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History & Culture in Downstate Illinois

Discover how life has changed in the past 1,300 years at the largest prehistoric Indian city north of Mexico, then move through the decades past Abraham Lincoln’s early years to present day events at historic sites.

Ainad Shriners of Southern Illinois

The Ainad Temple, established in 1912, received its official charter in 1913. Today, it is the largest of 5 Masonic temples in the whole state! And, w...more!

American Farm Heritage Museum

The American Farm Heritage Museum is home to a selection of farm implements, tools, tractors and other equipment dating back over 100 years. A 16,000 ...more!

ASC Memorial Sculpture

Visit the ASC Memorial Sculpture in front of the convent of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. The statue honors the five sisters martyred in Liberia...more!

Bellefontaine House

Originally the home of Captain James Moore, the Bellefontaine House was the first American settlement in the State of Illinois. Located along the Kask...more!

Berger-Kiel Log House

Get a glimpse into local life in the 1800's viewing the log house, the Anstedt barn and period garden. By appointment....more!

Bond County Courthouse

The 19th-century courthouse has a great view of the town's hundreds of crab apple, red bud, and cherry trees in season. It is the centerpiece of t...more!

Bond County Museum

The Bond County Historical Society’s Bond County Museum provides visitors with a glimpse of the county’s proud 200 year heritage. Located ...more!

Bosshard Monument

The Bosshard Monument stands as a tribute to Swiss poet Heinrich Bosshard, who wrote Semparcherlied here in the 1850s. ...more!

Burl Ives Grave

Mound Cemetery in Newton houses the final resting place of legendary entertainer Burl Ives. Ives' granite monument serves as a remembrance for tho...more!

Carnegie Museum

The collection of books and artifacts of World Famous Ornithologist Robert Ridway and artifacts from the oil, military, education, farming and medical...more!

Cathedral of St. Peter

Built in 1866, the English Gothic architectural masterpiece is the largest Cathedral in Illinois with regularly scheduled services....more!

Centralia Carillon

The Centralia Carillon ranks among the top 10 largest in the world, standing at 160 feet with 65 bells cast in Annecy, France in 1982 and 1983. The be...more!

Centralia Historical Society Museum

Termed "One of the Hidden Gems of the Midwest", this 3 story former grocery warehouse features a large model train layout, agriculture and o...more!

Charley Brown Memorial Park

Swimming pool, campground, ball fields, home of Little Toot Railroad...more!

Charter Oak Schoolhouse

This building is a study in physics as well as history as it was designed to withstand strong winds and capture light throughout the day....more!

Cholera Cross

The original wooden cross was erected in 1850 by a farmer in thanksgiving for his family being spared during a cholera epidemic. Subsequent owners of ...more!

Civil War Fort

Visit an exact replica of a Civil War Fort complete with a jail, one room home, livery and log cabins. Be sure to see the display of area churches and...more!

Civil War Monument at the Veterans' Memorial

This honors generations of soldiers who sacrificed their lives for their country....more!

Clark County Genealogical Library

Founded in 1975, the Clark County Genealogical Library is a non-profit concerned with the collection and preservation of genealogy and Clark County...more!

Clark County Historical Museum

The Manly-McCann House, built in 1838, is on the National Register of Historic Places and houses most of the museum collection. Open Sundays from 2 to...more!

Clinton County Historical Museum

Built in the late 1800s as a private home, the museum holds many artifacts from the area, including genealogical material, books and periodicals on th...more!

Coal Miners Monument

Joseph Koch, who along with eight other local miners died in a mine explosion in 1947, is depicted here....more!

Cohen House

This beautifully restored mid-1800's home has cobalt blue windows that were described in a book by author Mark Twain. Tours by appointment and ope...more!

Crawford County Historical Museum

Visit the Crawford County Historical Society's 15 rooms of Ole Crawford History. The museum also houses the Wabash Valley Archaeology Society down...more!

The Creole House

The house built in 1800 is an example of a combination of French and American architecture. Tours by appointment....more!

Cumberland County Historical & Genealogical Museum

Find exhibits related to the National Road, Abraham Lincoln, county founders and favorite sons, Jerry & Dick VanDyke. There's also a tribute t...more!

Cumberland Covered Bridge

The Historic National Road follows Old Hwy. 40 across the state. As it goes through Greenup, the road crosses the Embarras River. In 2000, the one-lan...more!

Dahlgren Depot

The original St. Louis and South-Eastern Railroad Depot remains in excellent condition. Builders began work on the railroad depot in 1870. When constr...more!

The DeMoulin Museum

See lodge initiation devices and related paraphernalia from the early 1900s like the low-down buck goat, lung tester and invisible paddle machine. Tod...more!

Eagle Cliff Miles Cemetery

The Eagle Cliff Miles Cemetery had its first known burial in 1806. The cemetery overlooks the American Bottoms - a flood plain of the Mississippi Rive...more!

Edwards County Historical Society Museum

This museum is located at the birthplace of Louis Lincoln Emmerson, who was Governor of Illinois from 1929-1933. Open by appointment....more!

Emma Kunz House

Considered to be the oldest Greek Revival-style home in Illinois, the house contains antiques and memorabilia from the 1800s. By appointment only....more!

Excel Bottling & Brewing Co.

Book a tour of Excel Bottling & Brewing Co. on your upcoming Downstate Illinois adventure in Breese, IL! Excel produces Southern Illinois' bel...more!

Fayette County Museum

The museum contains Lincoln-era memorabilia and artifacts of the people living in the county. Of special interest is an original paper press from the ...more!

At the Fife

In 1898, David Fife began the construction of the second story opera house in downtown Palestine. On the street level, Fife operated a hardware s...more!

First Official Airmail Flight Mural

Dorothea Mierisch's mural commemorates the first official airmail flight in McLeansboro on September 26, 1912. Today, you can visit the mural in t...more!

Flora Depot Museum

The Depot is located right by the tracks and houses not only the Museum, but a conference room and offices. Search the photos and exhibits for the lov...more!

Fort de Chartres

The 1750's French Colonial fort is built atop the original stone foundation. Inside the fort is the restored powder magazine believed to be the ol...more!

Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Site

Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Site preserves the time-worn earthen remains of Fort Kaskaskia, constructed by the French ca. 1759 to defend the town of...more!

Garrison Hill Cemetery

This cemetery was created when graves were moved from Kaskaskia Island to Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Site in the 1890s after a flood. According to ...more!

Gateway Classic Cars & Museum

See everything from Model T's to Muscle cars and shop the Antique Mall for classic car models and memorabilia....more!

Gateway Geyser

Downstate Illinois is home to the second tallest fountain in the world! The Gateway Geyser sits across from St. Louis' Gateway Arch on the Mississ...more!

Genealogical Library in Marshall

Founded in 1975, the building houses historical records including family history, county births, deaths, marriages, war records, census records and ce...more!

Governor Bond Memorial Evergreen Cemetery

Visit the Governor Bond State Memorial, which marks the burial site of the first Governor of Illinois, Shadrach Bond. U.S. Senator Elias Kent Kane, Il...more!

Greenup Train Depot & Museum

Who doesn't love trains? Static displays, trains running through model layouts and even a train circling the room inches from the ceiling will gra...more!

Hamilton County Museum

The museum houses photos and other artifacts detailing the history of the area. Located on the Second Floor of the McCoy Memorial Library....more!

Hanna House Museum

The Hanna House Museum is open Saturdays, April through October,10 a.m.--2 p.m. except on holidays. It is located at 101 E. Center Street, Fairfield, ...more!

Harlan Hall

Built in 1872, the two-story Victorian brick building featured a livery stable on the first floor and an Opera house. Harlan Hall now serves as a comm...more!

Heath Museum and Confectionary

This museum is located on the West Side of the Square in Robinson. Enjoy ice cream and sodas from an old-fashioned soda fountain while listening to yo...more!

Heritage House Museum

The complex includes three properties: Dr. Poos Home & Medical Museum (202 N. Front St); the Frank Schlosser Complex (114 W. Walnut), a turn- of-t...more!

Edwards County Jail

In 2004, the Historical Society began the restoration of the former County Jail to house the society's library and genealogical collection. Nearby...more!

Historic National Road Scenic Byway

The National Road is called the "road that built the nation" because it was the first highway in American history. Today the National Road in Illinois...more!

History Museum of Monroe County

Anchored by Col. Edd Kueker's extensive collection of Western memorabilia including a stagecoach, wagons, bridles, saddles and so much more. The colle...more!

Holy Family Log Church

The log church was built in 1799 and is the oldest church west of the Allegheny Mountains....more!

Hutson Memorial Village (Hutson Cabins)

This reconstructed 1812 settler village, was erected through the industrious efforts of the Hutsonville Historic Society. Begun in 1967, it honors the...more!

Illinois Central Railroad Riverwalk

Walk along the former historic Illinois Central Railroad to the beautiful scenery that is the Kaskaskia River. You enter the trail behind he Fayette C...more!

Illinois Oil Field Museum

This museum is located at the west edge of Oblong and is one of only 7 such facilities in the nation. Featured are displays, tools, books, and a full ...more!

Illinois Rural Heritage Museum

Visitors enjoy exhibits depicting life in rural areas complete with authentic items from the period. The highlight of the the museum will be the machi...more!

Immaculate Conception Chapel

The Kaskaskia Bell State Memorial is home to the Kaskaskia Bell. France's King Louis XV gifted the 140-pound bell to the Catholic Church of New Fr...more!

Ingram's Pioneer Log Cabin Village

16 pre-Civil War furnished cabins are open for self-guided tours. Open April 15-Nov 15....more!

Jim Beasley Veterans Tribute at Kaskaskia College

Jim Beasley Veterans Tribute at Kaskaskia College honors combat and non-combat service men and women from five Downstate Illinois counties: Bond...more!

Kaskaskia Bell Shrine and the Liberty Bell of the West

The bell was rung as the island was captured from the British during the Revolutionary War by Col. George Rogers Clark and his "Long Knives."...more!

Kaskaskia Dragon

The side of the highway seems like the least likely place to spot a fire-breathing dragon... but not in Vandalia! You can even make this 35-foot-tall ...more!

Kaskaskia Immaculate Conception Church

We are a Catholic Church, located in Kaskaskia Illinois, the first state capital of Illinois....more!

Kaskaskia-Cahokia Trail Coalition

King Louis XV of France, that is! French colonists gave this name to the Kaskaskia-Cahokia Trail (KCT) in the early 1700s. More than 300 years later, ...more!

Kid's Kingdom

A re-creation of Historic McLeansboro where children can climb, swing, slide and play. The park also offers a pavilion, bathroom facilities, and a woo...more!

Kinmundy Log Cabin Village

Visit the Kinmundy Log Cabin Village to see 19th century pioneer-era log structures and artifacts of a time long past. The Kinmundy Log Cabin Villiage...more!

L. Haas Store Museum

The museum features a rather unique display. Bill Hanna, "The Humane Hangman," is showcased with the tools of his trade from an era when cri...more!

Labor & Industry Museum

The Labor & Industry Museum is the only public institution devoted to the history of the labor and industry of Belleville and southwestern Illinoi...more!

Lakey Creek Bridge

Legend has it this is the site of the 'headless horseman", a haunting from the late 1820s when Joel Lakey was decapitated by an evil son-in-l...more!

Lawrence County Historical Museum

See displays of historical artifacts of Lawrence County, along with models of the oil field industry. Open Mon - Fri 8:30am-4:30pm...more!

Lincoln Historic Plaque

Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas both spoke here during their historic U.S. Senate race in 1858. The site, once a grove of trees, is marked with a ...more!

Lincoln Marker

On a large natural stone in the Park, you can see the trail reported to have been used by Abraham Lincoln and others as they traveled between Vandalia...more!

Lincoln Park

Located across the street from Illinois' Oldest State Capitol, the park features a life-size bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln designed by world-re...more!

Lincoln School Museum

Representative of the brick construction of one-room schools in the 1880s, this restored building is typical of the era and the education available at...more!

Lincoln Trail State Memorial

This memorial commemorates the crossing of the Lincoln family from Indiana to Illinois in early March of 1830....more!

Lion Statues

Can you find all 40 of Marshall, IL's lion statues! Painted statues scattered throughout the community tell a story of life in Marshall. Complete ...more!

Little Brick House

The house is filled with china, furniture, engravings and books belonging to settlers during the time Abraham Lincoln attended the legislature (1834-1...more!

Looking for Lincoln Storyboards

Ten storyboards depicting Abraham Lincoln's early years as a legislator are installed around Vandalia. Find out about his early romance with Mary Owen...more!

Louis Latzer Homestead

The founder of the Pet Milk Company built this house that was one of the first with electricity and running water inside. Home to annual festivals cel...more!

Madonna of the Trail

This is one of 12 statues in the U.S. honoring the pioneer women who traveled along the National Road....more!

Maeystown Rock Mill Museum

The entire village of Maeystown is on the historic register with much of the village history preserved in the museum....more!

Marissa Academy Museum and Coal Miners Monument

Memorabilia celebrating the city's growth from a coal-mining town to the present make this an interesting stop. Wednesdays Noon - 3 p.m. or by app...more!

Marshall Walldog Murals

During the week of June 22-26, 2016 over 150 artists from across the United States as well as Canada, New Zealand, Scotland, England and Australi...more!

Martin-Boismenue House

Built in the 1790's in the French vertical-log style, this is the oldest known residence in Illinois. By appointment....more!

Mary Smith Fay Genealogy Library

This is a great source for local history and searching family archives. Open Tuesday-Friday 11:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m....more!

Mary's River Covered Bridge

Built in 1854 as part of a planked toll road, Mary's River Covered Bridge is a must-see for any history buff. In fact, Mary's River Bridge is ...more!

Mascoutah Historical Society & Heritage Museum

The Museum gathers history from Mascoutah, Engelmann and Shiloh Valley Townships. Harvey C. Pitt's mounted waterfowl collection is featured along ...more!

The Matsel Cabin

Learn about 1850s-era log cabins when you visit here. The front room is painted with milkpaint and is furnished in the manner the Matsel family would ...more!

The Mermaid House

Visit The Mermaid House Hotel for a taste of local and U.S. history during your Downstate Illinois adventure. Named for the mermaids he reported seein...more!

Metro East Pride of Southwestern Illinois

Metro East Pride promotes unity, viability and self-esteem among lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender persons with cultural and educational pr...more!

Midcentury Modern Architecture Museum

In November 2015 the Belleville Historical Society purchased the Terry and Thelma Blazier House at 8501 West Main Street (#6 Oak Knoll Place) in ...more!

Moravian Church and Cemetery

This congregation migrated here from North Carolina and the church building was dedicated in 1846. According to custom, the cemetery is laid out in fo...more!

National Road Interpretive Center

Learn the history of travel and transportation in the early days of our country through interactive maps, exhibits and films. You'll see how the Natio...more!

New Athens Historical Society Museum

Experience the history of an early settlement named Athens, which later became the Village of New Athens in about 1866. Open House 3rd Sunday of each ...more!

O'Fallon Historical Society Museum & Archives

Exhibits and research library focusing on O'Fallon area history including native sons, Oscar-winning actor William Holden and illustrator Bernie Fuchs...more!

O'Fallon Veterans' Monument

Visit the beautiful 15 pillar star-shaped monument. Lovely during the day and especially moving when illuminated at night....more!

Old Cahokia Courthouse

Old Cahokia Courthouse log cabin, is considered one of the oldest Illinois houses. ...more!

Old State Cemetery

Bronze markers give biographical information about prominent citizens from the earliest history of the community....more!

One Room Schoolhouse Museum

This museum of interest is the One-Room School Museum. It is an actual one-room school house furnished with items that came from the more than 70 one-...more!

Perry County Jail Museum

Built in 1871, the Jail Museum was the city's third jail. The Sheriff and his family lived upstairs, and women prisoners were kept in locked rooms...more!

Peterstown House

Built in 1830, this is the only stagecoach stop still intact along the 60 mile Kaskaskia- Cahokia Trail. Saturday and Sunday 1-4 p.m. or by appointmen...more!

Pierre Menard House

This 1800's house was the home of Illinois' first Lt. Governor when Kaskaskia was the first State Capital....more!

Popeye & Friends Character Trail

Popeye stands tall in the Elzie C. Segar Memorial Park by the Visitors Center in Chester. Search through town for his friends on murals and statues: W...more!

Randolph County Museum & Archives

See an old electric chair (last used to execute a woman who killed her brother), and many county & Native American artifacts, Kaskaskia manuscript...more!

Ratcliff Inn Museum

Abraham Lincoln slept here in 1840. The collection features items from the original owner such as a bookcase, rope bed, cloak, etc. Other artifacts, p...more!

Red Bud Area Museum

The beautiful Opera House, built in 1855 in downtown Red Bud, is the site of the new Red Bud Area Museum. German settlers came to this part of Illinoi...more!

Rex Museum of Monroe County

A Lionel train set shares space with British toy soldiers, crystal, porcelain, period furniture, antiques and collectibles....more!

Richard W. Bock Sculpture Museum

The museum features hundreds of sculptural pieces by Richard Bock, best known for his work with architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Hours for the museum are...more!

Richland Heritage Museum

This Victorian Home built in 1874, features complete turn-of-the-century furniture and artifacts. Sunday afternoons April to the Sunday before Christm...more!

Robinson Stewart House

Miss Mary Jane Stewart, granddaughter of a U.S. Senator, donated the house and furnishings to the Historical Society. Open by appointment and for spec...more!

Sainte Marie Foundation Museum

Exhibits at the Foundation House Museum feature artifacts from the 177-year-old village's history, including an examining room from the last medic...more!

Salem Area Historical Museum

Salem Area Historical Museum educates, preserves and narrates the inspiring story of the greater area of Salem, Illinois, in Marion County....more!

Scheve Park

The old train depot, a full-size caboose and a train car along with pavilions and ag building can be reserved for group events. Picnic areas, dog park...more!

Scott Field Heritage Air Park

See the workhorse of the Air Mobility Command, the C-141 Starlifter, and the KC-135 Stratotanker at Scott Field Heritage Air Park in O'Fallon, IL. The...more!

Sculptures in the City

Thirty artists' sculptures enhance the landscape in various locations around town. Call for a Sculpture brochure....more!

September 11 Memorial Walkway of Southern Illinois

An actual 35.25 ft. long steel column, weighing 7,100 lbs. from one of the fallen World Trade Center towers is a signature feature of the memorial. A ...more!

Spinach Can Collectibles Museum

This is the home of the official Popeye Fan Club at the 1875 Opera House. See memorabilia dating back to the early 20th century. Mon.-Fri. 9:30 a.m. -...more!

St. Clair County Historical Society Museum

A Victorian adaptation of a Greek Revival home built in the early 1800s, the museum has furniture, vintage clothing, artifacts, quilts, and an extensi...more!

Standin' Proud Veterans Tribute

In the small town of Bartelso, IL, a museum is taking shape. The museum houses veteran tributes such as medals, uniforms, and a very unique F350 truck...more!

Old Stone Arch Bridge

Visit an important piece of the region's history on your next Downstate Illinois adventure. In an area once known as Calvert Hallow, Army engineer...more!

USA Softball of Illinois Hall of Fame Museum

In 2010, the IASA selected Casey as the permanent home for its Hall of Fame. The museum became a part of the current Casey Softball Hall of Honor. It ...more!

Vandalia State House

The Vandalia State House, built in 1836, is the fourth capitol building of the U.S. state of Illinois. It is also the oldest capitol building in Illin...more!

Wabash Cannonball Bridge

This bridge is a most unusual historic bridge, both because this large, multi-span structure is composed of spans from three different dates and also ...more!

Wabash County Museum

The Wabash County History Museum is a wonderful resource in Mt. Carmel that features over a dozen different exhibits for people to experience! Some no...more!

Walldogs Murals

Explore murals through-out the city of Olney! ...more!

William Jennings Bryan Home

On a visit to Bryan Birthplace Museum, you will see many pictures of Williams Jennings Bryan, newspaper clippings, as well as a variety of awards he r...more!

World's Largest Gavel

Visit the World's Largest Gavel at its home in Marshall, IL! Carved from red oak, this massive gavel guards the Marshall Courthouse doors. Be sure...more!

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