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History & Culture

History & Culture

Downstate Illinois Historical Sites

Downstate Illinois was made for road trips! There is no shortage of historic sites in our region, and we know that history buffs are always on the lookout for places that they haven’t explored yet. With the help of our road trip itineraries, you can discover all that our 21 counties have to offer — from family fun to outdoor adventures and shopping sprees

Ainad Shriners of Southern Illinois

East St. Louis, Illinois
The Ainad Temple, established in 1912, received its official charter in 1913. Today, it is the largest of 5 Masonic...more!

American Farm Heritage Museum

Greenville, Illinois
The American Farm Heritage Museum is home to a selection of farm implements, tools, tractors and other equipment da...more!

ASC Memorial Sculpture

Ruma, Illinois
Visit the ASC Memorial Sculpture in front of the convent of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. The statue honors t...more!

Bellefontaine House

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

Berger-Kiel Log House

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

Bond County Courthouse

Greenville, Illinois
The 19th-century courthouse has a great view of the town's hundreds of crab apple, red bud, and cherry trees in...more!

Bond County Museum

Greenville, Illinois
The Bond County Historical Society’s Bond County Museum provides visitors with a glimpse of the county’...more!

Bosshard Monument

Highland, Illinois
The Bosshard Monument stands as a tribute to Swiss poet Heinrich Bosshard, who wrote Semparcherlied here in the 185...more!

Burl Ives Grave

Willow Hill, Illinois
Mound Cemetery in Newton houses the final resting place of legendary entertainer Burl Ives. Ives' granite monum...more!

Carnegie Museum

Olney, Illinois
The collection of books and artifacts of World Famous Ornithologist Robert Ridway and artifacts from the oil, milit...more!

Cathedral of St. Peter

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

Centralia Carillon

Centralia, Illinois
The Centralia Carillon ranks among the top 10 largest in the world, standing at 160 feet with 65 bells cast in Anne...more!

Centralia Historical Society Museum

Centralia, Illinois
Termed "One of the Hidden Gems of the Midwest", this 3 story former grocery warehouse features a large mo...more!

Charley Brown Memorial Park

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

Charter Oak Schoolhouse

Schuline, Illinois
This building is a study in physics as well as history as it was designed to withstand strong winds and capture lig...more!

Cholera Cross

Breese, Illinois
The original wooden cross was erected in 1850 by a farmer in thanksgiving for his family being spared during a chol...more!

Civil War Fort

Bartelso, Illinois
Visit an exact replica of a Civil War Fort complete with a jail, one room home, livery and log cabins. Be sure to s...more!

Civil War Monument at the Veterans' Memorial

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

Clark County Genealogical Library

Marshall, Illinois
Founded in 1975, the Clark County Genealogical Library is a non-profit concerned with the collection and preservati...more!

Clark County Historical Museum

Marshall, Illinois
The Manly-McCann House, built in 1838, is on the National Register of Historic Places and houses most of the museum...more!

Clinton County Historical Museum

Carlyle, Illinois
Built in the late 1800s as a private home, the museum holds many artifacts from the area, including genealogical ma...more!

Coal Miners Monument

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

Cohen House

Chester, Illinois
This beautifully restored mid-1800's home has cobalt blue windows that were described in a book by author Mark ...more!

Crawford County Historical Museum

Robinson, Illinois
Visit the Crawford County Historical Society's 15 rooms of Ole Crawford History. The museum also houses the Wab...more!

The Creole House

Prairie du Rocher, Illinois
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

Greenup, Illinois
Find exhibits related to the National Road, Abraham Lincoln, county founders and favorite sons, Jerry & Dick Va...more!

Cumberland Covered Bridge

Toledo, Illinois
The Historic National Road follows Old Hwy. 40 across the state. As it goes through Greenup, the road crosses the E...more!

Dahlgren Depot

Dahlgren, Illinois
The original St. Louis and South-Eastern Railroad Depot remains in excellent condition. Builders began work on the ...more!

The DeMoulin Museum

Greenville, Illinois
See lodge initiation devices and related paraphernalia from the early 1900s like the low-down buck goat, lung teste...more!

Downtown Square and Courthouse

Charleston, IL
A courthouse structure has existed on this site since the 1830s. The current building, completed in the 1890s, was ...more!

Eagle Cliff Miles Cemetery

Waterloo, Illinois
The Eagle Cliff Miles Cemetery had its first known burial in 1806. The cemetery overlooks the American Bottoms - a ...more!

Edwards County Historical Society Museum

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

Emma Kunz House

Belleville, Illinois
Considered to be the oldest Greek Revival-style home in Illinois, the house contains antiques and memorabilia from ...more!

Excel Bottling & Brewing Co.

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

Fayette County Museum

Vandalia, Illinois
The museum contains Lincoln-era memorabilia and artifacts of the people living in the county. Of special interest i...more!

At the Fife

Palestine, Illinois
In 1898, David Fife began the construction of the second story opera house in downtown Palestine. On the street lev...more!

First Official Airmail Flight Mural

McLeansboro, Illinois
Dorothea Mierisch's mural commemorates the first official airmail flight in McLeansboro on September 26, 1912. ...more!

Flora Depot Museum

Flora, Illinois
The Depot is located right by the tracks and houses not only the Museum, but a conference room and offices. Search ...more!

Fort de Chartres

Prairie du Rocher, Illinois
The 1750's French Colonial fort is built atop the original stone foundation. Inside the fort is the restored po...more!

Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Site

Ellis Grove, Illinois
Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Site preserves the time-worn earthen remains of Fort Kaskaskia, constructed by the Fr...more!

Francisville Women's Club and Community Log Cabin

St. Francisville, Illinois
...more!

Freedom Rock

O'Fallon, Illinois
Shiloh, Illinois welcomes a stop on the 50 State Freedom Rock Tour. Created by artist Ray "Bubba" Sore...more!

Garrison Hill Cemetery

Ellis Grove, Illinois
This cemetery was created when graves were moved from Kaskaskia Island to Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Site in the...more!

Gateway Classic Cars & Museum

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

Genealogical Library in Marshall

Marshall, Illinois
Founded in 1975, the building houses historical records including family history, county births, deaths, marriages,...more!

Governor Bond Memorial Evergreen Cemetery

Chester, Illinois
Visit the Governor Bond State Memorial, which marks the burial site of the first Governor of Illinois, Shadrach Bon...more!

Greenup Train Depot & Museum

Greenup, Illinois
Who doesn't love trains? Static displays, trains running through model layouts and even a train circling the ro...more!

Hamilton County Museum

McLeansboro, Illinois
The museum houses photos and other artifacts detailing the history of the area. Located on the Second Floor of the ...more!

Hanna House Museum

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

Harlan Hall

Marshall, Illinois
Built in 1872, the two-story Victorian brick building featured a livery stable on the first floor and an Opera hous...more!

Heath Museum and Confectionary

Robinson, Illinois
This museum is located on the West Side of the Square in Robinson. Enjoy ice cream and sodas from an old-fashioned ...more!

Heritage House Museum

Okawville, Illinois
The complex includes three properties: Dr. Poos Home & Medical Museum (202 N. Front St); the Frank Schlosser Co...more!

Edwards County Jail

Albion, Illinois
In 2004, the Historical Society began the restoration of the former County Jail to house the society's library ...more!

Historic National Road Scenic Byway

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

History Museum of Monroe County

Waterloo, Illinois
Anchored by Col. Edd Kueker's extensive collection of Western memorabilia including a stagecoach, wagons, bridles, ...more!

Holy Family Log Church

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

House of Miles EStl

East St. Louis, Illinois
The mission of the House of Miles Leadership is to nurture, empower and embrace the talents of upcoming generations...more!

Hutson Memorial Village (Hutson Cabins)

Hutsonville, Illinois
This reconstructed 1812 settler village, was erected through the industrious efforts of the Hutsonville Historic So...more!

Illinois Central Railroad Riverwalk

Vandalia, Illinois
Walk along the former historic Illinois Central Railroad to the beautiful scenery that is the Kaskaskia River. You ...more!

Illinois Oil Field Museum

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

Illinois Rural Heritage Museum

Pinckneyville, Illinois
Visitors enjoy exhibits depicting life in rural areas complete with authentic items from the period. The highlight ...more!

Immaculate Conception Chapel

Kaskaskia, Illinois
The Kaskaskia Bell State Memorial is home to the Kaskaskia Bell. France's King Louis XV gifted the 140-pound be...more!

Ingram's Pioneer Log Cabin Village

Kinmundy, Illinois
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

Centralia, Illinois
Jim Beasley Veterans Tribute at Kaskaskia College honors combat and non-combat service men and women from five Down...more!

Kaskaskia Bell Shrine and the Liberty Bell of the West

Kaskaskia Island, Illinois
The bell was rung as the island was captured from the British during the Revolutionary War by Col. George Rogers Cl...more!

Kaskaskia Dragon

Vandalia, Illinois
The side of the highway seems like the least likely place to spot a fire-breathing dragon... but not in Vandalia! Y...more!

Kaskaskia Immaculate Conception Church

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

Kaskaskia-Cahokia Trail Coalition

Prairie du Rocher, Illinois
King Louis XV of France, that is! French colonists gave this name to the Kaskaskia-Cahokia Trail (KCT) in the early...more!

Kid's Kingdom

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

Kinmundy Log Cabin Village

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

L. Haas Store Museum

Carmi, Illinois
The museum features a rather unique display. Bill Hanna, "The Humane Hangman," is showcased with the tool...more!

Labor & Industry Museum

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

Lakey Creek Bridge

McLeansboro, Illinois
Legend has it this is the site of the 'headless horseman", a haunting from the late 1820s when Joel Lakey ...more!

Lawrence County Historical Museum

Lawrenceville, Illinois
See displays of historical artifacts of Lawrence County, along with models of the oil field industry. Open Mon - Fr...more!

Lincoln Douglas Debate Museum

Charleston, Illinois
Visit this first-class facility located on the site of the 1858 Charleston, IL Lincoln-Douglas debate. Take a self-...more!

Lincoln Historic Plaque

Greenville, Illinois
Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas both spoke here during their historic U.S. Senate race in 1858. The site, once ...more!

Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site

Lerna, IL
Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site, part of the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area, preserves the 19th-centu...more!

Lincoln Log Cabin State Historical Site

Lerna, IL
Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site, part of the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area, preserves the 19th-centu...more!

Lincoln Marker

Vandalia, Illinois
On a large natural stone in the Park, you can see the trail reported to have been used by Abraham Lincoln and other...more!

Lincoln Park

Vandalia, Illinois
Located across the street from Illinois' Oldest State Capitol, the park features a life-size bronze statue of A...more!

Lincoln School Museum

Martinsville, Illinois
Representative of the brick construction of one-room schools in the 1880s, this restored building is typical of the...more!

Lincoln Trail State Memorial

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

Lion Statues

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

Little Brick House

Vandalia, Illinois
The house is filled with china, furniture, engravings and books belonging to settlers during the time Abraham Linco...more!

Looking for Lincoln Storyboards

Vandalia, Illinois
Ten storyboards depicting Abraham Lincoln's early years as a legislator are installed around Vandalia. Find out abo...more!

Louis Latzer Homestead

Highland, Illinois
The founder of the Pet Milk Company built this house that was one of the first with electricity and running water i...more!

Madonna of the Trail

Vandalia, Illinois
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

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

Marissa Academy Museum and Coal Miners Monument

Marissa, Western
Memorabilia celebrating the city's growth from a coal-mining town to the present make this an interesting stop....more!

Marshall Walldog Murals

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

Martin-Boismenue House

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

Mary Smith Fay Genealogy Library

Carmi, Illinois
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

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

Mascoutah Historical Society & Heritage Museum

Mascoutah, Illinois
The Museum gathers history from Mascoutah, Engelmann and Shiloh Valley Townships. Harvey C. Pitt's mounted wate...more!

The Matsel Cabin

Carmi, Illinois
Learn about 1850s-era log cabins when you visit here. The front room is painted with milkpaint and is furnished in ...more!

The Mermaid House

Lebanon, Illinois
Visit The Mermaid House Hotel for a taste of local and U.S. history during your Downstate Illinois adventure. Named...more!

Metro East Pride of Southwestern Illinois

Belleville, Illinois
Metro East Pride promotes unity, viability and self-esteem among lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender perso...more!

Midcentury Modern Architecture Museum

Belleville, Illinois
In November 2015 the Belleville Historical Society purchased the Terry and Thelma Blazier House at 8501 West M...more!

Moore Home

Lerna, IL
In January of 1861 Abraham Lincoln visited Coles County for what would be the last time. Bound for Washington, the ...more!

Moravian Church and Cemetery

West Salem, Illinois
This congregation migrated here from North Carolina and the church building was dedicated in 1846. According to cus...more!

National Road Interpretive Center

Vandalia, Illinois
Learn the history of travel and transportation in the early days of our country through interactive maps, exhibits ...more!

New Athens Historical Society Museum

New Athens, Illinois
Experience the history of an early settlement named Athens, which later became the Village of New Athens in about 1...more!

O'Fallon Historical Society Museum & Archives

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

O'Fallon Veterans' Monument

O'Fallon, Illinois
Visit the beautiful 15 pillar star-shaped monument. Lovely during the day and especially moving when illuminated at...more!

Old Cahokia Courthouse

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

Old State Cemetery

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

One Room Schoolhouse Museum

Greenville, Illinois
This museum of interest is the One-Room School Museum. It is an actual one-room school house furnished with items t...more!

Perry County Jail Museum

Pinckneyville, Illinois
Built in 1871, the Jail Museum was the city's third jail. The Sheriff and his family lived upstairs, and women ...more!

Peterstown House

Waterloo, Illinois
Built in 1830, this is the only stagecoach stop still intact along the 60 mile Kaskaskia- Cahokia Trail. Saturday a...more!

Pierre Menard House

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

Popeye & Friends Character Trail

Chester, Illinois
Popeye stands tall in the Elzie C. Segar Memorial Park by the Visitors Center in Chester. Search through town for h...more!

Randolph County Museum & Archives

Chester, Western
See an old electric chair (last used to execute a woman who killed her brother), and many county & Native Ameri...more!

Ratcliff Inn Museum

Carmi, Illinois
Abraham Lincoln slept here in 1840. The collection features items from the original owner such as a bookcase, rope ...more!

Red Bud Area Museum

Red Bud, Illinois
The beautiful Opera House, built in 1855 in downtown Red Bud, is the site of the new Red Bud Area Museum. German se...more!

Rex Museum of Monroe County

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

Richard W. Bock Sculpture Museum

Greenville, Illinois
The museum features hundreds of sculptural pieces by Richard Bock, best known for his work with architect Frank Llo...more!

Richland Heritage Museum

Olney, Illinois
This Victorian Home built in 1874, features complete turn-of-the-century furniture and artifacts. Sunday afternoons...more!

Robinson Stewart House

Carmi, Illinois
Miss Mary Jane Stewart, granddaughter of a U.S. Senator, donated the house and furnishings to the Historical Societ...more!

Sainte Marie Foundation Museum

Sainte Marie, Illinois
Exhibits at the Foundation House Museum feature artifacts from the 177-year-old village's history, including an...more!

Salem Area Historical Museum

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

Scheve Park

Mascoutah, Illinois
The old train depot, a full-size caboose and a train car along with pavilions and ag building can be reserved for g...more!

Scott Field Heritage Air Park

O'Fallon, Illinois
See the workhorse of the Air Mobility Command, the C-141 Starlifter, and the KC-135 Stratotanker at Scott Field Her...more!

Sculptures in the City

Belleville, Illinois
Thirty artists' sculptures enhance the landscape in various locations around town. Call for a Sculpture brochur...more!

September 11 Memorial Walkway of Southern Illinois

Belleville, Illinois
An actual 35.25 ft. long steel column, weighing 7,100 lbs. from one of the fallen World Trade Center towers is a si...more!

Spinach Can Collectibles Museum

Chester, Illinois
This is the home of the official Popeye Fan Club at the 1875 Opera House. See memorabilia dating back to the early ...more!

St. Clair County Historical Society Museum

Belleville, Illinois
A Victorian adaptation of a Greek Revival home built in the early 1800s, the museum has furniture, vintage clothing...more!

Standin' Proud Veterans Tribute

Bartelso, Illinois
In the small town of Bartelso, IL, a museum is taking shape. The museum houses veteran tributes such as medals, uni...more!

Old Stone Arch Bridge

Marshall, Illinois
Visit an important piece of the region's history on your next Downstate Illinois adventure. In an area once kno...more!

Thomas and Sarah Lincoln Gravesite

Lerna, IL
John Jake Gordon, one of the first settlers in Pleasant Grove Township, set aside one and a half acres of his priva...more!

USA Softball of Illinois Hall of Fame Museum

Casey, Illinois
In 2010, the IASA selected Casey as the permanent home for its Hall of Fame. The museum became a part of the curren...more!

Vandalia State House

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

Wabash Cannonball Bridge

St. Francisville, Illinois
This bridge is a most unusual historic bridge, both because this large, multi-span structure is composed of spans f...more!

Wabash County Museum

Mt. Carmel, Illinois
The Wabash County History Museum is a wonderful resource in Mt. Carmel that features over a dozen different exhibit...more!

Walldogs Murals

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

Washington County Historical Society

Nashville, Illinois
...more!

William Jennings Bryan Home

Salem, Illinois
On a visit to Bryan Birthplace Museum, you will see many pictures of Williams Jennings Bryan, newspaper clippings, ...more!

World's Largest Gavel

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

Downstate Illinois Events

Downstate Illinois Events

Explore Our Event Calendar
Whether you’re looking for a festival, marathon or something family-friendly to bring the kids to, Downstate Illinois has something for everyone. The region hosts over 900 events each year, and we pride ourselves on providing the most accurate event information so that you don’t miss a thing.
Travel Ideas

Travel Ideas

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From outdoor recreation and adventure to foodies and family fun, we have the trip ideas to plan the perfect vacation.
Road Trip Itineraries

Road Trip Itineraries

21 Counties made for Road Trips
Downstate Illinois was made for road trips! With the help of our road trip itineraries, you can discover all that our 21 counties have to offer — from family fun to outdoor adventures and shopping sprees. 
Check out our calendar of events!
Clinton County Fair

Clinton County Fair

July 14, 2024 - July 20, 2024 @ 5:30 PM - 12:00 AM
Carlyle, IL
Formula Drift

Formula Drift

July 18, 2024 - July 20, 2024 @ 12:00 PM - 12:00 PM
World Wide Technology Raceway | Madison, IL
Explore Waterloo's Black Friday/Christmas in July

Explore Waterloo's Black Friday/Christmas in July

July 19, 2024 - July 20, 2024 @ 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Downtown Waterloo | Waterloo, IL

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