George Rogers Clark Trail
Day 13: September 2nd, 1999 Cape Girardeau — Chester
Wet Land Mississippi River, IL
Mississippi River, Illinois
Because of the bad experience yesterday evening, I try the Continental Breakfast for the first time - and hopefully for the last time. But you are finished very fast and so I am crossing the Mississippi on Highway 146 around half past nine.
Then I follow the road on levee through the alluvial land of the Mississippi.
Mississippi River Tower Rock
In the area of Grand Tower I make a short stop for taking pictures of the Tower Rock. This rock was a navigation landmark for a long time.
Fountain Bluff, Illinois
Then I follow Highway 3 to Fountain Bluff. At first a paved than a gravel road guides me to the top of a hill, where I have a beautiful view of the Mississippi.
I follow Highway 3 further on to Chester. I am checking in at the Best Western Motel Reid’s Inn around three.
Pierre Menard Home
Then I follow the river road to Pierre Menard Home. Unfortunately the home is only open for another hour. I take a look at the introduction video and I get an exclusive tour through the house. Due to the lack of time, I don’t have a chance to get pictures and movie from the inside, but at least from the outside.
Pierre Menard Home
Pierre Menard was an important French trader. He built this house from 1800 to 1802 and he lived there until his death in 1844. During this time, the house was changed and extended a couple of times. Outside the house, there is a smoking house, which was wrongly considered as a slavery house in the past, and a fountain house for drinking water.
Mississippi River, Ft. Kaskaskaia SHS
My next destination is Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Site. From there you have a beautiful view of the river and the place, where once the city of Kaskaskaia was. The city was founded by French traders and their Indian wives in 1703. In 1756, when the French and Indian war has started, the citizens of Kaskaskai asked for shelter and a Fort was erected. It was there until 1766, when the citizens have destroyed it to avoid, that it will fall in the hands of the British who occupied the whole area. The British then erected Ft. Gage. It lastet until 1778 when George Rogers Clark and his men, the “Long Knives” conquered the Fort back during the American Revolution. On July 4th, 1778, he conquered the Fort without a single shot. The citizens rang the church bell, which got from then on the name “Liberty Bell of the West”.
But the Mississippi flooded and nearly destroyed the city in 1844. In 1881 came the final hour of the city, when the Mississippi broke through the land and ran into the river bed of the Kaskaskaia River. In 1890, the cemetery has to be moved to the place, where now is the Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Site.
I drive back to the Motel and try the dinner in the restaurant close to the motel. It is too late, when I discover that it only has a buffet. So I have no other chance as to line up for the buffet. At a quarter to seven I drive back to the motel.
- Tower Rock (Free Admission)
- Fountain Bluff (Free Admission)
- Pierre Menard Home (Donation)
- Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Site (Free Admission)
- Breakfast: Super 8, Cape Girardeau
- Dinner: Best Western Reid’s Inn, Chester
- Motel: Best Western Motel Reid’s Inn, Chester
- Distance: 163 miles