Our Village

Village of Godley History

A petition having being filed in compliance with Article XI of an Act to provide for the incorporation of cities and villages; approved April 10, 1872. In force July 1, 1872, at an election held in the school house on Section 19, in Township 32, North of range 9, East 3d P.M., County of Will, and State of Illinois, on March 10, 1888 , for the purpose of determining the question whether the West half of Section 19, and the West half of the Southwest quarter of Section 18, town[ship] 32, range 9 Will County, Illinois and the East half of Section 24, township 32, range 8, Grundy County, Illinois (as papers by said petition on file) should become incorporated as a village, named Village of Godley, under the general laws of said state. The following were named judges of election: Thomas Dickinson, Bernard Lafferty and Battista Enrietta, with Cornelius Morris and Robert Billard as clerks, all of whom qualified by taking and subscribing to the constitutional oath.

Whereupon, and on the same day aforesaid, nineteen (19) votes were cast, upon a canvass of which as appears from record, eighteen (18) votes were for village organization under the general law and one (1) vote against village organization under the general law. Thereupon said result was communicated to the County Court of Will County, and thereafter notice given by said court as the law requires, calling upon the voters of said village to elect the necessary officers for the first term, at which election held on the 17th day of April 1888, the following officers was duly elected as appears from the records of said court and the files of said village.

1888
President: John Phillips
Trustees: John McMasters, Thos. Dickinson, Samuel Carter, Robert Billard, Bernard Lafferty, Michael Kasel
Village Constable: James Nichol
Village Clerk: E. Howell
Village Treasurer: Thos. Howells

1889
President: John Phillips
Trustees: Henry Cox, Battista Enrietta, J. E. Wall, M. Burda, Jos. Malek, Samuel Carter
Police Magistrate: E. Howells
Village Clerk: Bernard Lafferty
Village Constable: Jas. Nichols
Village Treasurer: Thomas Howells

1890
President: John Phillips
Trustees: Robert Billard, Battista Enrietta, Martin Burda, James Malek, John Kratochvil, Anton Braida
Village Clerk: Joseph Malek
Village Constable: Michael Slow
Village Treasurer: Thomas Howells

1891
President: Joseph Malek
Trustees: John Kratochvil, Henry Cox, Edward Millard, Joseph Pliml, Joseph Slouf, Anton Braida, Martin Berunek, Samuel Carter, Morgan Prossar (to fill vacancy)
Village Clerk: Bernard Lafferty
Village Constable: James Malek
Village Treasurer: Louis Turin

1892
President: Joseph Malek
Trustees: Joseph Pliml, Samuel Carter, John Kratochvil, Joseph Slouf, Martin Berunek, Edward Millard, Morgan Prossar (to fill vacancy)
Village Clerk: Bernard Lafferty
Village Constable: James Malek
Village Treasurer: Louis Turin

1893
President: Joseph Malek
Trustees: Samuel Carter, Martin Berunck, Morgan Prossar, Charley Joseipiet, Frank Broucek, Ed. Millard
Village Clerk: Bernard Lafferty
Village Treasurer: Louis Turin
Village Constable: James Malek

According to the book The Braidwood Story, in the 1880’s Godley had a population of nearly 500 people. When the mines closed down in the 1890’s the population dropped to about 50. The town consisted of a store, over 18 taverns and about 8 houses of ill repute.

Coal mining was the main source of income in Godley and the surrounding towns at the time. According to the 1883 Illinois Coal Report for the K-Mine “previous estimates and predictions as to the increasing magnitude of this industry (coal mining) and demonstrate the vital influence which the coal resources of the State are destined to exert upon the development and welfare of its manufactures, commerce and trade. It not only provides for its own manufactories, railroads and interior towns an abundance of cheap fuel, but it is also the chief source of supply for the two great central markets, Chicago and St. Louis.” “It (coal mining) has promoted immigration, enterprise and industry, and materially increased the wealth and welfare of all its people.

In the vicinity of Godley there was the K-Mine and the M-Mine shafts located in Will and Grundy Counties. These two counties, combined with Kankakee, LaSalle and Livingston counties formed what was to be known as the First District of coal mines. The Chicago, Wilmington and Vermilion Coal Co. ran both the K and M mines in the late 1800’s. According to the 1883 Coal Report, “the largest coal business done by any one company is that [of] the Chicago, Wilmington and Vermilion Coal Co., which raised from three shafts in Braidwood and additional shafts in the Streator areas over 780,187 tons.

According to the 1885 Coal Report, Grundy and Will Counties employed 5,496 miners and other employees; two people were reported as being killed and 20 others being injured. Steam and horses provided the necessary power that the miners used for coal production. At this time there were 15 mines in Grundy County and 2 mines in Will County.

The 1887 Coal Report stated the miners of the First District had done better and had been more content during the past year than in the two preceding years.; prices paid for mining being 91.7 cents, while those  of the previous year were 80.3 cents in the summer and 88.1 cents in the winter. During the same year, the Chicago, Wilmington and Vermilion Coal Company bought out the Wilmington and Springfield Company and tripled production.

In 1888 the Bureau of Labor4 recognized that several mines were abandoned during the year. In Grundy County, the Chicago, Wilmington and Vermilion Company shut down the K-Mine shaft in Godley. Before being closed, statistics showed that the K-Mine employed 432 people and brought out 73,418 tons of coal at a value of $1.25 a ton. During that same year the Chicago, Wilmington and Vermilion Company sunk a new shaft named the M-Mine about one-half mile east of the K-Mine and would put in Cherry’s self-dumping cages, and one of Ramsay’s coal distributors, both of which would effect a great saving in the handling of the coal at the top of the mine.

In 1889 the Chicago, Wilmington and Vermilion Companies M-Mine located in Godley was running with over 200 employees and brought out 47,234 tons of coal with 1 man killed and 1 man injured. An unfortunate entry in the 1890 Coal Report reads “On October 1st 1890, Joseph Plema, topman, a single man, employed the “M” mine, had both his legs taken off by a loaded railroad car running over them. He was moving the car for unloading when an iron crowbar he was using for support swung around and struck the deceased causing him to be thrown in front of the car and before he could get out of the way, the wheels passed over both his legs; he died four hours later.”

The Godley Park District

At an election on November 2, 1982 the question was put to the voters of the Village of Godley, shall a park district be formed to be known as the Godley Park District and to elect commissioners? The voters approved the passage, and on the 11th of that same month, papers were filed in court for the Park to be recognized as a governmental body. Later that month, on November 29, 1982 the Godley Park District held its first Board meeting at the original Godley Village Hall. Until a permanent facility was built, the Park Board met at the Godley Village Hall. Present for the first meeting were Commissioners Edna Alton, Mary Decker, Roland Mourning, Bob Stanford, Sr., Jerry Urban and Attorney Daniel Rozak.

While establishing the Park District, the Board was trying to acquire 45.6 acres belonging to the Wyduck Family for the permanent park. The land was located along County Line Road at the Northeast corner of County Line Road and Beagle Club Road, in Will County. On August 4, 1985, a bright and beautiful day, the dedication of the new park grounds and equipment was held. Board members and local community members were on hand for the ceremony that took place at the small pavilion. As the years went on the area around the small pavilion was developed into a children’s playground with plenty of lush shade trees.

Located where School Street comes into the Park on the North side, is the original entrance. It is at this location that a dedication stone, awning and flag pole was located. The flag pole once stood in front of the one room school house that was located in Godley.  Upon the dedication stone is listed the founding members of the Park District along with the dates of Parks establishment and dedication.

The Village Hall

In approximately 1987 the Board of Trustees of the Village of Godley made the determination that a new village hall was needed. The current hall routinely flooded when there were heavy rains and the building lacked needed office space, storage and improved heating and air conditioning. A new Village Hall was constructed on the Village grounds immediately South of the existing Hall. While the new hall was being constructed the Village celebrated its centennial in August 1988. The Village, through the generous efforts of the Park District, was represented in community parades that summer by a float done in the shape of a large 3-tier cake.

Sources:
The Braidwood Story / Modesto (M.J.) Donna, 1957.
A Historical Look at Recreation Development in Godley, Illinois, 1997.
Illinois Coal Reports, 1883-1890.
Revised Ordinances of the Village of Godley, 1893.

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Meeting Dates

May 16, 2018
June 20, 2018
July 18, 2018
August 15, 2018
September 19, 2018
October 17, 2018
November 21, 2018
December 19, 2018
January 17, 2019
February 20, 2019
March 20, 2019
April 17, 2019

Godley Public Water District
Treatment Plant & Administrative Office
440 So. Center Street
Godley, IL 60407
815-585-GPWD (4793)

Mailing Address:
Godley Public Water District
P. O. Box 130
Godley, IL 60407

For questions contact us at questions@godleypublicwater.org