Western IL Pioneer Trail

The premise of this trail is to start at Springfield and move west past Jacksonville, with its excellent tourism program for the Underground Railroad, then continue to historic Winchester and then to New Philadelphia, founded by an African Slave who bought himself out of bondage and established an integrated town on the frontier. From there the route goes west to Quincy, a fascinating river town now nicknamed “City of Refuge” (because of the shelter it gave to Mormons and escaping slaves), then north along the Mississippi River to Warsaw, Nauvoo and Carthage. Quincy, Warsaw, Nauvoo and Carthage form a “Mormon quartet” of sites. The visitor next heads east to see Colchester. From there it is a short distance to Macomb where the exceptional Western Illinois Archives of Malpass Library are held on the campus of Western Illinois University. Macomb itself is a pretty town with a lovely square and fine courthouse. Still moving east, the visitor can enjoy Lewistowns Dickson Mounds (a Native American site with an excellent museum) and Oak Hill Cemetery (the basis of Edgar Lee Masters’ narrative poem, Spoon River Anthology). Crossing the beautiful bridge over the scenic Illinois River, and now heading south, the next stop is historic Havana. The penultimate stop on this pioneer trail is Lincoln’s New Salem. The route finishes where it started: Springfield. Or, one can do the route moving north from Springfield, then west, then south and then east back toward Springfield.
We shall soon provide details of each town on the map.