Village of West City
Franklin County, Illinois 62812
est. June 1, 1911
According to the United States Census Bureau:
The village has a total land area of 1.6 mi² x 1.6 mi² and none of it is covered by water.
West City was a small settlement adjoining Benton on the west.
Immigrants from Poland, Lithuania and England settled in to work in the many coal mines.
March 29, 1911
Of 350 inhabitants, John Mulkey led 33 citizens, represented by Attorney Robert Hickman, to Judge Thomas J. Layman of the Franklin County Court and presented a petition to incorporate West City, Illinois as a Village.
March 29, 1911
List of 33 people who petitioned for the Incorporation for Village of West City, Illinois
DUDEK, John Dudek
FLETCHER, Walter D.
McNEAL, George W.
SANDERS, Ephriam James
SANDERS, Jacob Leonard
April 15, 1911
Election held and the six Trustees elected:
TOBBLY, L. I.
June 1, 1911
Judge Layman declared West City to be duly and legally organized under the general laws of the State of Illinois as the
Village of West City.
Congress passed the Volstead (Prohibition) Act.
West City became notorious for bootlegging and gambling.
The Birger and Shelton gangs vied for control of the wide-open village.
ADAMS, Joe - Mayor
REED, Leslie - City Clerk
LAIRSEY, John - Treasurer
NEUNLIST, R. E. - Attorney
PANCHARD, Bruce - Trustee
GANT, C. C. - Trustee
CLINTON, George - Trustee
STEWART, H. E. - Trustee
ROGERS, W.R. - Trustee
LONG, R. N. - Trustee
Mayor Adams aligned himself with the Shelton's and became the bitter enemy of Charlie Birger.
December 12, 1926
Mayor Joe Adams was fatally shot at his home. He was allied with the Shelton Brothers Gang, prohibition-era bootleggers. His murder was ordered by rival gangster Charles Birger. Two hired young assassins knocked on his door and informed his wife they had a message for him. When the Mayor came to the door, they gunned him down in front of his wife Beulah and young daughter Arian. Sheriff Jim Pritchard gathered evidence and arrested Charlie Birger for the murder.
April 19, 1928
Charles Birger was found guilty of murdering Mayor Joe Adams and hanged by the neck at 9:48 a.m. in a public execution in Benton. After the downfall of the Birger gang and the repeal of the Volstead Act, the Village of West City earned much of their income from legitimate taverns and nightclubs.
Interstate 57 split the Village of West City down the middle from North to South. Preliminary work of buying homes and clearing sites began for the eventual construction. Interstate 57 to run from Chicago on the North to Cairo on the South.
Actual construction and completion of I-57 from Chicago to Cairo(1964-1974).
With the advent of I-57, Rend Lake Plaza was initiated. Wal-Mart and Big John's Supermarket were completed and in operation. Two big-city stoplights soon followed.
Village Hall was built, Expanded their Police Department, Street & Water Department and Volunteer Fire Department.
1980's and 1990's
Large part of their income being funneled back into the Village. Have come a long way from dirt roads and outhouses. Rend Lake Plaza still growing 50 active shops, restaurants, motels, gas stations, and industrial businesses, etc. Boast their own water and sewer systems, and a network of asphalt streets.
At one time there were three in West City limits Old Jordon Washington School New Jordon
Prospect, later called First Baptist Church (was the only organized Church in the corporate limits of West City until 1921) Harmony Freewill Baptist Trinity Baptist Church (no longer in existence)
Nanette Riley 2008 ©Illinois Genealogy Trails History Group