In the late 1800’s the area that is now Swansea was a mix of farming and commerce. It was home to underground coal mines, foundries, brickyards, and the Gundlach Drill Works, manufacturers of the most efficient grain drills of that era. The early residents were fiercely independent and bent on conducting their own affairs. When the municipality that sat on their doorstep reached out to annex their lands and businesses they decided to start their own community. On November 27, 1886 a group of 35 area residents petitioned the county government “that they are desirous of having said territory organized as a village…That the name of the proposed village shall be New Swansea. “The residents voted on December 16, 1886, to form their own community and name it New Swansea”. A petition for annexation to the city of Belleville was being circulated in the territory. Establishing an independent community was a quick and effective method of avoiding annexation. And so a new municipality was incorporated on December 20, 1886. In 1898 the lot at the corner of Brackett and Illinois Streets was purchased for $300. The Village Hall was completed shortly thereafter at a cost of $619.50.The current Swansea Government Center building, located at 1400 N. Illinois Street, was dedicated in 1986. This building cost just a little more than the original Village Hall (about $165,000) The Police Department’s $500,000 addition was completed a few years later. Swansea is now recognized as one of the fastest growing communities in the metro-east.
A Metrolink Train Station is located in Swansea. Commuters may leave their vehicles in the well-lighted parking lot and ride the air-conditioned trains from Scott AFB to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport with stops at many locations throughout the metro-east. Many passengers “ride the rails” to and from work each day. It’s a great way to travel in and around the St. Louis area.