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Building on the Past


During the years 2003-06, our nation commemorates the Bicentennial of the Lewis & Clark Expedition of 1803-06. The Lewis & Clark Expedition is the most important exploration of unknown territory in our nation's history. This epic three-year journey, undertaken by the 33-member "Corps of Discovery," has been retold in numerous books, films and a television series. Illinois is the first of the 11 Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail states.

During the fall of 1803, traveling on Illinois River, Lewis and Clark recruited, trained and tested men from several frontier forts. The men built the first of their three winter camps, Camp Dubois, in the area. After months of training, on May 14, 1804, the men finally launched their boats from the eastern shore of the Mississippi River at River Dubois (Wood River), Illinois.

The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center located on Illinois Route 3 at New Poag Road is the eastern most Lewis & Clark Expedition site and one of the most informative. It is attracting nationwide attention during the Bicentennial celebration.

Lewis & Clark Expedition

Lewis and Clark and Camp Dubois
The replica of Camp Dubois, Lewis and Clark's first winter camp, located at the Lewis & Clark Trail Site Number 1, provides visitors with the opportunity to directly experience the living environment of the Lewis and Clark Members during the days they camped and trained in Illinois for their historic journey to the northwest.

Plans for the replica were based on the journals and field notes of William Clark.

The Piasa Bird - A Local Legend
Located on the bluffs just west of Alton on the Great River Road, the recently restored painting of the Piasa Bird is an area highlight. When the first explorers reached this area hundreds of years ago, they reported that the local Indians had a similar painting which they called the Piasa Bird.

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