In the Footsteps of Lewis and Clark
From Illinois to the Pacific
July 27 - Aug. 13, 201

Note from your historian, Tom Laidlaw

July 26, 2014 - The Road Scholars begin arriving tomorrow, but each year I come to St. Charles & St. Louis a little early to see the changes in the Lewis and Clark interpretive infrastructure. Since I began in 2001 two different replicas of Camp River Dubois have been built, one large interpretive center, two confluence parks, and a tall viewing tower. It is fun to speculate on the beginning of the Lewis and Clark Trail. Many places are beginnings of sorts, but Lewis himself told us:

from the L&C Interpretive Center at Hartford, IL

This tower at Hartford, IL lets us view the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers

Here's a longer view showing a litle more of the upstream Missouri River..
This is where Lewis and Clark started their journey on May 14, 1804. The tower was planned to be ready for the bicentennial but money ran out. The town and many volunteers kept on going, however, and it was finally opened for business on May 14, 2010. A very satisfying view after a long wait. Our guide was Charlie Enright. Last year he and Hartford's mayor, Jim Span, gave me a special tour in the pouring rain. Needless to say, ths year was much better.
In 2011,our driver, Road Captain Marv, came with me and we visited the replicas of Camp River DuBois, where the Corps spent the winter of 1803-1804.

That's right, I said replicas. This one in Wood River, ILwas built entirely by the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles. it is thought to be close to the original location.

One of the problems of modern interpretation of river sites is that rivers are constantly changing. Here's a  comparison of the historic and modern confluences. We can no longer find the exact sites so the  best we can do is to build our interpretation nearby. Here we have two replicas. The one in Wood River is probably closer to the original location, but does not have the sense of confluence.

The state built replica is closer to today's confluence, so it gives a better overall idea of the situation in 1804.

This replica, down the road apiece and near today's confluence, was built by the State of Illinois, as part of their L&C Interpretive Center. This one has roofs slanted to the inside, while the other has them slanted to the outside.

The one spectacular thing about the Illinois L&C interpretive center is the cutaway keelboat pictured below.