Gillespie, Illinois has seen its share of boom and bust economic cycles. The 1909 photo depicts a Labor Day gathering on an unpaved Macoupin Street, complete with weeds. In the short time since the 1905 fire that destroyed most of the downtown wooden buildings, the Gillespie business district has responded to the economic stimulus of the coal boom.
The mid 1920's photo takes us back to the period of downtown expansion and the new and affordable automobile. By the late 1940's our business district had developed the appearance that is more familiar to us today. What is not visible are the side streets and the dozens of businesses that also supported the burgeoning population of almost 6,000.
The booming growth cycle, due to coal industry, started a slowdown in the late 1950's, as the mines closed down. The resulting downward spiral, that is still continuing, must be reversed. That is the mission of Grow Gillespie.