Author publishes new book on Glen Carbon
All her life, Joyce Williams has been a student of history. This week, readers throughout the area can enjoy the benefits of that lifelong knowledge while reading a new book, “Glen Carbon.” It is part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series.
This new pictorial book consists primarily of photographs from the collections of the Glen Carbon Heritage Museum, but Williams also includes contemporary photographs to contrast the old with the new. Many of the modern-day photographs were taken by Williams’ grandson, Eli Burns-Irvin.
Woven among the images of Glen Carbon coal mines, railroads, families, and businesses is the story of Glen Carbon. It was a thriving village with a population of 1,200 in 1900 that fell to just 300 residents when the coal mines closed during the Great Depression. Glen Carbon families, including the Yanda, Primas, Wieduwilt, Pizzini, Harris, and dozens of others persevered so that Glen Carbon could become the community it is today. In 2007, CNN Money named Glen Carbon to its list of “Best Places to Live.”
Williams comes from a family of southern Illinois coal miners who arrived in Glen Carbon in 1911. At that time, work was plentiful in the coal mines that attracted men of numerous ethnic groups from across the country. Another early industry that employed hundreds of men was the St. Louis Pressed Brick Co. It too, was gone by the 1930s.
Williams and her family have been active in efforts to preserve the history of Glen Carbon and Madison County for many years. She is a member of the Glen Carbon Historical Commission and is a past president of the Madison County Historical Society. She was a co-author of the Centennial History of Glen Carbon in 1992 and before her retirement was a staff archeologist at Southern Illinois University. Her husband, Bob, and her father, LeRoy Harris, led efforts to restore the Yanda Log Cabin in Glen Carbon.
“Glen Carbon” is available at local stores including Books-a-Million and Walgreens. Signed copies are available at the Madison County Archival Library in Edwardsville where MCHS members can purchase copies at a discount. Due to COVID-19, a schedule of in-person book signings will be released at a later date.