Q: In two columns, you referred to “The History of Belleville” by Alvin Nebelsick. He was my teacher in high school, and I’d love to find a copy of his book and see if he included anything about my family. Is that possible?
T.F., of Belleville
A: If you have $49.99 burning a hole in your sofa cushions, you can buy your own copy of Nebelsick’s circa 1951 tome on amazon.com.
But if you’d like a more economical solution, you’ll find circulating copies that you can check out at both the Belleville West Branch and Fairview Heights libraries, provided you have a library card. Otherwise, there are several non-circulating copies that you can read at the downtown Belleville library. Of course, if you’ve developed the habit of reading things on your computer, you can find a copy you can page through easily at https://archive.org/details/historyofbellevi00nebe along with helpful tips on how to download it.
I hope it reminds you what a stickler he was for instilling knowledge in his young charges, something he emphasizes in the book’s preface:
“I have discovered that there is an appalling lack of information about local communities among the citizens as a whole,” wrote Nebelsick, explaining his reasons for doing the book. “Surely we need not be reminded that the very foundation of democratic government is to be found in the communities and the ability of the citizens to deal successfully with their local problems. To understand these problems is a complicated matter so we must plan intelligently. This I believe impossible without a knowledge of our past.”
What competing sneaker companies were started by brothers?
Answer to Monday’s trivia: Although it’s now owned by President Donald Trump, the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., originally was built from 1924 to 1927 by cereal-company heiress and socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post. When she died in 1973, the family bequeathed it to the National Park Service, thinking it could be used for state visits or even a winter White House. But when costs exceeded what Post had left for upkeep and because of the difficulties keeping the place secure, Congress gave it back to the Post Foundation in 1981 before Trump purchased it in 1985.