Edwardsville is home to more than just SIUE, it houses many historic buildings, along with many other local hang-out spots.
Edwardsville Public Library
The Edwardsville Public Library is off South Kansas Street, within walking distance to the other locations described. For those who need to study after a long day exploring the town, the library has an extensive amount of tables to set up shop and, of course, many books for when break time hits.
For those who are avid readers, the library makes the process of obtaining a library card easy. SIUE students who live on campus just need to bring in a photo ID, as library personnel will verify they live on campus with the SIUE housing roster. Those who live off campus must follow the guidelines listed on the website, which vary depending on if the student lives within or outside Edwardsville limits.
Those with cards have access to many resources. For those interested in learning about their family history, they can use Ancestry Library Edition. They can also login to AtoZ World Food, which includes recipes from all over the world, AtoZ World Travel, databases and Lynda, an online company owned by Linked In that aims to help people achieve their business goals. Edwardsville resident cardholders can also pay to use the 3D printer.
Outside, one can see the bandstand which houses many community events and a 16-foot statue. According to an article published by the Edwardsville Intelligencer, the four muses on the statue are Plenty, Virtue, Justice and Wisdom, who all come together to pay tribute to the country’s first settlers.
The Edwardsville Arts Center, attached to Edwardsville High School, is a great option for those seeking a creative break from the rigors of college, whether through browsing their exhibit hall or taking one of many classes. For those with little Cougars, the Arts Center holds many classes for children.
The center seeks to keep classes as affordable as possible. Some classes, such as Stained Glass Mosaics, require online registration, while others such as the drop-in ceramics class does not require registration and participants simply pay when they attend. More information regarding October and November silk ribbon embroidery classes has yet to be announced.
Little ones also have a variety of classes to choose from, such as free Saturday art classes for kids ages 2-14. Themes for upcoming classes are found on their website.
Regular showings include local, regional and national artists in their exhibit hall. According to their website, the arts center is seeking solo and group exhibition proposals for 2019-20. Members of the SIUE community who are interested in showcasing their art can find more information on application procedures on the Edwardsville Arts Center website.
Community creative workspaces are popping up in St. Louis, but Edwardsville now has an option for those who don’t want to cross the river. Formerly the old Moose Lodge, the space next to Sacred Grounds and across the street from the popular 222 Artisan Bakery, is now The Lodge, a creative coworking space.
The Lodge offers a space that not only is catered to productivity, but allows for networking opportunities as well. The Lodge seeks to provide an office-like space for those who cannot afford, or don’t want to commit to renting or owning their own spaces, while simultaneously creating opportunities to build connections with other aspirational community members, according to an interview of Lodge owner Jay Beard on RiverBender.com. This, along with its coffee, snacks, craft beer, a meditation room and lounge, further distinguishes The Lodge from traditional workspaces.
Those who have grown tired of tackling group projects in coffee shops and Lovejoy Library can reserve a private office space or a private nook space on The Lodge’s website. Open membership, which provides for 24-hour access, costs $129.00 a month and includes access to a conference room, the café, copy machine, lounge, mediation room, free internet, common areas and social events. For more information, visit The Lodge’s website.
The historical Wildey Theatre sits in the heart of Edwardsville on Main Street. The Wildey first opened in 1909 as an opera house and a meeting hall. The theatre closed after a spring 1984 showing of “The Big Chill” that drew in over 400 people, according to its website. In 1981, the theater suffered severe damage due to a tornado. Two years after its closing, the Wildey was recognized by the Edwardsville Historic Preservation Commission as a “Local Landmark.”
In 1999, a $300,000 state grant allowed the City of Edwardsville to acquire the building. This funding not only paid for the purchase of the property but also the replacement of the roof. After years of trying to lure private developers, the city launched a fundraising drive and eventually completed a $2.9 million interior renovation that restored the theater to its original 1930s art deco appearance. By spring 2011, the renovation was completed.
The theatre gets its name from Thomas Wildey, who came to the U.S. in 1817. Wildey founded the First Independent Order of Odd Fellows. According to the international fraternity’s website, it strives to promote personal and social development.
Today, the Wildey hosts many live performances and film showings, namely classic movies. Many Edwardsville natives enjoy the $2 Tuesdays, where one can see a film for just $2. According to their website, the next one is August 20, where they will be showing “City Slickers.”
Every Saturday morning from May through October, one can see Main Street buzzing with community members running into old friends, walking their dogs and local vendors selling fresh products. This is the Land of Goshen Community Market, which runs from 8 a.m. – noon; however, according to the market’s website, vendors may choose to sell past noon.
Farms selling locally grown produce, gourmet chocolates, soaps, crafts, pottery and other forms of local art are among the vendors at the market. The availability of produce differs based on what’s in season, and the market’s website includes a chart of expected availability. Visitors can browse from tent to tent while enjoying live music.
For more information about the Goshen Community Market, visit the Information Tent or their website.
Last year, Opera Edwardsville founder and artistic director Chase Hopkins set out on a mission: to bring world-class music to Edwardsville. A year later, Opera Edwardsville has some big plans, including house concerts, programs at Edwardsville High School and more performances at the Wildey.
The fall will be a busy time for Opera Edwardsville. In September and October, SIUE singers within the vocal department will have the opportunity to perform for children at local elementary schools. The show will be an operatic version of “Pinocchio,” funded by SIUE’s Meridian Society. Then, on Saturday, Nov. 16, the cast will perform free of charge at the Edwardsville Public Library for more children within the community.
Opera Edwardsville plans to host a masterclass with Karen Brunssen, President of the National Association for Teachers of Singing and Northwestern University professor of voice in September and December. The classes are open to university students from SIUE, UMSL, Webster University and McKendree at the respective universities. Hopkins hopes they can perform for audiences in the future. Each university decides what singers will be involved.
September will also include a concert with Artistic Adviser Christine Brewer and pianist Craig Terry from the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The event is set to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7 at the Wildey. Hopkins warns there are very few tickets available. Before the show, some local restaurants will provide food and beverages.
Around the holidays, Opera Edwardsville will return to the Wildey stage for its second-annual “Christmas at the Wildey.” Last year’s show marked Opera Edwardsville’s first-ever performance.
For more information on Opera Edwardsville and its events, visit https://www.operaedwardsville.org/welcome.