Edwardsville was founded in 1818 and named after Ninian Edwards, the governor of the Illinois Territory at the time. The town grew rapidly as a result of its strategic location along the Old National Road, a major east-west transportation route.
During the 19th century, Edwardsville became an important center of education and culture in the region. In 1821, the state’s first public school, the Illinois College, was established in Edwardsville. Later, the town became home to the Madison County Seminary, which eventually evolved into Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE).
In recent decades, Edwardsville has continued to grow and develop. The presence of SIUE has contributed to the city’s intellectual and cultural vibrancy. Edwardsville has also attracted businesses and industries, becoming a regional hub for commerce and services.
Today, Edwardsville maintains its small-town charm while offering a mix of historical architecture, cultural events, and a thriving downtown area. The city’s rich history is celebrated through various community initiatives and preservation efforts.