Visitors Guide to Attractions
in the
Wood River, Hartford, Bethalto and East Alton Area
Madison County, Illinois
   
The Wood River area is Lewis and Clark country. It was here that the Corps of Discovery set up camp in the winter of 1803-1804 before they embarked on their epic journey. A new Interpretive Center opened in December of 2002 and there are two Camp DuBois recreations in the area. The area hosts several museums covering local history and visitors interested in the Mississippi River can tour the Melvin Price Locks and Dam and the adjacent National Great Rivers Museum. 
   
   
Lewis & Clark
State Historic Site

Route 3 at Poag Road
Hartford, IL
618-251-2680
  Located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, just several miles south of the current mouth of the Wood River is Camp River Dubois. This site is designated as Site #1 on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and features the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and a replica of the 1803-04 winter encampment. The Interpretive Center is one of six major historical Lewis & Clark sites in southwestern Illinois and tells the story of how the Corps of Discovery assembled equipment, supplies and men at Camp River Dubois. The centerpiece is the “Cutaway Keelboat,” a 55 foot long replica of the keelboat that has been cut in half revealing how it was filled with “Tools of every Description &c &c.” An outdoor reconstruction of Camp River Dubois is staffed by at least one member of the volunteer Dubois Detachment when the site is open.
   
Bethalto Historical Museum
124 West Main Street
Bethalto, IL
618-377-8931
  Housed in the former Village Hall the Museum contains exhibits on Bethalto’s past including the role of its citizens in World Wars I and II, the founding of the town, the annual Homecoming Celebration, and a recreated classroom from the past. A mid-1800's log cabin was revealed after a fire at a local home in 1998. Bethalto's school children raised $10,000 to restore this symbol of Bethalto’s pioneer past. The Museum hosts a series of changing exhibits of historical interest.
   
Camp DuBois
NE corner of intersection
of Routes 3 and 143
Wood River, IL
314-223-2621
  In commemoration of the Bicentennial of the departure of the Corps of Discovery, the Wood River Heritage Council has constructed a replica of the camp near where the original Camp DuBois was located.. This site hosts the annual Wood River Rendezvous in May.
   
Lewis and Clark
Confluence Tower

435 Confluence Tower Drive
Off IL-3
Hartford, IL
618-251-9101
  The Lewis and Clark Confluence Tower is a 180-foot tower with three viewing platforms at 50, 100, and 150 feet that overlooks the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Each level of the tower give visitors a panoramic view of the spot where the two rivers meet and, to the south, a view of the St. Louis skyline and the Gateway Arch, and looking north to where the Illinois River meets the Mississippi in Grafton, Illinois. At ground level is a visitor center where guests can learn about the expedition and the surrounding area and plan their trip along the 33-mile route of the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway.
   
Melvin Price Locks & Dam
2751 Berns Highway
East Alton, IL
877-462-6979
  Every year, millions of tons of commodities pass through the Melvin Price Locks and Dam. Located just south of the Clark Bridge near Alton, the Melvin Price Locks and Dam is the only facility that in the Middle Mississippi River Valley that accessible to the public. Visitors can watch river craft use the locks and free tours are conducted daily. Picnic tables and bird watching platforms are located along the entrance drive. The National Great Rivers Museum is located on the property and the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary is just across the river.
   
National Great Rivers Museum
Hwy 143 at Locks & Dam Way
East Alton, IL
877-462-6979
  The National Great Rivers Museum is located next to the Melvin Price Locks and Dam and features state of the art interactive displays and exhibits that help visitors understand the many aspects of the Mississippi River and how it affects our lives. A large model of the bluffs provides information local flora and fauna. An aquarium displays the various species of Mississippi River fish. Exhibits display how humans have used the Mississippi as a highway and chronicle the types of vessels used from canoes to modern day barges. The Pilot House allows visitors to see what it's like to guide a 1,000-foot tow of barges. A park is along the entrance road has picnic facilities and bird watching platforms and the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary is just across the river.
   
Wood River Museum
& Visitors Center

40 W. Ferguson Avenue
Wood River, IL
618-254-1993
  Operated by the Wood River Heritage Council, the Wood River Museum & Visitor’s Center allows visitors to explore the town’s varied past. Exhibits in the museum highlight the early days of the town including the impact of Standard Oil on the community, the wild days of Benbow City, and life during the various eras of the town.
   
Wood River Refinery
History Museum
Route 111 & Madison Street
Roxana, IL
618-255-3718
  Located near the refineries in Roxana and operated by a small group of Shell retirees, the Wood River Refinery History Museum offers a visual history of the Shell Wood River refinery from its beginning in 1917 to the present. The museum has a collection of over 1,000 refinery and oil product related artifacts including the modified 1924 Chevrolet that was the Marathon Record Holder from 1952-1966.
A-1 Limousines,
Trolleys & Tours
Wood River, IL
  101 Whitelaw Avenue
618-254-7874
     
Nearby Attractions

Alton Area
  Northwest of the Wood River area is the city of Alton, the largest city in the Scenic Byway area. Alton is the home of several Civil War related sites, as well as the Alton Museum of History and Art, Robert Wadlow (the world's tallest man) and several historic districts. In Godfrey, visitors can find 300 acres of tall-grass prairie and woodlands at the Olin Nature Preserve. Crossing the Mississippi via the Clark Bridge leads to the Riverlands Environmental Demonstration Area. Just northwest of the Alton Visitors Center is the start of the Sam Vadalabene Bike Trail.

Southern
Madison County
  To the south of the Wood River area travelers will find the remains of a prehistoric Native American civilization at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. Horseshoe Lake State Park is known for fishing, hunting and its excellent bird watching opportunities. Route 66 passed through Edwardsville and Granite City, and Collinsville is the site of the world’s largest catsup bottle. There are several local history museums and numerous sites and districts on the National Register of Historic Places.
     
For Travelers Heading Across the River
  Meeting the Missouri River
The two longest rivers of the United States, the Missouri and the Mississippi, meet at St. Charles County, Missouri. The Historic St. Charles downtown area offers visitors a variety of attractions including the Lewis and Clark Boat House and Nature Center, The Foundry Art Centre, and Missouri’s First State Capitol. Nearby is Confluence State Park and the Daniel Boone Home.
  St. Louis Area
Metropolitan St. Louis has a lot to offer its visitors. The area's most prominent attraction is the Gateway Arch, which is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial complex that also includes the Museum of Westward Expansion. St. Louis has a number of outstanding public institutions that are free to visit including the Zoo, Art Museum, History Museum, and the Science Center. The St. Louis region has a number of green spaces for nature and outdoor enthusiasts. Forest Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. Faust County Park, in St. Louis County, is home to many historical and cultural attractions including the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House, a historical village, and the St. Louis Carousel. The county is also home to Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park, Columbia Bottom Conservation Area, the Powder Valley Conservation Area..
   
FEATURED ATTRACTIONS ALONG THE GREAT RIVER ROAD
Historic
Elsah, Illinois
Sam Vadalabene
Bike Trail
Jacoby Arts Center
Alton, Illinois
Cahokia Mounds
State Historic Site
     



 
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