In honor of Black History Month, O’Fallon’s Historic Preservation Commission has set up a display honoring the history of African Americans in the City of O’Fallon. The display of photos – some more than 75 years old – features portraits of some of O’Fallon’s earliest African American residents. The photos are on display in the Rotunda and Lobby on the first floor of the O’Fallon Municipal Center (City Hall). The display is free to view and open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. throughout the month of February.
“Today, we know O’Fallon as a diverse suburban community with grand subdivisions and bustling restaurants and stores, but this City has a long history that stretches more than 160 years,” said Jim Frain, who put the display together and is a member of the Historic Preservation Commission. “O’Fallon – like many Midwestern towns of the early 20th Century – was once a largely segregated town where a strong African-American community grew on several blocks in the City, known as ‘The Hill.’ The area included churches and schools and a ‘blacks-only’ cemetery called Sage Chapel Cemetery. The Cemetery was founded in 1881 as a burial site for former slaves and their descendants. Many of the original tombstones still stand at the site along Veterans Memorial Parkway.
“This display provides a glimpse into that history, and I hope it helps to raise awareness of this part of the City’s history.”
Directions: O’Fallon City Hall is approximately one-half mile north of I-70 on the east side of Main Street. Stay in the right-hand lane and make an immediate right into the O’Fallon Municipal Centre parking lot after crossing the railroad tracks. For more information call 636-240-2000.