Places of the Past

Places of the Past

Southern Region


Customs House Museum. 14th & Washington Cairo, IL 62914 Mo-Fr 8AM-noon, 1-3PM 618-734-3637 The Federal Customs House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a three-story limestone building with an extensive collection of African American heritage, information on the Civil War era iron clad ship, the USS Cairo, and a collection of prehistoric Native American artifacts.

Thebes Court House. Off Rte. 3 Thebes, IL 62990 The 1845 courthouse houses a limited collection of prehistoric artifacts in the basement. It is an impressive stone building overlooking the Mississippi River.


Carlyle Lake Visitor Center. Carlyle, IL 618-594-2484 The visitor center, located at the southern end of the 26,000-acre lake, has exhibits on the construction of the lake, natural history, and a display about the archaeology of the area. www.mvs.usace.army.mil/carlyle


The Pounds Site. Rim Rock National Recreation Trail, 5 miles east of the Garden of the Gods on Karbers Ridge Blacktop. 618-658-2111 The Rim Rock National Recreation Trail is a paved interpreted trail. The trail includes signage for the Pounds site, which contains the remains of one of eleven Late Woodland stone forts located in the Shawnee Hills in southern Illinois. www.fs.fed.us/r9/shawnee/rogs/gog.pdf


Fort Massac State Park. 1308 E. 5th Street Metropolis, IL 62960 618-524-4712 The visitor center at Fort Massac contains both prehistoric Native American artifacts and artifacts recovered from Fort Massac during 1939-42, 1966 and 1970 excavations. The French built Fort De L'Ascension on the site in 1757, during the French and Indian War, when France and Great Britain were fighting for ultimate control of central North America. Rebuilt in 1759-60, the structure came under fire only once, when unsuccessfully attacked by a group of Cherokee. In 1794, President George Washington ordered the fort rebuilt, and for the next 20 years it protected U.S. military and commercial interests in the Ohio Valley. Abandoned in 1814, Fort Massac became Illinois' first state park in 1908, with reconstruction of the fort beginning in 1971. http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/Landmgt/PARKS/R5/frmindex.htm


Giant City State Park. 235 Giant City Road Makanda, IL 62958 618-457-4826 There are new interpretive signs located at the Giant City Stone Fort, which can be found on one of several hiking trails in the park. Like the several other stone forts in southern Illinois, Giant City Stone Fort was constructed during the late Woodland time period. http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/Landmgt/PARKS/R5/GC.HTM

General John A. Logan Museum. 1613 Edith St., P.O. Box 563 Murphysboro, IL 62966 Jun-Aug: Mo,We-Sa 10AM-4PM; Su1-4PM Sep-Nov and Mar-May: Sa 10AM-4PM, Su 1-4PM 618-687-4388 The museum is located in the Christopher C. Bullar house. General Logan was born in a two-story frame house that was located on the museum grounds between1826 and the1870s. Archaeologists from Southern Illinois University and local students have been excavating the early house site, and archaeological collections from a decade of excavations from the original Logan home are on display at the museum. www.loganmuseum.org


Millstone Bluff. 13 miles northeast of Vienna, IL Shawnee National Forest, USDA Forest Service Millstone Bluff is the site of an unplowed prehistoric Mississippian village, stone box cemetery, and rock art site. The bluff itself is a unique topographical feature rising 320 feet above the surrounding comparatively flat terrain. It appears as an "island" amidst the hills. Millstone Bluff was so named because early settlers in the area carved milling stones along the base of the northwestern edge of the bluff. These hand-carved millstones were used to mill local farmer's grains into flour. Although the Native American occupation at Millstone Bluff extends from A.D. 500 to A.D. 1500, the majority of the artifacts recovered from the site are Mississippian (A.D. 900-1500). The village consists of approximately 24 house depressions loosely clustered around a central plaza. The rock art or petroglyphs present at Millstone Bluff were almost certainly carved by Mississippian Indians. www.fs.fed.us/r9/shawnee/heritage/archaeologymsb.pdf


Union County Museum (formerly Cobden Museum), S. Appleknocker (west side of town next to the post office), Cobden, IL 62920 Sa-Su 1:00-5:00PM, contact 618/893-2567 or 893-2067. Exhibits include American Indian artifacts from private collections from sites in Union County and southern Illinois. In addition, there are 19th-century pottery vessels from the Kirkpatrick family and Anna Pottery, and other pioneer items.

Kaolin Pond 5 miles west of Cobden, IL. This archaeological site is managed by the USDA Forest Service. Kaolin was a mid-nineteenth century kaolin clay mine and village. The remains of the worker's house are still visible, as is a railroad bed, part of the mine infrastructure.