No team had quite the impact on our country that Lewis & Clark did. To gain a better understanding of what the duo and their exploration meant to the development of the west, pay a visit to the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Hartford, Illinois. It’s just down river from Alton, Illinois, where you’ll find a great place to stay at the historic Beall Mansion bed and breakfast.
In December, 1803, William Clark and his men set up camp at the mouth of River Dubois, on the east side of the Mississippi near present-day Hartford. They left on May 14, 1804; met up with Meriwether Lewis, who was in St. Louis making final plans; and then continued up to the Missouri River and points west. The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, located at the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site, showcases Illinois’ role in this westward expedition.
Spanning more than 14,000 square feet, the center provides a wealth of information, including exhibits, displays, artifacts, and multimedia renderings. A good place to start your tour is viewing the short film, The Journey’s Edge, an overview of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a 55-foot full-scale replica of the keel boat used by the team on their trip. Six galleries detail the journey.
Gallery 1, “Across the Continent,” features a large globe with international trade routes of the 19th Century.
Gallery 2, “Visions,” shows our country’s differing views at the time Thomas Jefferson commissioned the expedition.
Gallery 3 is where visitors can view the above-mentioned film.
Gallery 4, “Bound for the Westward,” connects preparations made at Camp Dubois in Illinois with experiences along the trail. This is where you’ll also find the keel boat.
Gallery 5, “An Epic journey,” features an audio reading of Lewis & Clark’s journals, as well as drawings the two made along the way.
Gallery 6, “Rediscovering the Corps,” explores the outcome of the journey, and discusses the changes it caused.
Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center
One Lewis and Clark Trail, Hartford, IL
Open daily in summer, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
September – May: Wednesday – Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Northwest from Hartford in Alton, the Beall Mansion welcomes guests with beautifully appointed rooms, feather-top beds, baths with marble floors, and afternoon tea in the parlor. Quite the ending to a lovely day of touring.
407 #. 12th Street, Alton, IL
Beall Mansion is a member of the Illinois Bed and Breakfast Association … a unique lodging experience!