When the first European settlers come to the region around 1835, they camped along the Kishwaukee River, now the center of Belvidere. The settlers decided to name the town Belvidere, for the Latin meaning of Belvidere is “beautiful to see”. By the mid to late 1800’s, Belvidere became an industrial hub. Commercial transportation began in 1851, the National Sewing Machine Company became the largest employer of the city around 1900, and the Green Giant Company came to town in 1911. Now, the Chrysler Corporation Belvidere Assembly Plant, General Mills, Dean Foods, Yang Feng Automotive Interiors, and Magna International all call Belvidere home, acting as large industrial employers to the area. In 1912, Belvidere was described by business woman Sarah Jones, “You can’t catch the real Belvidere with a camera- it’s the spirit of the real Belvidere which I like- the spirit shown by its schools and churches and friendly business firms, and manifested in the ideals of its people.” This same spirit is still displayed in Belvidere, through our rich history and our new beginnings.
Belvidere’s educational facilities include seven public grade schools, three private grade schools, two public middle schools, two private middle schools, and two public senior high schools. The public schools are a part of School District No. 100, who provides bus services for the schools.
According to the 2016-2017 Illinois State Report Card, District 100 enrollment is as follows:
Caledonia Elementary School- 365 students, Lincoln Elementary School- 595 students, Meehan Elementary School- 632 students, Perry Elementary School- 298 students, Seth Whitman Elementary School- 670 students, Washington STEM Academy- 900 students
Belvidere Central Middle School-1009 students, Belvidere South Middle School- 815 students
Belvidere High School- 1,263 students, Belvidere North High School-1,505 students.
This totals 8,052 students enrolled within District 100. In addition, District 100 serves special education students up to the age of 21 with a transition program. This helps students learn to cook, find jobs, and go shopping.
The YMCA houses an indoor swimming pool, gymnasium, banquet room and multiple club rooms. More information can be found at the YMCA’s website: http://belviderefamilyymca.org
Belvidere Park District
The Summerfield Zoo is the only zoo in the Northern Illinois area. With a variety of animals and activities, the zoo provides an enjoyable experience for everyone. More information can be found at the Zoo’s website: http://www.summerfieldfarmandzoo.com
Farmington Pond and Kishwaukee River Fishing
Farmington Field Pond is open to the public from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset. The local pond has a variety of fish species, from bass to northern pike to bluegill. More information can be found http://www.ci.belvidere.il.us/resident-information/farmington-pond-fishing
Ida Public Library
Boone County Historical Museum
Belvidere houses The Pettit Memorial Chapel designed by the famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Besides the Pettit Chapel, Belvidere has 31 locally landmarked buildings and four nationally registered landmarks. For more information on the historical buildings and their preservation, visit: http://www.boonecountyil.org/page/city-belvidere-historic-preservation-commission
Local Utility Information
The water and sewer departments are owned and operated by the City of Belvidere. Water is supplied by seven deep wells ranging in depth from 120 feet to 1,800 feet, capable of producing over 12.2 million gallons of water per day (mgd). In addition to the seven wells, there are also three elevated water storage tanks with a capacity of 1.1 million gallons and two ground storage reservoirs with a capacity of 1.935 million gallons. The average annual pumpage of water is over one billion gallons. The water is pumped through more than 679,000 lineal feet of water main to serve our residents with 1,245 fire hydrants to provide fire protection. The entire water system is computer controlled (SCADA) to maintain consistent water pressure. The water system is operated in accordance with EPA regulations under the direction of a state-certified licensed operator.
Belvidere’s activated sludge/tertiary filter waste water treatment plant has a capacity of 5.85 mgd. Sewage is collected through more than 564,000 lineal feet of sanitary sewer main, over 28,000 lineal feet of sanitary force main, and 12 sanitary sewer lift stations. The sanitary sewer system is operated in accordance with EPA regulations under the direction of a state-certified licensed operator.
Our growing community is experiencing the excitement of greeting new citizens, while also strengthening the relationships of longtime residents. We hope you enjoy your visit, and visit us often. We know you will want to come back again soon!