Preserving our German Heritage...

Belleville Sister Cities, Inc has been established to promote cultural, social, and business exchanges with the citizens of our Sister City., Paderborn, Germany. BSC provides the vehicle to foster interest in the rich German heritage of our area. Membership is available and promoted to all area residents with the common interest of jurturing the fellowship of the society and the good of the community. Numerous benefits are available to all members as they have the opportunity to bring "Gemuetlickeit" through participation in cultural activities and social functions and to offer their hearts and homes during exchange visits. Members participate actively in the many programs of BSC and, in short, become Belleville Good Will Ambassadors.

In return, members of the German-American Friendship Committee in Paderborn (Deutsch-Amerikanisher Freundeskreis, DAFK) become newly found friends and invite and welcome our participation and visits to their proud and historic land.

General membership dinner meetings are held in February, May August and November. During the other months, we gather for Stammtisch and enjoy dinner with no business meeting. Members receive notification of meeting dates and locations and other events in our quarterly newsletter, Das Mitteilungsblatt, as well as by visiting our website and our Facebook page.

Paderborn is derived from "Pader," Germany's shortest river, and "born," German for spring or source. Paderborn, in the state of North Rhine - Westphalia, lies on the Paderborn Plateau, where the Munster Lowlands rise up to meet the Egge Hills. In 777AD Charlemagne held his first Imperial Diet in the newly conquered Saxon territory in Paderborn and met there with Pope Leo III in 799. The bishopric enjoyed a great flowering of art under Bishop Meinwerk.

Legend has it that in 836 a peacock led the procession that carried the holy relics of St. Liborius to Paderborn, resulting in the peacock's becoming the city symbol. In 1180 the town was surrounded by a powerful circuit of walls. The first Paderborn University was founded in 1614 by Dietrich Von Fuerstenberg with a theological and philosophical faculty.

The Reformation and Counter Reformation in the 16th and 17th centuries influenced Paderborn's development. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the town suffered a terrible setback. The Thirty Years War decimated the population and destroyed the economy. In 1802 the town fell to Prussians, then to Napoleon's troops, and back to Prussians in 1813. Chemist Friedrich Wilhelm Adam Sertuerner discovered the modern pain killer morphine in 1803. During World War II, air attacks destroyed the town. In the 1950s and 60s, Paderborn turned into a thriving industrial and scientific center and established a university in 1972. In 1973, Paderborn was officially declared a "Gross Stadt" or city. Today Paderborn, with 130,000 residents, continues to be a cultural, educational and industrial center, while maintaining the seat of the Archbishops for the Diocese of Paderborn and the seat of the Evangelical Superintendent.

Belleville, despite its French name, was never a French settlement. Most early residents came from Virginia, Kentucky, and other sourther states and were of Scotch, Scotch-Irish, and English descent. Belleville eventually evolved into a predominantly German community.

In 1814 a growing St Clair County, in search of a new county seat, accepted the generosity of one Georg Blair, who donated one acre of land for a public square and 25 acres for town development. When incorporated March 27, 1819, Belleville had only 150 residents. In 1832-33, a large group of German immigrants with university education, and lured by inexpensive farmland, arrived and settled in Belleville and the Shiloh valley. These "Latin Farmers," as they were called, had a profound influence on Belleville as we know it today.

By the mid 19th century, great numbers of German speaking immigrants literally transformed Belleville into a model Germanic town. Belleville was incoprorated as a city in 1850 with a population of 4000. The first English speaking Catholic parish was not established until 1866. The Latin Farmers boasted the nation's first Kindergarten, the Saengerbund (Singing Society), and the Library Society, with one of the oldest libraries in the Midwest and the oldest in Illinois.

As the second oldest in the U.S, the Belleville Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1866 by German musicians and performs to this day. Belleville's population is over 45,000 and includes many residents with German family names. The town has emerged as the financial, legal, medical, and professional center of Southwestern Illinois.

Please complete the appropriate page of the Application & Renewal form and mail it with your payment to:

Belleville Sister Cities, Inc, P.O. Box 333, Belleville, IL 62222-0333

BSC Membership Application Form-2021.pdf