Visitor's Guide to Godfrey, Illinois


Visitors Guide to
Madison County, Illinois

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Godfrey, originally called Monticello, was named for a Massachusetts sea captain, Benjamin Godfrey, who arrived in Alton on a steamboat in 1832. The son of Mayflower descendants, Godfrey had run away to sea at age nine and by the time of his arrival in Alton, he had made and lost two fortunes, one in a shipwreck, another at the hands of Mexican bandits. Within two years, he had established a prosperous business in Alton. The father of several daughters, he wanted to give them a formal, Christian education. To achieve this goal, Godfrey donated thousands of acres and a large sum of money to found Monticello Seminary in 1838. The Benjamin Godfrey Memorial Chapel was built on the campus grounds in 1854. Lewis and Clark Community College is now located on the grounds of what had been Monticello Seminary. 

Godfrey is comprised of 34 square miles, which makes it the second largest Illinois community area wise. Visitors can find fields of corn, rolling hillsides dotted with orchards, and scenic river views. Along the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River is the 300 acre John M. Olin Nature Preserve and the Kemp and Cora Hutchinson Bird Sanctuary. In the fall the town hosts the The Great Godfrey Maze, a giant outdoor maze created from rows of corn.

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