South Beloit, Illinois

South Beloit, Illinois

name = South Beloit
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category = City
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motto = Top of the State
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country = United States
state = Illinois
region_type = County
region = Winnebago
district_type = Township
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elevation_imperial = 738
elevation_imperial_note = cite web|url=Gnis3|418714|title=USGS detail on Newtown|accessdate=2007-10-21]
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lat_d = 42
lat_m = 29
lat_s = 03
lat_NS = N
long_d = 89
long_m = 02
long_s = 19
long_EW = W
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area_imperial = 4.1
area_land_imperial = 4.0
area_water_imperial = 0.1
area_urban_imperial =
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population = 5397
population_date = 2000
population_urban =
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population_density_imperial = 1362.9
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established_type = Founded
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leader_type = Mayor
leader = Randy Kirichkow
timezone = CST
utc_offset = -6
timezone_DST = CDT
utc_offset_DST = -5
postal_code = 61080
area_code = 815
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map_caption = Location of South Beloit within Illinois
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map_locator = Illinois
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commons = South Beloit, Illinois
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South Beloit is a city in Winnebago County, Illinois, United States. It is part of the Rockford, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 5,397 at the 2000 census.


South Beloit is located at coor dms|42|29|3|N|89|2|19|W|city (42.484228, -89.038586)GR|1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.1 square miles (10.6 km²), of which, 4.0 square miles (10.3 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (3.18%) is water.


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 5,397 people, 2,165 households, and 1,418 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,362.9 people per square mile (526.2/km²). There were 2,345 housing units at an average density of 592.2/sq mi (228.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.16% White, 3.98% African American, 0.63% Native American, 0.83% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 3.48% from other races, and 1.83% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.78% of the population.

There were 2,165 households out of which 33.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.1% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.5% were non-families. 28.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.5% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 33.4% from 25 to 44, 18.5% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 98.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,597, and the median income for a family was $41,154. Males had a median income of $33,110 versus $22,596 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,363. About 8.2% of families and 10.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.4% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.


All historical knowledge is from the book, Our Golden History-South Beloit Illinois, which is a non-copyrighted work by Cathryn Hayes. She wrote the book to inform the people South Beloit of their roots.

Natural History

Imagine this...thick forest of elm, hickory-nut, and willow, the banks of a crystal clear river and lake, fields of grass, prairie chicken, deer, wild pigeons, and schools of fish. This was an Indian paradise, and what we now call Beloit and South Beloit. The first white people who came here in the 1800's fell in love with the land, and its natural beauty. In 1908, W.F. Packard told Dr. William Brown that "the people living here today cannot appreciate what nature did for the beautifying of this valley and are insensible to how it looked when I first saw it 70 years ago"(1838). It was a gorgeous garden of natural loveliness. I have tried to picture it on paper but powers of expression have failed me." Mr. Crane is said to have remarked that he didn’t wonder why Chief Blackhawk fought so long to keep the land; he would have fought too. hundred years after Packard made his statement it’s hard for us to imagine this beauty in our modern city today.

The land here was full of natural recourses such as copper, lead, and bog iron. Buff and blue limestones were plentiful everywhere in Winnebago County. Limestone formed the banks of the Rock River and Turtle Creek. The buff stone, with its creamy color, gave the first settlers here a beautiful building stone for their houses and public buildings, some of which can still be seen in Rockford, Rockton, and Beloit/So. Beloit. The older homes in South Beloit had 18-20 inch thick basement walls of this limestone.The South Beloit area has a thick deposit of sand for all kinds of commercial use. Industries of world wide renown were built here because of the unusually fine quality of these sands. A fine quality of clay was also found in the state line area.

This land has also been home to many Indian tribes over the years, including the Mound Builders, Sioux, and Illinswek (Illinois). The Turtle Indians of the area were the Winnebago Tribe, Siouan family. They were a more permanent tribe and had villages all along the Rock River and Turtle Creek. One large village was in modern day South Beloit and all the way up to northeast Beloit. It was named for an important chief, Kau Rau Maw Nee (Walking Turtle). Turtle later became modern day Beloit and South Beloit.

Our History Begins

In 1818, Congress told the people of the Territory of Illinois to form a Constitution and adopt a state government. A heated debate arose over the correct placement of the northern state line of Illinois. Most people in the lead region and the northern part of the territory did not want to be part of the state because of a large debt and tax for internal improvements. The northern part was against slavery and wanted a Lake Michigan shoreline. If the old line of 1787 were kept, Illinois would be much smaller than Wisconsin, be pro-southern, and Chicago would be in Wisconsin because Illinois would have NO Lake Michigan shoreline. Getting fed up with everything, Nathaniel Pope, who represented Illinois, went ahead and proposed the bill to congress. His bill proposed cutting 8,500sq. miles off of Wisconsin and adding it to Illinois. Thus...the current state line. So without the voice of the people being heard, on April 18th, 1818, Congress passed the bill making Illinois the 21st state in the Union.

A Farming Community

Illinois had become a state in 1818, Winnebago County was organized in January 1836, and public surveys started in the fall of 1836. Government sale of lands started in 1837-39, but Rockton Township sale was held until 1843 because of claims made by Polish exiles in 1843 for land previously held by early settlers in and around Rockton and Rockford. Their claims were discounted and the land was put up for sale when the land commission declared the Polish Count had not fulfilled the terms of the agreement. He was to have the choice of three adjacent townships and live on the land, making improvements for ten years. The Polish had chosen Townships 44 and 46, Range 1, East, and not 45 and had not settled on the land. The early settlers held the land by squatters’ rights and were now able to buy their farms from the government for $1.25 an acre.

This was also the time when Winnebago County tried to secede from Illinois and attach itself to Wisconsin. The people living there disapproved of the $14,000,000 debt for internal improvements with an empty treasury and insufficient revenue. The southern part of the state was poor and unprogressive, in contrast to the industrious north. Winnebago County voted in 1842 for annexation to Wisconsin. 972 voted for it, and only 6 voted against it. However, the south had more people and out-voted the north. So Winnebago County remained in Illinois.

Because of fate, South Beloit is smaller than its brother to the north....but that almost wasn't true. South Beloit "would" have become the bigger city if in 1901, a land owner would have sold Mr. Wheeler the 150 acres he needed for the Eclipse Windmill Company, which became Fairbanks Morse Company....but they didn’t and Mr. Wheeler took his money to Wisconsin instead....

By 1838 the village of Turtle had grown large enough to resent the Indian name it had used for so long. They also rejected the suggestion of 'New Albany'. A committee (or possibly two committees) was chosen to propose a new name. The French word for nice or pretty is 'bellotte'. The committee members, remembering a happy time in Detroit, sounded the word for pretty and came up with Balloit, then Beloit. The name was approved, reported to the settlement, and accepted. South Beloit became the south part of Beloit.

Becoming a City

By the early 1900's, the city was well on its way to a bright future by this time. With 1200 people living here, we petitioned to become our own city in 1914. The petition was approved and in May 1917, a special election was held to file for incorporation. The June election passed and September 17th, 1917, South Beloit became a city (we were never a village).We were organized under the name South Beloit. The west side of our city joined the east May 2nd, 1921 by ordinance 57.

Our Mayors

The first Mayor was A.E. Weirick, the names of the men to have served as mayor, in order are...
#A.E. Weirick 1917-1920
#L.S. Parsons 1920-1926
#S.W. Stearns 1926-1927
#Thomas Hodges 1927-1931
#C.E. Cadman 1931-1935
#Sherman Stearns 1935-1943
#Arthur A. Schroeder 1943-1947
#Roy J. Capron 1947-1951
#Edwin B. Cornwell 1951-1955
#Warren Wiley 1955
#Carl Briscoe 1955-1959
#Howard Doner 1959-1963
#Richard A. Wright 1963-1967
#Gary Pierce
#...I don’t know the rest in order (I'll put it in later)

Police and Fire Departments

The police department was established as one of the first departments by ordinance No.12, October, 1917. It started off as a one man, part-time enforcement. Our first squad car was purchased from Saris Auto Company in 1923 for $431.71. In October 1928, the Department bought a motorcycle from the Beloit Police for $100. in April, 1957, the Department became radio operated by the purchase of a Motorola Police Base Station for $587 and the hiring of Richard Miller as the first radio operator for $316 a month. Our first

In February, 1927 there was a bond issue to remodel City Hall, which included the establishment of a fire department and purchase of fire equipment. The first group of volunteers met in fall, 1927 and, with the help of Beloit firemen, learned how to use the equipment and effectively fight fires. The fire truck, a W.S. Knott, was manufactured in Minneapolis and delivered in February 1928 by Clare Hillman, who was familiar with its operation and became the first fire chief. The first uniformed department was made up of twelve members, plus Chief Hillman. These early volunteers were Edward Brady, George Graves, George Holtz, Arthur Schultz, David Bliss, James Howard, John Jensen, Thomas Flannigan, Robert Smith, Everett Clussman, Erwin Earl, and Fay Hanson.

South Beloit School History

Early Schools

Long before South Beloit bcame a city we had the beginnings of a school system started. In 1859 a group of settlers living in the east side of the city purchased a piece of land from Dr. E.N.Clark for $125. The school house, costing $621, was built on that property. The district at the time of the purchase was District No.11, Town of Rockton, Winnebago County, and was called Clark School after Dr. Clark.

Another South Beloit school was Butler School, started at least by 1877 and probably around 1859, on the other side of the river. Mrs. Marguerite Warren, an teacher long ago in South Beloit, compiled a list of some of the students that went to the old Butler School. Ed Burger, Charles Burger, Mrs. Castner, Melvin Lynch, Elloit Warren, Magda Guetschow, Martha Guetschow, Marie Guetschow, William Guetschow, Eddie Gharity(Washington Senators pro-baseball player), Oscar Nordt, Frances Perkins, Oscar Swanson, Elmer Swanson, Bill Stanley, Everett Chapel, and Henry Zempel were the ones she was able to remember.

Three of the early teachers at Butler were Maud Whetstone, Kitty Aspland, and William Gharrity. At Clark the first teacher was Lewis Bixby who got $26 a month for five winter months and had to pay his own board. Miss Jennie Kimball taught the following summer for $4 a week. The enrollment at Clark was from six to twenty pupils in the early years. During the Civil War the school year was reduced. The Clarks, Stantons, Hutchisons, Herseys, Hayeses, Helms, and Harts were some of the early students.

South Beloit Churches

St. Peters Catholic

Soon after being named bishop of Rockford in 1908, the Rt. Rev. Peter J. Muldoon established the South Beloit parish and named the Rev. B. X. O'Reilly as Priest. Up until then, about 40 S.B. families were going to St. Thomas Church in Beloit. Mass was held in Kent's hall until August 15, 1909, when the first mass was said in a frame church on the corner of Clark and Hayes (Pershing). This was the first church in South Beloit. The first marriage took place between Hugh Ward and Mary Smelcer, on September 9, 1909. The first funeral took place on November 8, 1909, for Charles Rambalt, age 29. The first Baptism was on January 30, 1910, for Elizabeth Anna Laffin, daughter of James and Julia Laffin. The church was dedicated the same day by Bishop Muldoon. The first Confirmation class on record was on October 9, 1910. There were 28 confirmed.

Father O'Reilly left to assume the duties of a larger parish and became editor of the Catholic Herald in St. Louis Missouri. He was succeeded by the Rev. Martin McEvoy. Father McEvoy also left for a larger parish and the Rev. J. T. Donohue became priest in 1915.

In 1924-5 a new church was built for the growing congregation. In 1928, Father Donohue was sent to another parish and was succeeded by the Rev. T. Maguire. Father Maguire stayed only two years and was followed by the Rev. R. L. French in 1930. Dances were held during the Great Depression, when no one had much money to spend on entertainment. These dances were attended by the whole community, especially the young people. Father French was well liked by both Protestants and Catholics alike. He left though, in 1940 for Dixon and the Rev. E. J. McIssac, who left South Beloit for Savannah in 1952. The Rev. James Mulcaire.

In 1962, a $200,0000 school was built next to the church. Members of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Sisters Ann Carolyn, St. Clement, Augusta, and St. John, were sent to teach.

Faith Evangelical Lutheran

The history of Faith Lutheran dates back to the spring of 1941, when the Rev. Frank A. Berg (Atonement Lutheran, Beloit), called the attention of the English Lutheran Synod of the Northwest to the possibility of a church in South Beloit. A survey was passed around and in August 1941, missionary Dwight H. Shelhart began his work.

The first meeting of Faith was held on August 25th, 1941, in the American Legion Hall. The first Sunday school session was held October 5th, 1941, with 64 children attending.

On January 1st, 1942, the congregation is formally born with 82 charter members and 160 baptized members. 44 adults were confirmed, 22 of which were baptized at this service.

Services were held in the American Legion until May 1942, when a building was purchased at the corner of Roscoe and Olive. Then, in August, Pastor Finn H. Hansen became the first resident pastor of Faith Lutheran. July 1st, 1945, the congregation voted to buy 825 Roscoe Ave. for a parsonage.

Groundbreaking services were held on September 7th, 1947, and cornerstone laying services were held June 27th, 1948. Dedication services were held on October 24th and church furnishings, made from oak trees on the property by Percy A. Spaulding, were dedicated on April 10th, 1949.

On July 31st, 1949, Pastor Hansen ended his seven year service at Faith to serve as hospital chaplain in Madison, WI. On November 6th, the Rev. Robert S. Heide was installed as pastor. Pastor Heide resigned March 3rd, 1953, due to health, and planned to relocate to Madison for further treatment and to do some work at the University of Wisconsin.June 7th, 1953, Rev. Roy Morrod was installed as pastor. In October 1955, a $7,000 parish house was bought at 836 Roscoe to serve as a house for the Sunday school. In March, 1956, a new pastor, Rev. Walter H. Beck, Ph.D., was installed.

October, 1960, Faith held special mortgage burning services to commemorate the liquidation of all debt.

Dr. Beck stayed until August, 1960, when he left to serve as a professor at Newberry College, SC. The next pastor was Carl Ipsen.

In 1965, 3 and a half acres of Blackhawks 1300 block were bought to serve as Faiths new home after outgrowing the original building. $66,000 was raised in pledges over a three year period. Groundbreaking took place in October 1966, and cornerstone laying services were held on June 18th, 1967. The first service in the new building was held on September 17th, 1967 (the 50th birthday of South Beloit).

The old Faith Lutheran building was purchased by the Fellowship Baptist congregation in 1970. In 1980, a school was added to encourage Christian education.

The current pastor is the Rev. Pator Jay Quinn.

Notable people

*Delmer Insko, driver/trainer/owner in Harness Racing Hall of Fame []
*William Gharity, pro-baseball player for the Washington Senators(no longer a team)

External links

* [ Official City of South Beloit Site]

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