WelcomeWe are pleased to offer you this edition of the Tri-Cities Area Community Guide. This guide is intended to provide you with an overview of the Tri-Cities Area Community, its institutions, and government services. After you read this guide, we hope you will come to the Tri-Cities Area and take a closer look at everything our area has to offer.

Throughout this booklet you will read about the area’s excellent park districts, police and fire departments, exceptional schools, residential neighborhoods, churches and extensive business community. We are home to international motor sports with easy access to St. Louis professional sports and other entertainment, cultural and educational centers.

The Tri-Cities Area Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organization, made up ofVolunteers from the business community who give their time and energy to promote our community and businesses. Many times the Chamber is the first point of contact when someone is looking to move into or open a new business in the Tri-Cities Area. We are proud to recommend the Tri-Cities Area as a place to live, work and do business.

The Officers and Directors of the Chamber are committed to working with the local units of government to encourage economic development and positive growth through cooperative efforts and pooled resources.

We invite you to call the Chamber at (618) 876-6400 or stop by our office at 3600 Nameoki Road, Granite City for further information on the Tri-Cities or the Chamber of Commerce. You may also contact us by fax (618) 876-6448, our website address is www.chamber.granitecity.com and e-mail www.chamber@granitecity.com.

R.C. Bush

Executive Director


Welcome to my hometown, Granite City, Illinois. Granite City is a city that is proud of its heritage and positive about its future.

Founded in 1896, Granite City is an outstanding place to work, do business, raise a family and to genuinely enjoy life. Our stable city government, exemplary school system, quality park district and safe environment offer our citizens a small town quality of life mere minutes from a major metropolitan center.

Granite City residents are easily able to avail themselves of the major shopping areas, cultural facilities, sporting events, restaurants and excitement of metropolitan St. Louis while living in a city that prides itself in its sense of community and caring.

Once youVisit my hometown, get to know its heritage and friendly people, I know you will want to come back again and again, and just maybe, you may want to make Granite City your hometown.


Ronald L. Selph, Mayor

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CityColorful banners line the main thoroughfares of Granite City and proudly proclaim its "Progress through Heritage."

The city’s heritage is marked by the 17 flags, from as many European nations, which fly in a memorial park in the heart of downtown. The flags celebrate the origins of the people of Granite City.

A city born of rock and steel, Granite City grew up a mill town, drawing its expanding population from among the flood of Central European immigrants who came to this new land in search of freedom and opportunity. Strong willed and hardworking, these people built the many solid brick homes that still stand, today housing newer generations that are equally hardworking and determined to succeed.

GirlsHeritage is found in the handsome city parks–the largest, 74 acres–that dot the city and provide wholesome recreation for all residents. There is heritage, too, in the many attractive churches that guide the spirit of the community.

Granite City is the city of convenience. Most shopping is centered along one main thoroughfare. A fine public school system has spread its elementary schools throughout the neighborhoods where children can easily walk to school. Its large high school just completed a $14 million renovation and modernization, and is conveniently centered in the community. A state-of-the-art hospital is also located in the heart of the city.

CoupleAs growth extends into nearby areas, Granite City has become the hub of the expanding Tri-Cities Area. Since the 1960’s the surrounding towns and villages of Madison,Venice, and Pontoon Beach have taken advantage of their close proximity to major highway systems and have developed land for aVariety of commercial and recreational uses. This development, which is expected to continue, draws both industry and residents; populations in the three towns range from 5,000 to 6,000.

Madison has been revitalized with the arrival of Gateway International Raceway and the hundreds of thousands of racing fans who come to town each year. A large number of motels and restaurants have been built to accommodate the influx ofVisitors.Venice, connected to the north side of downtown St. Louis by the McKinley Bridge, is the area’s major rail center with major trunk lines providing freight service to Tri-Cities Area businesses. Accelerated growth, both commercial and residential, is taking place in Pontoon Beach where open land, located near four major interstates, is ripe for development.

Granite City is a wonderful city, full of the same eagerness and optimism that 100 years ago inspired the settlers of what was then called Six Mile Prairie, that built the homes, the churches, the schools, the parks, and the mills, and made Granite City strong.

A century of progress through heritage is past and Granite City and its neighboring towns look to the future with confidence in themselves and their people.

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HeritageGranite City was founded in 1896 – a century ago – but its history goes back to the early 1800s when it was called Six Mile Prairie or just Six Mile. Six Mile was a farming area that developed in the 1830s when pioneer families migrating westward chose to settle where the soil was richest, on the bottom land east of the Mississippi River. These farmers traveled the six miles to St. Louis to sell their produce and buy supplies, hence the name Six Mile Prairie.

Before mid-century, the National Road was constructed from the East to St. Louis, coursing through the Six Mile area. Built of planks, it assured that farm wagons loaded with produce would not become bogged down in mud after a heavy rain. The railroad came through Six Mile Prairie in 1865.

Two German immigrants changed the face of Six Mile. They were the Niedringhaus brothers, Frederick and William. The two arrived in St. Louis in the 1850s. In 1857, they began producing kitchen utensils, at first by hand and later by machines that stamped out utensils from a single sheet of metal. Early in 1874, during aVisit to Germany, William found a store displaying utensils coated with a white material. He bought the process and returned to St. Louis where, on April 10, the first piece of graniteware was produced. The brothers coated their utensils with ground granite and quickly patented the process and the history of Granite City began.

In 1891, the Niedringhaus brothers crossed the Mississippi to the Six Mile area looking for a good place to relocate their rapidly growing business and establish a city. In 1892, they purchased 3,500 acres and began building. In 1896, they incorporated their community as Granite City, named for the graniteware that had made them wealthy.

FountainBy 1899, the Niedringhaus stamping plant was called NESCO, for National Enameling and Stamping Company. It covered 1.25 million square feet on 75 acres of land and had 4,000 employees. It closed in 1956, when graniteware could no longer compete with aluminum cookware, Pyrex, Corning Ware, and stainless steel.

During the years the plant thrived, it drew many immigrants from Central Europe to Granite City. They brought a strong work ethic and an eagerness to do well in this new country. The plant also attracted other heavy industrial firms to the city. Granite City Steel was one of them and remains one of the city’s leading industrial firms.

By the 1800’s St. Louis’ urban sprawl eventually extended into the farmland aroundVenice, the first settlement in the Tri-Cities Area.Venice has long been a primary location for growth. The area’s first river crossing where ferries crossed between Missouri and Illinois in the mid to late 1800s,Venice was chosen as the ideal location for the McKinley Bridge. The bridge which connects the Tri-Cities Area to downtown St. Louis was originally designed for horse-drawn carriages, trains, cars and trucks and remains aVital connection for businesses and residents alike. The Tri-Cities Area grew as business and industry, attracted by easy access to interstate highways and St. Louis as well as its family-oriented communities, established plants and offices here.

In the 1980s, Pontoon Beach began a growth spurt that will continue long into the future. The commercial community, drawn by the village’s location and business-friendly environment, is steadily growing. Pontoon Beach also benefits from a fast-growing residential community, as former residents of Granite City and Madison move northeasterly to the village.

Today, Granite City is a bustling community with a diverse roster of business and industry. A solid citizenry preserves the city’s Central European heritage along with many of the homes and buildings constructed as the city grew. A cluster of flags from 17 Central European nations surrounds the flag of the United States in a downtown park, symbols of the city’s recognition of its origins.

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MapSet on the eastern side of the St. Louis metropolitan area, the Tri-Cities Area is the hub of an impressive transportation network of highways, railroads, and waterways.

Six Interstate Highways serve the Tri-Cities Area. I-270 is to the north, while I-70 and I-55 are to the south. Four miles to the south is I-44 and I-64 is five miles south.

I-255 is east of the Tri-Cities Area. Four State Highways–3, 162, 111, and 203–crisscross the Tri-Cities Area, linking it with U.S. 40 and with neighboring communities.

Tri-Cities Area travelers have easy access to the numerous airlines serving Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, only 14 miles west. Charter flights are available at St. Louis Regional Airport in nearby Bethalto and at St. Louis Downtown, nine miles away. Hotel and motel accommodations throughout the Tri-Cities Area offer travelers a comfortable reprieve en route to their destination. In Pontoon Beach alone, at the intersection of Interstate 270 and IL 111, four new motels, and two more on the way, supply hospitality to both business travelers andVisiting tourists.

The city’s business and industry communities are served by nine railroads: Norfolk Southern, Burlington Northern, Illinois Central, Chicago and Northwestern, Terminal Railroad of St. Louis, Southern Pacific Chicago, St. Louis and Gateway Western, Conrail and Union Pacific. More than 80 motor carriers serve the St. Louis metropolitan area and there are 43 terminals.



The Tri-Cities Area agriculture concerns and the area’s heavy industry shipVia barges on the Mississippi River from the Tri-City Port and Foreign Trade Zone and from the Port of St. Louis.

For Tri-Cities Area residents, getting to where they want to go is easy.

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