There are many historic places in Illinois that are a short drive from Downtown St. Louis. Many are from the time when the French governed what was then called the "Illinois Country". The Historic Cahokia Courthouse is an example of French Creole architecture and was built in 1740. Another historic place with French ties is Fort de Chartres, a fort built in 1760 by the French to govern the Illinois Country. The reconstructed fort is located near the French founded community of Prairie du Rocher Illinois. Another historic location would be the Village of Leclaire. The entire village is on the National Register of Historic Places and was founded in 1890 by the entrepreneur N.O. Nelson who had a utopian vision to create a factory town with the workers' best interests in mind. Historic homes, cemeteries, museums, Native American sites, even the world's largest Catsup Bottle can all be found in the Metro East!
But what makes a building, structure or location "historic"? For the purpose of our list, we had several questions we asked. Did the location, structure or building have "history" happen there? Was the owner or a resident of the location, structure or building important to St. Louis history? Or was the location, structure or building itself important to St. Louis history? Has it been placed on the National Register of Historic Places and/or recognized as a St. Louis area "landmark"? Is it a museum highlighting some time period, person or place in St. Louis history?
Below is a list of almost fifty historic places that can be visited in Illinois. Some are free, others charge an admission fee and still others are private and can only be viewed from the street or by the owner's permission (please be courteous!). Spend a day visiting one or plot out an entire of day of historic places to visit! Enjoy! We did!