Welcome to the Neighborhood
Combining the conveniences of a metropolitan area and the pleasures of small-town life, Lebanon is a place many enjoy calling home. Single-family homes, condominiums, villas, lofts, apartments - there are options for every taste and budget. Lebanon also has a wide range of senior living options including apartment communities, assisted living, and full-care facilities.
Located less than thirty minutes from the heart of St. Louis, Lebanon, Illinois is a community steeped in history.
No one is actually sure when the first inhabitants of the area came, but they left behind what is known today as "Emerald Mound". Part of the works by "mound builders" found throughout this area, "Emerald Mound" is located just northeast of the present city. You can learn more about it and the others in the area at the Cahokia Mounds State Historic site.
200 years ago, an original settlement was located to the south and east of the current city. Populated in 1814, Lebanon was incorporated as a town in May, 1857 and reorganized as a city in 1874. A special census was taken in the mid 2000s and put the population of the city at just over 4000. The 2010 census should reveal an even larger number.
Lebanon’s commitment to education came early. In 1828, pioneer Methodists founded Lebanon Seminary, which in 1830 was renamed McKendree College. Today, as McKendree University, it is Illinois’ oldest college and the oldest Methodist-affiliated college in the United States.
During the 1800s, Lebanon became a significant milling, distilling, brewing, and manufactory town. At one time, the town boasted nine saloons, five hotels, and a wide array of flour mills, distilleries, a brewery and saw mills.
In 1842 Charles Dickens traveled to America, as far as St. Louis at the time and afterward wrote his book, "American Notes" which was published later that year. On April 12, 1842 Dickens and his entourage of thirteen men stayed the afternoon and evening in Lebanon, departing the next morning. He wrote of his “Jaunt to the Looking Glass Prairie and Back” referring to his stay at the Mermaid House Inn and his walk about Lebanon. His next writing in 1843 was his most remembered, "A Christmas Carol." It is believed by some that he received some of his inspiration for the story from his stay in Lebanon the previous year. A Christmas Carol is performed every Holiday season at Lebanon’s famed Looking Glass Playhouse.
In 1903, the East St. Louis and Suburban Railway interurban line was expanded to Lebanon. At that time, many affluent St. Louisians had summer country cottages in Lebanon. They would travel to Lebanon by horse and buggy or by interurban to get away from the hectic life of the city. Many of the stately homes within Lebanon were built during this time period.
In 1917, Scott Air Force Base was opened just seven miles to the south of Lebanon. It was one of the very first of the new air bases in the country brought on by the onset of World War I. 90 years later, Scott Air Force Base continues strong as one of the largest employers in metropolitan St. Louis. Today, Scott houses three global command headquarters for the military. Many active and retired Air Force personnel make their homes in Lebanon.
Opened in 1998, Mid-America St. Louis Airport is located adjacent and parallel to Scott Air Force Base and just three miles south of Lebanon. It was built to take some of the burden off of St. Louis Lambert Airport and to better serve the needs of the over 500,000 residents of the metro east area.