventures cofounder Hank Schafermayer who passed away in December, 2017.  

History of SIH

In 1938, local physicians Dr. J.W. Barrow and Dr. Leo J. Brown formed a partnership to practice medicine in Carbondale, Illinois. Two years later, they were joined by Dr. John Lewis and Dr. John Taylor, eventually calling their group the Carbondale Clinic. The physicians practiced together until World War II intervened, leaving only one of them behind to treat patients. When the group reassembled after the war, their increasing knowledge of medicine made it obvious to them that new medical specialties would be needed in the region. To carry out their plans they needed their own hospital but, under Illinois law, would also need their own corporation for ownership.

About that time, Dr. Brown made a trip to nearby Herrin Hospital to promote his radiology services. Herrin Hospital had been built in 1914 as a center for black lung disease and other coal mine-related injuries ten dollars was taken out of each miner&rsquos paycheck to fund the hospital. By the end of the war, the town was economically depressed and it was doubtful the hospital could remain open. Upon Dr. Brown&rsquos visit to Herrin in 1946, he learned the hospital was for sale for the asking price of $105,000. Two days later, the four physicians of the Carbondale Clinic formed the not-for-profit Southern Illinois Hospital Corporation in order to purchase Herrin Hospital.

Shortly thereafter, the doctors decided to move ahead with plans to also construct their own hospital, and by 1950 Doctors Hospital had opened in Carbondale. In 1961, they also purchased nearby Holden Hospital, which was subsequently torn down to expand Doctors Hospital, rather than attempt to renovate the facility originally built in 1875 as a drug treatment center.

The two remaining hospitals in Herrin and Carbondale existed as Southern Illinois Healthcare until 1995, when it was agreed they would purchase St. Joseph Memorial Hospital in nearby Murphysboro, Illinois. St. Joseph had begun as a makeshift emergency center after a railroad accident in 1895. The Franciscan Sisters, who spearheaded the permanent facility originally called St. Andrews, ran the hospital for 58 years before handing it over to the Sisters Adorers of the Most Precious Blood. When the current facility was built in 1960, the name was changed to St. Joseph from St. Andrew to avoid confusion with a local public home for aged men.

Today, Southern Illinois Healthcare remains a not-for-profit integrated health system and employs nearly 3,400 people. It is now comprised of over thirty facilities, including three inpatient hospitals, three clinics, numerous physician offices, three walk-in clinics and dedicated centers that include neurology, cancer, heart, sleep and rehabilitation.

Although the three hospitals retain strong individual cultures from their very diverse beginnings, the corporation as a whole is still guided by the values of its founding physicians: respect, integrity, compassion, collaboration, stewardship, accountability and quality. They remain as committed to quality health services today as when the first hospital opened, and strive to treat every patient as if that patient is the person most cared about in the world, and treat them like that person every single time.

Where to Discover Egypt in Illinois

Southern Illinois University

Many people don’t realize that Southern Illinois University’s mascot was originally the Maroons. In 1951 the name was changed to the Salukis, an ancient breed of Egyptian hunting dog. In 1953, the school received their first real Saluki as a mascot and named him “King Tut.” A pyramid-shaped tomb stands in front of the Saluki Stadium.

King Tut was buried (after being run over by a car) near the corner of the football stadium, and a cement pyramid was built as a gravestone. With the building of a new stadium, his pyramid was moved directly in front of the entrance. Fans now touch this marker for luck before entering. A Saluki: an ancient breed of Egyptian hunting dog and the mascot of SIU.

Click here to see the best places WITH POOLS to stay in Carbondale.

Old Illinois Passenger Depot Railroad Museum

Built in 1903 by the Illinois Central Railroad, the Old Railroad Passenger Depot has since been restored and now serves as home to the Carbondale Train Museum. Filled with information, artifacts and souveniers, the museum contains significant facts relating to Carbondale's history. Ring the bell of an original train car from the Illinois Central Railroad, which still sits on the track!


This caboose presented to the city of Carbondale by Station Carbondale, Inc. as an educational and historic reminder of the positive impact railroads had on the early development of our city and nation.

Built in 1903 by the Illinois Central Railroad, the Old Railroad Passenger Depot has since been restored and now serves as home to the Carbondale Train Museum. Filled with information, artifacts and souveniers, the museum contains significant facts relating to Carbondale's history. Ring the bell of an original train car from the Illinois Central Railroad, which still sits on the track!

History of Southern Illinois

In 1858, Abraham Lincoln ran for the U.S. Senate against Stephen A. Douglas. A debate was held in seven towns in Illinois, one being near Jonesboro in Southern Illinois. The Lincoln-Douglas debates garnered national attention as telegraph stories were printed in newspapers throughout the East. Although Douglas won the election, these debates made Lincoln famous beyond the borders of the state that helped lead to his election as President in 1860.

Since many of the people living in Southern Illinois were first or second-generation Southerners and since the region was loyal to the Democratic Party (which opposed the War), the Civil War caused mixed loyalties in this region. Most young men from the region joined the Union army, but a small contingent joined Confederate Regiments in the South. Many people took pride in the fact that the Union was led by an adopted native son, Abraham Lincoln, and the state provided over 250,000 soldiers to the Union army. It also was the weapons manufacturer, supplier of iron products, and major grain and meat supplier for the North.

Cairo, Illinois, at the southern tip where the Ohio River joins the Mississippi, was of strategic importance. On either side of the rivers were states that were sympathetic and supplied troops to the Confederate army. Cairo also served as a staging area for Union Army expeditions into the Confederate states of Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi.

The first garrison to occupy Cairo were from the 8th, 9th, 10th, and 12th Regiments of the Illinois Volunteer Infantry, many of whom were volunteers from Southern Illinois. A few months later, local Congressman John A. Logan, D-Illinois, received the commission of Colonel in the Union Army and recruited the 31st Regiment of the Illinois Volunteer Infantry that was made up almost entirely of recruits from the southern counties of Illinois.

The 31st Regiment fought in the campaign to rid Missouri and Kentucky of Confederate soldiers but was involved in only a few skirmishes. However, this action gave new recruits the training they sorely needed for future campaigns. Col. Logan and the 31st Regiment fought with General U.S. Grant in Tennessee at Fort Donaldson and in Mississippi at Corinth and Vicksburg. Promoted to the rank of General, Logan lead the 31st Regiment into eight major battles and campaigns, including General Sherman's advance on Atlanta, march to the sea through Georgia, and battles in the Carolinas.

Many of the river gun boats and support craft used in the Civil War against the Confederacy on the Cumberland, Tennessee, and Mississippi rivers were built or refitted at the docks in Mound City on the Ohio River in Southern Illinois. A National Cemetery is located in Mound City and 4,800 veterans of the Civil War are buried there.

Not everyone in Illinois backed the Unions war effort. Called Copperheads because they struck without warning like the deadly snake, violent gangs committed all manner of outrages. One gang, called the Clingman gang, was finally chased out of Southern Illinois by angry residents.

After the Civil War, in April 1866, citizens brought flowers to decorate the graves of the Civil War soldiers buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Carbondale, Illinois. A clergyman and several other dignitaries, including General Logan, participated in the ceremonies. This was one of the first organized observances of what we now call Memorial Day. Later, General Logan became the national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, the largest and most influential organization of Civil War veterans. In 1868, General Logan ordered all GAR posts to observe May 30th as a day of remembrance, which eventually became a national holiday.

Cairo became the staging area for blacks arriving from the South after the Civil War, but many did not find what they expected. There was little work for blacks and they did not have enough money to buy farms. Many returned to the South and became sharecroppers.

Concerned about public education after the war, the Illinois General Assembly authorized and funded advanced training and education of public school teachers by authorizing among others, the Southern Illinois Normal University at Carbondale in 1869. After achieving full university status including degrees of higher education in many fields and being nationally known as an institution of research, it changed its name to Southern Illinois University in 1947.

Southern Illinois clay supplied the raw materials for brick manufacturers, used to construct buildings as the wood supply dwindled. By the 1870s, Illinois was exporting large quantities of bricks. Bricks made in Murphysboro were used in the construction of the Panama Canal.

Fluorspar, a beautiful crystallized mineral used in the making of glass and steel in the early days and in fiberglass and welding rods later, was mined in Southern Illinois in Hardin County since before the Civil War. The federal government stockpiled Fluorspar for use in uranium enrichment. The mine is now closed.

A feud between families in Williamson County, called the Bloody Vendetta, lasted nearly ten years and was responsible for many deaths. In all, there were 495 assaults with a deadly weapon and 285 murders in Williamson County between 1839 and 1876. This was very unusual as crime was virtually non-existent in Illinois during its frontier years prior to this period of lawlessness.

The existence of coal was known since 1673, but commercial coal mining did not begin until 1810 near Murphysboro. By the mid 1800s, coal miners were at work throughout Southern Illinois. The early years of mining coal were hard, dangerous, and did not pay the miners well. Attempts to organize miners were often met with resistance that caused bloody confrontations with mine owners in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Carbondale Illinois history

Before any formal holiday existed, the idea to recognize the war dead with a day of commemoration can be attributed to dozens of communities that organized events adorning the grave sites of local soldiers killed in the Civil War.

Holding prayer ceremonies at grave sites and placing flowers on graves was not an original concept, but beyond the church groups, large turnouts of people of all faiths and races, whether churchgoers or not, were gaining momentum and support for their act of of kindness and reverence. Nearly every town in America had buried dead from the horror of the Civil War and nearly every town had a cemetery as a reminder of the terrible loss.

Carbondale, Illinois home of one of the earliest infantry regiments in that state, has a stone marker that recognizes it as the first site of a Decoration Day ceremony, although it too was held several years before the holiday was officially enacted. Their reasoning is valid thanks to the stirring words of a hometown General, John A. Logan, who would later be credited as the “Father of Memorial Day.” “Tell my wife, tell my sister, mother, that I died with my face to the enemy that my country might live that the principles of liberty and freedom might be enjoyed and that they might be protected by the laws and Constitution.”

General John A. Logan

But like Carbondale, other cities also claimed the distinction.

Columbus, Mississippi, was one town that buried many. After the bloody Battle of Shiloh, many of the wounded and war dead were sent by train to the small Southern town just above the Tombigbee River. Thousands of soldiers on both sides of the battle were interred at the hopefully named Friendship Cemetery. In April of 1866, several Columbus women went to the cemetery and brought bouquets of garland, blossoms, lilies and roses to the site. Miss Matt Moreton was among the gatherers. Moreton was a recent widow. Her husband was a victim of the war. One by one, she and the other women placed flowers on the graves of over a thousand Confederate souls. Miss Moreton showing no partiality, did the same for the federal’s soldiers grave sites as well. “This first act of floral reconciliation was discussed in praise and censure,” a local described. “[But] this sweet woman with whom God has blessed the earth – volunteered, of her own mind, to strew flowers upon the Federal’s graves too. not just upon the fallen Confederates.”

The Mississippi Index praised the event: “We were glad to see that no distinction was made between our own dead and about forty Federal soldiers, who slept their last sleep by them. It proved the exalted, unselfish tone of the female character. Confederate and Federal—once enemies, now friends—receiving this tribute of respect.”

The act prompted Francis Miles Finch to write a poem, famously titled The Blue and the Gray.

…From the silence of sorrowful hours

Lovingly laden with flowers

Alike for the friend and the foe

Under the sod and the dew, Waiting the judgement-day

Under the lilies, the Gray.

The Columbus Women

Moreton and three other local women were given credit for the gesture, and their story is remembered today in Columbus, where Memorial Day services are still carried out in the same manner.

A century later, in 1966, thanks to a presidential proclamation signed by Lyndon B. Johnson, the New York town of Waterloo, built along the banks of the Cayuga-Seneca Canal, holds the official distinction of being the “birthplace of Memorial Day.”

The effort was originally spearheaded by the governor of New York at the time, Nelson D. Rockefeller, who recognized Waterloo as the first village-wide, annual observance of a day to honor the war dead. The local resolution was inspiring enough to be taken up by Congress, passed by the House and Senate, and sent to the President for approval. Here’s Waterloo’s story: 100 years earlier, in the summer of 1866, Henry Welles, a druggist, suggested a day of social gathering not only to honor the living soldiers but remember the fallen ones as well. General John B. Murray supported the idea and instituted a plan. It was more like a funeral procession. Flags were flown at half-staff and black bunting was hung in respect as soldiers and townsfolk marched to three village cemeteries and placed flowers on the gravesides. The next year, in similar fashion, they did it again, and again the following year, and in each year since.

Perhaps the largest and earliest pre-holiday ceremony was held in Charleston, South Carolina, in a large field known as the Race Course, where prized horses once ran. During the Civil War, the infield was used as a prisoner-of-war camp. Hundreds of mostly young men were either held there or awaited transfer to larger prison camps, like Belle Isle in Richmond or Andersonville in Georgia. Many never made it out of the Race Course, suffering from sicknesses like dysentery, which spread quickly in the inhumane conditions and tight quarters. Some 257 men perished and were quickly buried in a pasture nearby.

In May of 1865, just a year after the war ended, several Charleston residents, went out to see the gravesites, just mounds of dirt really, and still fresh, noted one observer, “with the marks of the hoofs of cattle and horses and feet of men.” They decided to erect a fence and place a monument on the site.

May Day Ceremonies in Charleston

Then, on May 1, 1865, May Day, nearly 3,000 local schoolchildren and “double that the number of grown-ups” went to the Washington Race Course with bouquets of roses and other “sweet smelling flowers.” James Redpath, known as “Uncle James,” a witness, remembered the event. “The children marched from the Race Course singing the John Brown Song and then, silently and reverently, and with heads uncovered, they entered the burial ground and covered the graves with flowers. “It was the first free May Day gathering they ever enjoyed,” Redpath noted, referring to the “colored” children present and their parents, former slaves.

Three years later, on May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan of the Union Veterans—the Grand Army of the Republic—established a day for all Americans to decorate with flowers the graves of war heroes.

On May 30 1868, just as Logan had ordered, the first Memorial Day service (then known as “Decoration Day”) took place at Arlington Cemetery.


In 1979, Mike McNerney founded American Resources Group, Ltd. (ARG), in Carbondale, Illinois, with the goal of helping businesses with their permitting needs while simultaneously protecting the cultural resources and heritage of the United States. As things were just starting out at ARG, the historic Oil Embargo was causing an energy crisis in the United States. As U.S. energy companies responded, those in southern Illinois turned to their most abundant energy resource: coal. Surface mining began virtually overnight, and ARG was there to protect the many significant prehistoric and historic cultural resources in the area. By 1984, ARG had surveyed over 18,000 acres of land in the coal fields of southern Illinois and had identified and excavated hundreds of significant archaeological sites destined to be impacted by surface mining. From the successful completion of these large-scale projects, ARG gained a reputation for excellence in the field of cultural resources management and began serving the coal-mining industry in Indiana and Kentucky as well.

The preservation of the nation&rsquos prehistoric and historic cultural resources has always been an important goal for ARG. In the mid-1980s, a publication division within the company called American Kestrel Books was created to present and disseminate the results of our historical and archaeological research projects to the general public in an inexpensive and popular format. In addition, ARG began providing interpretive services and developing exhibits for the Army Corps of Engineers visitor centers, local museums, and clients&rsquo offices.

ARG&rsquos commitment to promoting historic preservation is further demonstrated by the restoration of its corporate headquarters. In 1980, Mike McNerney bought the F.A. Prickett Building, a derelict 1903 commercial building and restored it to its original historic appearance. This effort, in turn, led to other historic preservation projects and the revitalization of Carbondale&rsquos Old Town Square. The F.A. Pricket Building continues to house ARG&rsquos corporate offices, and the profile of its distinctive turret is reflected in the company logo.

By the late 1980s and early 1990s, ARG had expanded its services beyond the coal industry and was engaged in a number of other energy-related projects, including Ameren&rsquos nuclear power plant in central Missouri and Northern Border Pipeline Company&rsquos natural gas pipelines across east-central Iowa and west-central Illinois. In addition to these large-scale energy projects, ARG continued to provide cultural resource management services to private-sector firms throughout the Midwest involved with residential and commercial development and the expansion of utilities and communications infrastructure. ARG&rsquos work for state and federal agencies remained another mainstay of its overall business operation throughout the 1980s and 1990s and continues to this day.

ARG entered a transitional period in 2002 when Mike McNerney and Steve Titus became co-owners of the company. Mr. Titus, a senior staff archaeologist who had worked for Mr. McNerney for nearly two decades, became sole owner of ARG in 2005.

During the past decade, ARG has expanded its geographical range of operations, building on the foundation of satisfied customers established during the company&rsquos first quarter-century of business while taking advantage of the opportunities presented by our nation&rsquos changing energy needs. ARG&rsquos coal field work in Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky has continued to the present, as has its work for a wide-range of private-sector clients and federal agencies, the former including public utilities in Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana (AmerenUE, AmerenCIPS, and Vectren, respectively) and the latter including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. However, as the national security dimension of American energy policy has come into sharper focus, ARG became increasingly involved in assisting with the permitting needs of pipeline companies transporting gas from domestic sources and those importing oil from Canada. The work ARG has conducted along two of Kinder Morgan&rsquos Rockies Express natural gas pipelines and three of TransCanada&rsquos Keystone crude oil pipelines has been the vehicle for ARG&rsquos expansion into the Plains states of Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Moreover, the experience gained through conducting the cultural resources investigations of these large-scale, linear corridors led to the company&rsquos work on high-voltage transmission-line construction corridors being built by SunFlower Electric in Kansas and the Nebraska Public Power District in Nebraska.

The technological and operational innovations ARG has adopted to meet the unique challenges posed by these large-scale, fast-paced construction projects have further improved our ability to satisfy our customers&rsquo permitting needs while preserving our national heritage. With nearly 40 years of cultural resource management experience, our present and future customers are assured of prompt, professional service.


An Act of the Twenty-sixth General Assembly of Illinois, approved March 9, 1869, created Southern Illinois Normal College, the second state-supported normal school in Illinois. [12] Carbondale held the ceremony of cornerstone laying, May 17, 1870. [13] The first historic session of Southern Illinois Normal University was a summer institute, with a first faculty of eight members and an enrollment of 53 students. [14] It was renamed Southern Illinois University in 1947.

The university continued primarily as a teacher's college until Delyte W. Morris took office as president of the university in 1948. Morris was SIU's longest-serving president (1948–1970). [15] During his presidency, Morris transformed SIU, adding Colleges of Law, Medicine and Dentistry. Southern Illinois University grew rapidly in size from 3,500 to over 24,800 students between 1950 and 1991. [16]

In 1957, a second campus of SIU was established at Edwardsville. This school, now known as Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, is an independent university within the SIU system.

SIU offered the first program to provide support to students with specific learning disabilities at a college level. "Project Achieve" was founded at SIU by Barbara Cordoni Kupiec in 1978. She pursued a career in the field initially to help her own children, and left behind a legacy that has assisted several thousand other students in earning their degrees. In 1983, Project Achieve became the Clinical Center Achieve program when SIUC decided to institutionalize the program, making it a permanent part of the university's structure.

Randy Dunn was the eighth president of the Southern Illinois University System. [17] In July 2018, he stepped down as SIU system president after emails published in The Southern Illinoisan and The Daily Egyptian revealed he was attempting to divide the SIU system and help Southern Illinois University Edwardsville become the primary campus for the Southern Illinois University System by concealing over $5 million in funds transferred from Southern Illinois University Carbondale to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. [18] He was also implicated in several unethical hires and found at fault by the Illinois Office of Executive Inspector General for improperly hiring his former colleague, Brad Colwell. [19] Dunn was replaced by J. Kevin Dorsey, a retired dean from the SIU School of Medicine. [20]

Carlo Montemagno, a professor of engineering, became chancellor of SIU Carbondale on August 15, 2017. He died on October 11, 2018. [21] Austin Lane, formerly of Texas Southern University, was appointed chancellor in 2020. [22]

USNWR graduate school rankings [29]

USNWR departmental rankings [29]

SIU offers more than 300 [9] [30] academic degree programs across all levels: bachelors, masters, PhD and doctoral. It also offers professional programs in architecture, [31] business, law and medicine. Since 1989, SIU has offered an MD/JD dual degree program, [32] leading to the concurrent award of both degrees after completion of six years of coursework. [32] [33]

The university is classified among "R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity." [34] In the academic year 2017-2018 the university was awarded over $78 million in research grants, the largest of which were to the School of Medicine and the College of Science. [35]

SIU Carbondale is ranked #258 overall among "National Universities" in the 2021 edition of annual college rankings by US News & World Report. [36] At SIU, 59% of the classes have 19 or fewer students 82% of classes have less than 29 students, only 5% of classes include 50 or more students. The ratio of students to faculty is 15 to 1 and the percentage of full-time faculty is 83 percent. [37] Additionally, the National Science Foundation ranks SIU No. 75 among public universities in the U.S. for total research and development expenditures, and No. 64 among earned doctorates. [38]

The Princeton Review ranked SIU in its 2017 list of "Best Midwestern" and "Green Colleges" as well as ranking it #43 in the "Top 50 Game Design: Ugrad" list. [39]

College Year founded
College of Agricultural Sciences [40] 1955
College of Applied Sciences & Arts [41] 1950
College of Business [42] 1957
College of Education & Human Services [43] 1869
College of Engineering [44] 1961
College of Liberal Arts [45] 1943
College of Mass Communication & Media Arts [46] 1993
College of Science [45] 1943
School of Law 1972
School of Medicine 1970

College of Agricultural Sciences Edit

The College of Agricultural Sciences consists of four academic departments: Agribusiness Economics, Animal Science, Food & Nutrition, Forestry, and Plant, Soil & Agricultural Systems. There are eight majors and twenty-six specializations. The college's Ph.D. program was added in December 2007. The Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences is a research degree that prepares graduates for developing and funding their own research program, and for teaching graduate and undergraduate students. [47]

College of Applied Sciences and Arts Edit

Since its inception as the Vocational Technical Institute, CASA has undergone continuous change to address the workforce needs in the southern Illinois region, the state and the nation. The College presently includes four schools which house three master's degree programs, fourteen baccalaureate, and two associate degree programs. The masters of science in Medical Dosimetry and one baccalaureate program, Fire Service Management, are offered off-campus only. CASA provides off-campus opportunities to receive baccalaureate degrees in the areas of Aviation Management, Electronic Systems Technologies, Fire Service Management, Health Care Management, and Medical Dosimetry. The baccalaureate degree in Information Systems Technologies is offered online. Forty-nine hours of upper-level and selected elective courses are available to students at various locations throughout the country. [48]

Libraries Edit

Morris Library is the main library for the Southern Illinois University Carbondale campus. The library holds more than 4 million volumes, 53,000 current periodicals and serials, and over 3.6 million microform units. Morris Library also provides access to the statewide automated library system and to an array of electronic sources. [49] [50] These figures make Morris Library among the top 50 largest research libraries in the United States. Library users have access to I-Share (the statewide automated library system) and to a comprehensive array of databases and other electronic data files. As the campus center for access to academic information and collaborative academic technology projects, Morris Library provides a wide range of services, including reference assistance, instructional and technical support, distance learning, geographic information systems (GIS), and multimedia courseware development. Morris Library is a member of the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI), Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA). Delyte's, a new coffee shop named after former SIU President Delyte W. Morris, operates near the entrance of the library. [51]

The SIU Law Library provides legal research resources for lawyers, law students, SIU faculty and staff and members of the community. Located in the Lesar Law Building, the library has evolved to meet the changing nature of legal research and user expectations by providing wireless access to a wide array of electronic legal materials. [52]

Student Center Edit

With over 8 acres (3.24 ha) of floor space, the SIU Student Center is one of the largest student unions in the nation. [53] The programs and services offered provide SIU students, faculty, and staff a place to relax, gather a group to study or grab a bite to eat. The Student Center hosts multiple dining locations, the University Bookstore, ATM and Western Union stations, bowling & billiards facility, check cashing services, the ID Card office, and Debit Dawg activations and deposits all under one roof. The Student Center offers several ballrooms and smaller, expandable conference rooms for small or large gatherings. Student-run radio station WIDB 104.3 FM [54] broadcasts from the Student Center, and the Black Affairs Office, International Student Council, Student Programming Council, student governments and the Greek Council have offices in the building.

Watch the video: Carbondale, IL Random Locations - July 1987


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