The village of Pontoon Beach had its origins in the cottages and clubhouses built adjacent to Long Lake. The area was sometimes referred to as Jones Park because a man named Ollie Jones owned property along the lake.
There are two slightly different stories concerning the origin of the name “Pontoon Beach.” One says that the name was used because a bridge supported by pontoons was built across the lake. The other claims that the name began because steep banks lined most of the lake and residents made docks that were floated on pontoons, thus forming a kind of beach.
The area was known to be a good place for fishing, hunting, picnicking, and swimming (apparently a sandy beach did exist along part of the lakefront), and the recreational opportunities attracted residents from nearby Granite City, Madison, and Venice.
The election of December 8, 1962, resulted in the incorporation of Pontoon Beach as a village. It officially became a self-governing body when the first election of village officials was held on March 23, 1963.
At the first meeting of the board of trustees, on April 11, 1963, the following officials were seated:
This meeting was later declared illegal because it was held outside the village boundaries.
At the second meeting, Douglas Harvey was appointed village marshal and Ruth Norton became treasurer. Harvey had no badge, no uniform, and no car. Norton had no money in the treasury. Both positions were unpaid.
At the time of incorporation, Pontoon Beach had about 190 homes, a supermarket, five churches, and three taverns located on a half-mile-square area.
Engelke, Georgia McCormick. The Great American Bottom. St. Louis, 1983.
Granite City Press-Record, supplement titled “Congratulations, Village of Pontoon Beach, Ill. for 25 Years of Success and Continued Growth,” 1988 (specific date unknown). Articles written by staff writer Valerie Evenden.
Leavell, Alfred. “Origin of Peculiar Place Names in (and Around) Granite City, Illinois.” Unpublished manuscript written for English 400 (college or university unknown), March 3, 1965.