Cedar Grove History

A road crossed the section line between sections 1 and 2 of West Marion Township, about one third of a mile north of the south section line. A brush arbor was built at the crossroad and a Methodist circuit rider held a revival there in 1853. There were enough converts and resident Methodist’s to organize a church. A log church was torn down and a new frame building erected in 1891. In 1903 the Coal Belt Electric Railroad built tracks through the crossroad and named the station it set up there Cedar Grove. Cedar Grove was a flag stop. This means that a car would stop if flagged or if it had a passenger to let off at Cedar Grove. If not, the car sped right through the station.

Cedar Grove was a community of small farms with no definite boundaries. Then the Peabody Coal Company sank Mine Number 3 late in 1910 and early 1911. It was located in the southwest quarter of section 12, of West Marion Township. On April 15, 1911 fifty-one lots laid out astride the Coal Belt Railroad right of way by the Peabody Company Engineer. This plat was recorded as Peabody.

William Libnezy opened a general store there. Libnezy sold every imaginable item from a toothpick to a set of mine tools. In a small room in the store building, Arthur Tolbert ran a shoe shop. He mended worn shoes but sold none. The miners would buy shoes from Libnezy and take the new shoes to Tolbert who would drive hob nails in the sole and heals to lengthen their wear in the mine. There was a moving picture theater at Peabody. Dr. Peas practiced medicine there.

The Coal Belt Electric Railroad was uphill from Marion to Cedar Grove and the trolleys found the hill difficult to climb. As a result a booster station was built at Cedar Grove. This booster station consisted of a steam boiler, engine and electric generator, housed in a brick building. This was in addition to the big power plant at Moake Crossing.

Then Cedar Grove Church was moved a mile cast to the community known as Dog Walk, in December of 1949. After the Cedar Grove Methodist Church was located in Dog Walk for twenty years, some of the Cedar Grove church members led by their new pastor, Reverend Paul Hawk, felt that the name Dog Walk was beneath the dignity of the church and asked that the community name be changed to Cedar Grove. Research showed that when the planning of Interstate Highway 57 was made there was found a Cedar Grove Road. Cedar Grove was listed in “The Illinois Cities, Counties and Places.” There was no Dog Walk found in either. Several persons signed a petition to change the name of the community. No petition was emulated against the change, although many objected to it. Nevertheless, the engineer in charge of such matters changed the signs on the highway to read Cedar Grove and took the Dog Walk signs down.

Dog Walk was never platted, never incorporated, never put on record and never had a legal name. So in December 1969, twenty years after Cedar Grove Church moved into Dog Walk, the Cedar Grove signs went up on the edge of Dog Walk.

Old Cedar Grove, the streetcar stop by the church, died but its ghost rose up, killed Dog Walk and entered its body to live again. We may not believe in transmigration of souls but it did happen to Cedar Grove.

Back to the top

(Ghost Towns of Southern Illinois, by Glenn J. Sneed, published 1977)