This is Lincoln Place: A Brief History

Lincoln Place: A Brief History

The industrialization of the United States in the late 19th century and in the early 20th century attracted millions of immigrants from all over Europe, Asia Minor, and Mexico. Thousands of these hard-working people, seeking freedom, opportunity, and a better life in America, came to the Illinois town of Granite City.

Along the railroad tracks leading to St. Louis, industries thrived. It was here that Frederick G. and William Niedringhaus established the National Enameling & Stamping Company, which produced metal graniteware. Other factories followed, including Commonwealth Steel. These industries employed many immigrant workers who, in order to remain close to their jobs, settled in an undeveloped area west of town in the first decade of the twentieth century. Because of the large Hungarian population and the fact that the area sloped down into a small valley, this area became known as “Hungary Hollow.”

Initially, the population of Hungary Hollow consisted of many immigrants, most of whom were single men with ethnic origins in Hungary and later on, Bulgaria, and Macedonia. Because of its large Bulgarian population, the neighborhood also was known as the unofficial capital of the Bulgarians in America. In 1909, it became the site of the first Bulgarian Church in North America.

Other nationalities followed around 1909. There was an influx of Italian and Armenian immigrants who arrived to work in the steel foundries and building the railroads. The number of Armenians increased significantly after 1909 and again after 1915, when many fled the genocide of a million and a half Armenians carried out by the Ottoman Turkish Empire, which had conquered much of Armenia in the 1200s. Beginning around 1910, a large number of immigrants from Mexico also found their way to Hungary Hollow.

In early 1916, the Granite City Commercial Club, an organization of local professional men, union leaders, and businessmen, held a conference with leaders of the immigrant community and agreed to help the immigrants Americanize. At the conclusion of the meeting, the immigrants chose to change the name “Hungary Hollow”, to Lincoln Place, demonstrating their admiration for President Abraham Lincoln, who rose from nothing to achieve greatness in America.

Changing the name of “Hungary Hollow” to Lincoln Place also indicated that it had grown into a true neighborhood. Lincoln Place consisted of families from many ethnic backgrounds, all with the same aspiration to make a better life for themselves in America. Through several generations, the many ethnic groups that settled in Lincoln Place, have preserved the rich cultures of their immigrant ancestors. Today the descendants of those original immigrants host the Lincoln Place Heritage Festival and “A Taste of Lincoln Place” to honor their immigrant ancestors and to commemorate and promote their ethnic heritage.


Published on April 10, 2011 at 9:15 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Is there a record of how the Mexican population was brought to Granite City to help with labor shortage in 1917? Who these people were and where they were relocated in Granite City.
    We have tried (unsuccessfully) to locate any records of our grandfather, Maximiano (Maximillan) C. Delgado who brought his family to Granite City (our father being the eldest of 5 boys) from New Braunfels, Tx. Grandpa was supposedly killed in a bar room brawl, the person who killed him never prosecuted and we have not been able to find a death certificate for grandpa. Unfortunately, as youngsters, we never paid any attention when Daddy talked about this event that left him the head of the household at the age of 10. We have tried every source of information (going to Granite City and Springfield to check records) but have not found anything except a record of a baptism of the baby at the time, Marcelino Delgado, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Granite City on 2/28/18 (less than a month after he was born). If it had not been for the date of my uncle’s birth, I do not think the Diocese of Springfield would have been able to locate this record–which indicates that the citizens of Granite City were not familiar with Spanish (Mexican) surnames, the spelling of all family information was misspelled

  2. Dear Ms. Delgado, I can’t tell if you are a GC resident or not. If you are not, you might want to contact the Mexican Honorary Commission at 1801 Spruce Street, Granite City, IL, 62040? Greg Garcia is the President. Good luck, Keith Veizer

  3. Hi, You might want to check the Edwardsville County court house. They have an index of death records and you can also check for a citizenship record, if he became a citizen. If he died before 1940 he will also probably be listed in census records. Marvin Moehle from Lincoln Place!

  4. When will the Oral Histories be published?

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