Williamson County is steeped in hundreds of years of rich history in coal mining, therapeutic mineral springs, Native American culture, agriculture and friendly people. The area got its nickname "Little Egypt" due to its proximity to the Mississippi and Ohio rivers and the landscape's similarity to the areas along the Nile River in Egypt.
Our history is well-preserved in the museums and historical monuments and sites that can be found scattered throughout our friendly towns and communities. In addition, the Williamson County Historical Society offers tours of Williamson County Historical Museum in Marion and the opportunity to study history in its research library.
Opened in June 2011, the Carterville Heritage Museum is a beautifully renovated building showcasing architectural detail of former 1924 high school, hundreds of photo and memorabilia. It also serves as a gift shop, offering nostalgic, custom designed t-shirts, retro candy, gift baskets, a few antiques, and popular hand-made cards made by community volunteers. It features books on the Tri-C community for sale, including Carterville, Cambria, & Crainville: A Look Back At Our Towns and SIU's A Weekend In Carterville, Cambria, & Crainville.
The memorial is located next to the heritage museum downtown. This memorial features plaques citing the names of WWI and WWII veterans on one side and other wars featured on the opposite side. In a fitting tribute the Veterans Memorial in downtown Carterville was dedicated on 11-11-11, Veterans Day.
In the late eighteen hundreds there were several mines in the locale that accounted for the livelihood of the residents. There were many thriving communities that were totally dependent on the mines. Now there is a Memorial to honor all miners. The monument depicts a miner returning home, being greeted by his small son, after a day in the pits. Dedicated on October 14th 2000, the Coal Miners Memorial is a tribute to all Southern Illinois coal miners of the past century. The inscription at the base of the statue reads, “In memory of coal miners who gave so much that future generations may benefit with a better life... More »
A World War I memorial stature, “The Spirit of The American Dough Boy” was dedicated on September 6, 1927 following its acquisition through a project sponsored jointly by the local American Legion and VFW Posts. The solider is forever immortalized in statue form, the solider is seen is his war apparel and stance. The Dough Boy is a symbol of freedom and remembrance of those who fought for our land. The Dough Boy sits in the heart of Herrin on Park Avenue Street after multiple relocations... More »
The beginning of the chapel was a project of the Marion Woman's Club. The women proposed that such a chapel be created and found Leroy A. Goddard receptive. He countered with a proposal that he would build the chapel if Marion would enlarge its cemetery properties. The city complied by purchasing 27 additional acres to be laid off into burial plots. The Chicago banker brought his own architect and contractors to Marion and the cornerstone of the chapel was laid June 12, 1918... More »
Harrison/Bruce Historical Village at John A. Logan College
The Robert L. Mees Village Centre serves as the hub of the Harrison/Bruce Historical Village by providing a venue for College and community events. Historical buildings include: The Purdy School, a one-room public school in Perry County, IL from 1860-1951. The Julia Harrison Bruce House, a replica of the house the house that was built in 1868 by David Ruffin Harrison. The Harrison Storefront, this "double dog trot" style log cabin is a replica of the cabin the David Ruffin Harrison family occupied prior to the construction of the brick, "Harrison House"... More »
Herrin City Library is your community connection to print, video, audio, and online information around the world. Featuring the Herrin History Room, a growing collection of archival information about the City of Herrin and the Williamson County area. We also have some genealogical information about Herrin families. We have city directories and yearbooks for the Herrin Schools. We do have a large collection of Herrin newspapers on microfilm from the 1800s to about 1945.
In 2002, John A. Logan College erected a statue of Logan at the center of campus. Logan is shown in the summer of 1865 as he sets aside his sword, and two-star general’s coat and becomes a man of peace.
One of the few remaining Carnegie buildings is seated at the center of Williamson County. Originally built in 1916 and renovated in 1997, the library has the flavor of the early 20th century with the technology of today.