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Founded in 1814, Belleville was named by its early French settlers. The discovery of coal in 1828 attracted many German miners. The town retains much of the Teutonic influence in language, song, festivals, and architecture. Belleville is situated 14 miles southeast of East St. Louis. The chief manufactures are stoves and allied products, stencil machines, and beer. Other products include boilers, industrial furnaces, brick, caskets, and clothing. The area coal mines yield more than 3 million tons a year. Scott Air Force Base, the home of the Military Air Transport Service and the Air Force Communications Service, is 6 miles (10 km) east.
Points of interest in the city are the Gustave Koerner House Museum, the Labor and Industry Museum, and the Victorian House Museum. Belle Clair Fairgrounds Park and Exposition Center hosts numerous events year-round. Art on the Square and the Gingerbread Walk are annual events.
The Belleville Tourism Bureau is at 216 E. A Street, Belleville, IL 62220 Phone 800.677.9255.
The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows is west on SR 15, just east of I255. A 200-acre religious center under the direction of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the shrine includes a 2,400-seat amphitheater, a replica of the Lourdes Grotto, prayer gardens and chapels. The shrine is visited by more than a million pilgrims each year. Food is available. Daily 8-8. Donations are welcome. Phone 618.397.6700.
The St. Clair Historical Society is located at 701 E. Washington ST and is an 1866 Victorian adaptation of a Greek Revival home. Furnished in period, the home features changing displays of vintage clothing, toys, quilts, and other articles. Tour guides explain the use of everyday items and provide information about the era. MON-FRI 10-2; closed major holidays. Phone 618.234.0600. Template:OMG728