O'Fallon Progress

Search for coal yielded O’Fallon first water source

Brian Keller is the O’Fallon Historical Society president.
Brian Keller is the O’Fallon Historical Society president. rkirsch@bnd.com

Reliably flowing water originating from the Mississippi, courtesy of the O’Fallon Water Department, is something we take for granted in O’Fallon. But it wasn’t always that way.

O’Fallon’s original source of water came from failed attempts to sink a coal mine just west of downtown in the 1860s. Before they hit coal, they hit water — and lots of it, too much to pump out.

They gave up on the coal but found a municipal water supply that would last for years. Eventually, usage began to outpace supply, causing water shortages especially in the 1920s.

The solution was to convert from well to river water purchased from the East St. Louis & Interurban Water Co. , though laying the pipe and building the required infrastructure was an expensive undertaking. But on Monday, Nov. 10, 1930, the switch was made, and it’s been that way ever since.

75 years ago: Aug. 5, 1943

A regular summer evening concert will be presented by the O’Fallon School Band this evening, beginning at 8:15. As usual it will be in the City Park, where facilities are adequate for seating both the band and the audience. The American Legion remodeled the band stand last summer and it is ideal for the presentation of concerts. Installation of an amplifying system makes it possible to make announcements and to hear various specialty acts. (City Park was located behind Old City Hall on East Washington.)

50 years ago: Aug. 8, 1968

Gen. Howell M. Estes Jr., commander of the Military Airlift Command, headquartered at Scott AFB, will fly the first C-9 Nightingale aeromedical evacuation jet aircraft to Scott Saturday, Aug. 10. The flight from the McDonnell Douglas plant at Long Beach, Calif., to Scott will herald the operation of a new jet fleet which will be operated by the 375th Aeromedical Airlift Wing at Scott, commanded by Col. Harry L. Waesche.