Horseshoe Lake, 2016

Edwardsville-Glen Carbon Community Partnership

May 8, 2019

Last modified: August 28, 2019

The relationship between Edwardsville and Glen Carbon has become increasingly complicated over the last hundred years. The partnership pervasive throughout both communities today is the result of many decades of community engagement and, at times, rivalry. While in the first half of the 20th century the two cities were in competition economically, in the latter half they found ways to coexist and establish mutually beneficial institutions resulting in the positive relationship that currently exists.

The Edwardsville Chamber of Commerce was established in 1924 as an effort to help the town gain prestige and boost economic activity. A similar organization had existed previously, but only met when urgent situations presented themselves.1 Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the chamber effectively galvanized business interests in Edwardsville and worked with various local organizations to hold community events, such as an annual picnic established in conjunction with the Madison County Farm Bureau in the late 1920s.2

As the nearby village of Glen Carbon grew, however, the two communities’ interests increasingly intertwined, and a new approach to community and business development became necessary. The Glen Carbon – Edwardsville Relations Committee held its first meeting January 31, 1962. Sponsored by the Edwardsville Chamber of Commerce, the committee of six members, three from Edwardsville and three from Glen Carbon, was created to foster the relationship of the two towns for the betterment of both.3 During the meeting, the mayor of Glen Carbon acknowledged the antagonism that existed between his community and its larger neighbor.4

A series appeared in the Edwardsville Intelligencer in the mid-1970s exploring the status of the relationship between the two communities at that time as well as the potential for a positive partnership in the future. Highlighting urban development and economic competition, the series underscored the benefits of fostering a collaborative association to join the two localities.5 John Elliff, a resident of Glen Carbon at that time, reflects on this time of contention, highlighting the independent growth of both cities, but stating eventually many organizations formed to help both under the “Ed-Glen” or “Glen-Ed” moniker.6

In the final two decades of the 20th century, a concerted effort was made to establish a positive working relationship between the two communities. As their populations grew, so too did their respective economies. Today, the Ed-Glen Chamber of Commerce serves as an exemplar of the success of the partnership established between the communities. Representing 500 businesses in the area, the organization promotes private sector economic growth in the region – a goal that was set back in 1924 when the chamber only represented Edwardsville’s interests.7 The Glen Ed Pantry serves as another example of this dual-community improvement. Established in 1980, it represents 18 churches from both communities and provides food and other daily necessities for families in need.8

Despite times of uncertainty, the last century has seen the establishment of a partnership between Edwardsville and Glen Carbon that has proven successful for both communities. This working suburban relationship resulted in a rise not only in business and residential development, but also an increase in organizations that foster community development not confined by municipal limits.

Endnotes   [ + ]

1. “Younger Men Act,” The Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Illinois), February 12, 1924.
2. “Picnic Details to be Planned Within Few Days,” The Edwardsville Intelligencer, July 9, 1927.
3. “Edwardsville – ‘Glen’ Relations Group to Meet,” The Edwardsville Intelligencer, January 24, 1962.
4. “Antagonism Exists Between Towns Says ‘Glen’ Man,” The Edwardsville Intelligencer, February 1, 1962.
5. Terry Hillig, “Communities Share Interests,” The Edwardsville Intelligencer, June 6, 1975.
6. John Elliff, interview by Rachel Gattuso, July 13, 2017, Madison Historical: The Online Encyclopedia and Digital Archive for Madison County, Illinois.
7. About Us,” Edwardsville Glen Carbon Chamber of Commerce, accessed February 16, 2019.
8. About the Pantry,” Glen Ed Pantry, accessed February 16, 2019.
Cite this article: Kendyl Schmidt, "Edwardsville-Glen Carbon Community Partnership," Madison Historical: The Online Encyclopedia and Digital Archive for Madison County, Illinois, last modified August 28, 2019, https://madison-historical.siue.edu/encyclopedia/ed-glen-community-partnership/.
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