Monroe County, located in Greater Southwestern Illinois, has a population of approximately 25,000 people and has experienced dramatic growth in recent years. The county combines many benefits of an urban setting with the character, high quality of living and atmosphere of a rural location. The county is part of the Southwestern Illinois German Heritage Area a French Heritage Corridor and is a popular day-trip destination. The county seat is Waterloo, where an historic courthouse, with new addition sits as the centerpiece of the Courthouse Square. The restored Bellefontaine Home is the headquarters for the Monroe County Historical Society in Waterloo.
Adjacent to the St. Louis Metropolitan Area, the county's western edge is in the shadow of the Gateway Arch. The completion of Interstate 255 around the St. Louis area, and the new Jefferson Barracks Bridge, connecting Illinois and Missouri, make Monroe County ideally located.
The county has a wide variety of eating and drinking establishments, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. While there
are two motels in Waterloo and several small bed and breakfast establishments, the county and its towns are within easy driving distance from hotel and motel facilities in South St. Louis County, Fairview Heights, Belleville or Collinsville. For details visitors should call the Columbia Chamber of Commerce at 618-281-7144, the Waterloo Chamber of Commerce at 618-939-5300, or the Maeystown Preservation Society at 618-458-6660.
Copies of the guide are available at rest stops and other tourist information areas. You can contact state travel counselors at 1-800-2CONNECT, or visit www.enjoyillinois.com.
The county's principal cities, towns and villages are Waterloo (the county seat), Columbia, Valmeyer, Hecker, Fults and Maeystown. Other smaller settlements and communities include Renault, Burksville, Burksville Station, Tipton, Madonnaville, Monroe City, New Hanover, Wartburg, Fountain and Foster Pond.
The county's population is almost evenly distributed between the incorporated and unincorporated areas. Monroe County has a number of historical sites and structures. The French were the first to explore in the area about 1673, with the first permanent settlements established about 20 years later. The English, Irish and Germans later came to the region.
The local economy of Monroe County, with its fertile soils and temperate climate, has historically centered on agriculture and agribusiness, with corn, soybeans and wheat being the principal products. Fruits, vegetables and nursery stock are grown locally and sold at local stores and roadside stands during their harvest seasons. Over the years, a diverse group of producer and services industries have operated locally. County residents also commute to employment throughout the region.
All the services essential in an attractive community are available in Monroe County, including an expanding retail base. Police protection, fire protection, health care, education and opportunities are abundant for social, cultural and recreational activities. Other benefits of closeness to St. Louis include easy access to excellent health care and educational institutions. The county has four high schools, a vocational training center and is part of Southwestern Illinois College, community college district.
The three-member county board is responsible for local government policy decisions. The board is advised by a county planning commission. Each incorporated municipality has a mayor and city council or town board.
A brief history of the county is available for $3.00, plus $1.00 shipping and handling from the Monroe County Historical Society, P.O. Box 35, Maeystown, IL 62256.
More information about Monroe County is available by contacting the Monroe County Tourism Committee, P.O. Box 1, Waterloo, IL 62298. Phone (618) 939-5300. For more information:
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