Established in 1997 by the Wood River Heritage Council,
the Wood River Museum & Visitor’s Center allows visitors to explore the
town’s varied past. A Memorial Garden and Courtyard is adjacent to the museum
and features plants native to Illinois and a gazebo dedicated to Lewis and
Clark. 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. Significant events in Wood River’s
history such as the Flood of 1915 and the opening of the world’s largest
swimming pool in 1926 are covered. Lewis and Clark are featured and visitors can
view a video of their journey and see a model of Camp DuBois.
|An early 20th century
||Early Wood River
After the arrival of the Standard Oil, Wood River began to
grow rapidly. Standard Oil employed about 90% of Wood River’s population in
the 1920's and housing the workers became a problem. The solution came from the
Sears and Roebuck catalog in the form of their housing kits. Sears sold these kits,
which included everything needed to build a house down to the nails and
electrical outlets from 1910 to 1935. At one point Standard Oil bought
$1,000,000 worth of these kits to build area housing. While not all of these
houses were built in Wood River, the town has one of the largest concentrations
of Sears houses in the country, particularly along the east side of the 100 and
200 blocks of 9th Street. If you are interested in learning how these houses
were constructed and how to identify them, call the museum for a tour. There is
no minimum number needed and the tours are free, but donations are suggested.
The museum operates a gift shop containing a wide
selection of historical and children’s books, Native American jewelry, fun
gifts for kids and specialty items. The Wood River Heritage Council also
operates Camp Dubois, a reconstruction of Lewis
and Clark's winter of 1803-04 encampment.
Visiting the Wood River Museum &
Thursday - Friday: 1 pm - 4 pm
Saturday 10 am - 4 pm
For group bookings, call: 618-254-7442
There is no charge to visit the Wood River
Museum & Visitor's Center, although donations are appreciated.
Directions: The Wood River Museum & Visitor's Center is located
at 40 W. Ferguson Avenue, one block north of IL-143 and approximately ten blocks
west of IL-111.
more about the Wood River area.
The official site of the Wood River Heritage Council which operates Camp
Dubois as well as the Wood River Museum and Visitors Center, the Wood River
Historic Chapel, and is involved with the upkeep of the historic Vaughn Cemetery.