Starved Rock State Park

2021, Illinois, Illinois, Native Americans, Road Trip, States

More than once we heard that if we’re headed north, we ought to consider Starved Rock State Park. We were warned to go mid-week since it’s crowded with Chicagoans on the weekend. We checked the website for the campground and noticed a large number of first-come, first-choice sites over the next three days so we made the two hour trip from Petersburg yesterday. Upon arrival we learned that the website is inaccurate and that the number of sites available for three nights was just three, but we found a nicely wooded site and settled in. The other thing we learned was that in fact, the campground was reserved to capacity for the weekend beginning on Thursday! Today we headed to the Visitor Center go get ourselves oriented and figure out what our adventures will be today and tomorrow. As we approached we were astounded by the presence of two overflow parking lots and the number of vehicles in the very large main parking lot. Turns out that it’s a light crowd for mid-week this time of year. Yes. Chicagoans come here in large numbers. Most of them must have been out on the many trails, the interpretive center was not too crowded and we learned a lot about the area. It’s a small but well laid out museum with a mixture of dioramas, displays, and interactive opportunities. We were appreciative of the information about the Illinois native peoples, and of descriptions of their interactions with the French explorers and fur traders. We were intrigued with the fact that the Civilian Conservation Corps did much of the 1930’s construction in this park. And we were fascinated with the model of Fort St. Louis that once stood atop Starved Rock overlooking the Illinois River. Once outside we chose a short hike that took us to the top of the rock and gave us fabulous views of the river and a peek at the geologic layers but also allowed us time to make a trip into nearby Ottawa, Illinois, saving a hike to canyons and waterfalls for tomorrow.

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1 Comment

  1. Sherri

    And…my grandfather was part of the CCC that did the work at Starved Rock. Also the Wisconsin Dells too if I remember correctly. You are not too far from DeKalb, where I grew up and missed a very small, but important part of history that occurred there. Barb wire was invented in DeKalb. There is a very small ‘museum’ (more like a room) that is devoted to this subject at the Elwood House. I don’t think you made it there, the last time you were through. While Elwood House itself is the big draw, it does have some unique characteristics, the history of barb wire is the really important thing. According to the website, its a big garden park with 7 structures. It’s grown since the last time I was there. The Elwood House website has a summary of his involvement in Barb wire. There were two others, Jacob Haish and Joseph Glidden. While poking around I also found a website about Haish that had some additional tidbits. http://www.jacobhaishstory.com. I need to go back and visit my roots LOL!

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