The Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway needs your input to interpret the Illinois River Valley's history!
The Illinois River Road organization is working with Sea Reach, Ltd. to develop an Interpretive Plan for History of the Illinois River Valley that will help to illuminate and connect disparate destinations and sites along this important heritage corridor that hold special historic and cultural meanings. The 10-county Illinois River Road corridor follows the Illinois River from LaSalle to Mason Counties.
In addition to the framework that our consultants have established, we are collecting stories, personal accounts, family histories and memories of historic events, and folk traditions of life in the Illinois River Valley, so that we can bring the stories of this place alive.
We would like you to think about things that are unique about Central Illinois and the Illinois River Valley -- something that really stands out, and we'd love for you to join us at an upcoming public input session to share your story.
Can you think of the one "wow" factor for this area -- its history or culture-that sets the Illinois River Valley apart from everywhere else? It could be a story, a smell, a tradition, or a time and a place. It can be a favorite memory. What does this place (your community, the river, a particular site) mean to you?
Any details about life along the Illinois River or historical connections to innovations are especially encouraged.
We are particularly interested in the following:
- Stories of people that worked on the river and/or in building or maintaining dams and waterways along the Illinois River
- Witnesses to any weather-related disasters
- Accounts of people who make things for a living
- Residents knowledgeable about local traditions and history
We are also looking for:
- Personal accounts of work in factories; coal and silica mines; farms; area industries
- Descriptions of unique jobs that you can't find anywhere else
- Have you or a family member or friend been involved in creating something new or innovative?
- What is your favorite memory from your childhood that may interesting to others learning about our history?
- What is one tradition that you have and still practice?
The goal of this Historical Interpretive Plan is to weave together a coherent experience from this existing cacophony of messages and stories, and to identify new sites that recognize and interpret historic events in a thematic way that has meaning that resonates throughout the byway experience.
YOUR input will help us create a plan that reflects the rich and diverse history of this region.