Area 1 Attractions
Cahokia Courthouse SHS
Originally built as a French dwelling around 1740, the home became a courthouse in 1793 and served as a center of political activity in the Old Northwest Territory. From December 1803 until the spring of 1804, Lewis and Clark used the courthouse to coordinate final preparations for their expedition that embarked from Wood River in May of 1804.
Holy Family Church & Parish Museum
Holy Family Church is the oldest church west of the Allegheny Mountains and the oldest continuous Catholic parish in the United States. It was founded by Canadian Missionaries in 1699 and the log church, built in 1799 is a National Historic Landmark.
Jarrot Mansion SHS
This historic brick home was constructed in 1807, making it one of the oldest surviving masonry buildings in Illinois. This State Historic Site is notable for its use of American Federal architectural design. A stone spring house that dates before 1810 can be found on the grounds. In 1974, the Jarrot Mansion was added to the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark in 2001.
Tricentennial Heritage Park
The park was created in 1999 by the Village of Cahokia for their Tricentennial celebration. It is dedicated to Judge Jerome Lopinot. There are four brass plaques written by Lopinot describing the significance of the area. It was the sight of a meeting between George Rogers Clark and a large number of local tribes in August of 1778. Clark convinced them to remain neutral during the American Revolution.
Martin-Boismenue House SHS
This home is typical of many of the French Creole poteaux-sur-solle (post on sill) type dwellings that pre-dominated the area in the late 18th century and is one of the oldest structures of its kind in Illinois. Built by Canadian born Revolutionary War veteran Pierre Martin, its squared-log outer walls rest upright on a log sill mounted on a stone foundation.
Pulcher Mississippian Mounds Site
Pulcher Mississipian Mounds (1100 to 1400 AD) is an intact archaeological site with eight earthen mounds, that once had plazas, buildings, gardens, and a craft workshop. This ancient village was associated with the Cahokia Mounds Urban Center. Use Old State Route 3 going north out of Columbia, IL. Turn left onto Davis Ferry Rd. and follow the road over Interstate 255 viaduct and railroad tracks.
Less than 50 feet off of an original section of the KCT, this log cabin subscription school was located on the northeast quarter of the 400 acre land claim belonging to James Piggot’s wife. A frame school replaced the log school in 1902. The restored schoolhouse still stands today.
Piggot’s Fort Marker
A marker commemorates and interprets the life of Revolutionary War Captain, James Piggot. Around 1783, Captain Piggot arrived in the American Bottoms with 17 other families after a long and arduous battle with the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes at Fort Jefferson near Paducah, KY. The families established a fort on Carr Creek just under the bluffs along the road from Kaskaskia. This was said to have been the largest fortification erected by early Americans in Illinois.
Historic Main Street District
As the population of settlers grew near Piggot’s Fort, a town containing general stores, blacksmith and harness shops, mills, and hardware stores was soon established. Platted as the town of Columbia, the original Kaskaskia to Cahokia Road was re-routed to the east becoming the Main Street of the new town. Historic Main Street Columbia was designated Illinois’ 46th Main Street Community in 2015 and boasts national and local historic landmarks, a thriving residential and business community, and exciting local events held throughout the year.
Built in 1850, this historic home is a unique example of a brick two-story German vernacular cottage on a limestone foundation, a style popular in the 1830s to late 1800s and easily the most prevalent style found in Columbia’s historic neighborhoods. The home is being restored and features furniture and memorabilia from the Miller and Fiege families who owned it for nearly 150 years.
Historic Main Street Columbia Self-guided Walking Tour
Copies of the tour are available at the Columbia Public Library, 106 N. Metter Avenue or at Columbia City Hall, 208 S. Rapp St. Visitors are guided through a historical journey of Columbia’s Historic Main Street and buildings. Once the primary mail and stagecoach route through Columbia, Main Street attracted businessmen who built inns, taverns and shops that served travelers and a growing number of settlers.
Shoemaker Schoolhouse Plaza
The one-room schoolhouse commemorative plaza incorporates several pieces of Kaskaskia-Cahokia Trail history. The Shoemaker School, a one-room schoolhouse originally built as a log cabin school in 1851, was replaced in 1867 with a new brick schoolhouse. The schoolhouse was moved to this site after the threat of being demolished with the widening of IL Route 3 and was recently re-branded as POP-UP SHOP, Columbia, IL. The shop offers a short term rental space where entrepreneurs, retailers and makers sell their wares.
One-Room Schoolhouses of Monroe County Exhibit
Located at the Shoemaker Schoolhouse Plaza, this exhibit identifies the more than 60 one-room schoolhouses that once dotted the County.
Gall Road Stone Arch Bridge
Several European-style stone arch bridges are found in Monroe County. This basic design was first used by the Roman Empire for bridges and aqueducts and is still a popular design because it can withstand extreme conditions. German immigrants who came to Columbia in the mid-1800s borrowed this design and used the abundance of local limestone to construct this bridge over Carr Creek.
Whiteside Station Memorial
Whiteside Station was originally built in 1783 between Columbia and Waterloo as a stockade. It was rebuilt by Captain William Whiteside (1747-1815) with his family and friends to offer protection to early settlers from American Indians along the KCT. The memorial honors Captain Whiteside and his role as a patriot during the Revolutionary War.
Eagle Cliff/Miles Cemetery
Many founding American pioneers and soldiers of Monroe County are buried here next to a rare bluff top prairie, and over-looking the Mississippi River floodplain below. Graves for soldiers from the American Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican-American War, Civil War and 20th century wars, along with those of prominent local families are found here. The Miles Family mausoleum is a prominent historic structure at the cemetery.