Places of the Past

Places of the Past

American Bottom Region


Horseshoe Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area. 3321 Highway 111 Granite City, IL 60240 618-931-0270 The nearly 3,000-acre park area was inhabited by Native Americans as early as 10,000 years ago. The lake, a former channel of the Mississippi River, provided abundant plant and animal resources. The Horseshoe Lake platform mound dating to the Mississippian period (A.D. 1000-1200) can be viewed within the park. http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/Landmgt/PARKS/R4/HORSESP.HTM

Madison County Historical Museum & Archival Library. 715 N. Main St. Edwardsville, IL 62025 We-Fr 9AM-4PM; Su 1-4PM 618-656-7562 Exhibits in a restored 1836 home include Native American and pioneer artifacts.

Piasa Bird Memorial. Ill. Rte. 100, 3 miles north of Alton, IL In 1673, Marquette and Jolliet observed two monsters painted on the limestone bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. Descriptions of the monster are similar to that of the "water panther" in Algonquian mythology. The current image is reconstructed from earlier descriptions. http://www.greatriverroad.com/Cities/Alton/PiasaBird.htm

South Roxana Mounds. South Roxana Park Smith Street South Roxana, IL Two mounds that may date to the Middle to Lake Woodland period are visible within the park.


Fort de Chartres State Historic Site. RR 2 Prairie du Rocher, IL 62277 Site is four miles west of Prairie du Rocher, IL on Ill. Rte. 155 We-Su 9AM-5PM, closed holidays 618-284-7230 Visitors to the Peithman Museum, in the king's storehouse at Fort de Chartres, will see on display many eighteenth-century archaeological artifacts relating to the French occupation of Randolph County. Intended to protect the French and Indian population of Illinois, the first Fort de Chartres was constructed of wood in 1718. The gun powder magazine from the third fort, built of stone by engineer Francois Saucier in 1754, was all that remained above ground before major excavations and reconstruction began in the 1970s. Today, visitors see a partially rebuilt eighteenth-century fort, now the location of several popular special events. http://www.state.il.us/HPA/hs/DeChartres.htm

Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Site. 4372 Park Road Ellis Grove, IL 62241 We-Su 6AM-10PM Camp ground is open seven days a week 618-859-3741 The 200-acre bluff-top park includes the remnants of a French earthen-work and timber fortification constructed in the mid-1700s. The outstanding view of the Mississippi River overlooks the Kaskaskia River, Kaskaskia Island and the site of the original village. The park hosts several special events throughout the year. http://www.state.il.us/hpa/Kaskaskia.htm

Modoc Rock Shelter. County Rte. 7, 2 mi. SE of Prairie du Rocher The sandstone bluff at Modoc Rock Shelter provided shelter for Native American groups beginning shortly after the Ice Age, then continuing for almost 8000 years. The rock shelter, best known for Archaic period campsites from 8,900 to 4,000 years ago, has had archaeological investigations in the 1950s and 1980s. Now owned by the State of Illinois, Modoc Rock Shelter is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark.

Piney Creek Ravine State Natural Area. 8 miles west of Ava, IL West of DuQuoin and south of Steeleville on the Randolph-Jackson County line. 618-826-2706 Piney Creek Ravine contains the largest body of prehistoric rock art in Illinois. Almost 200 designs believed to date to the Late Woodland (A.D. 500-1000) and Mississippian (A.D. 1000-1550) periods occur within the ravine. Native Americans created the rock art by either pecking and then grinding (petroglyphs) or painting (pictographs) designs on rock surfaces. Petroglyphs that can be seen within Piney Creek Ravine include human figures, deer, serpents and crosses. Pictographs within the ravine include human figures, deer, birds, human hands and a canoe. The rock art within Piney Creek Ravine represents a legacy left to us by prehistoric Native Americans; it can be easily damaged. Any disturbance to the rock art or any rock surface within the ravine is forbidden under state law and is punishable by fines. Help protect and preserve the rock art by taking only photographs; disturbance or vandalism can be reported to the Site Superintendent, Randolph State Fish and Wildlife Area, 618-826-2706 or IDNR Cultural Resource Coordinator, 217-782-3715. http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/parks/R4/pcr.htm

Randolph County Archives & Museum. 1 Taylor St. Chester, IL 62233 Su, Mo, Th, Fr 12:30-3:30PM 618-826-2667 Exhibits include Native American artifacts.


Colonial Cahokia State Historic Sites. Cahokia Courthouse 107 Elm St. Cahokia, IL 62206 We-Su 9AM-5PM 618-332-1782 Originally constructed by the French about 1730-1740, the Cahokia Courthouse served as the center of political activity in the Northwest Territory in the late eighteenth century. The courthouse, constructed of upright hewn logs in the poteaux-sur-solle (post-on-sill foundation) method, was dismantled in 1901 and reconstructed on its original site in 1939. WPA excavations in the 1930s are included in the courthouse exhibits. The Colonial Cahokia State Historic Sites include the nearby Martin-Boismenue House and the Jarrot Mansion, with access to the Holy Family Church (a National Historic Landmark). www.state.il.us/hpa/Courthouse.htm

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site & Interpretive Center. 30 Ramey St. Collinsville,IL 62234 We-Su 9AM-5PM; Grounds, 8AM-dusk 618-346-5160 Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site preserves 2,200 acres of the largest prehistoric Indian community north of Mexico. The original site covered nearly 6 square miles, included 120 mounds and, at its peak around A.D. 1050-1150, had a population of 10-20,000 people of the Mississippian culture. The focal point of the site, Monks Mound, is an earthen platform mound that covered more than 14 acres and rose to a height of 100 feet above the American Bottom floodplain. The site is one of the few places in North America designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The story of this unique place is told in a world-class Interpretive Center featuring exhibits, dioramas, numerous artifacts and graphics, a life-size village recreation and an excellent Museum Shop. The site also sponsors seasonal guided tours and year-round self-guided tours, special events, workshops, programs and lectures. Visitors who take one of several tour trails may view a variety of ridgetop, conical and platform mounds preserved within the park, as well as a reconstructed portion of the two-mile long stockade that once enclosed the center of the city. An area west of Monks Mound has a reconstruction of the Woodhenge sun calendar, used to determine the equinoxes and solstices. www.cahokiamounds.com

Emerald Mound. Lebanon, IL vicinity From Lebanon, take Ill. Rte. 4 north to Emerald Mound Grange Road, turn east; mound is to the south. A driver can loop around the mound by taking Emerald Mound Road south, then Midgley-Neiss Road west, back to Ill. Rte. 4. The largest of the three remaining Mississippian mounds in this group is a large flat-topped pyramid, about 20 feet high. The site is owned by the State of Illinois.