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Published on April 17, 2024
Lewis and Clark State Historic Site Celebrates 220th Anniversary with Living History Event in IllinoisSource: Lewis & Clark State Historic Site

Time travelers and history buffs, get ready to journey back to the start of the 19th century. The Lewis and Clark State Historic Site is throwing the ultimate throwback event on May 11 and 12 to mark the 220th anniversary of one of America's greatest explorations. The annual Point of Departure Commemoration is where you'll want to be for a deep dive into the days of the Lewis and Clark Expedition's Corps of Discovery, as reported by Illinois State News.

Military reenactors will suit up as members of the famous expedition, showing off their muscle against the Missouri River with a replica "White Pirogue" boat in tow. But the commemoration isn't just about raw strength; there's also a slice of the War of 1812 served hot with muskets and artillery fire, stirred by the American 2nd Regiment Artillery. As visitors soak in the action, they'll also get the lowdown on the British role in the region, courtesy of one Ed Dulaney.

But let's not forget the unsung heroes. Historian Jeffrey Edison from St. Louis County Parks will shine a light on York, the enslaved servant who played his own critical role in the success of the journey – a tale often left untold. The event will also feature a nod to the Washer Woman at Camp River Dubois, recalling the efforts of women folk who supported the camps behind the scenes. These personal stories add flesh and bones to history, making it more than just a dusty textbook chapter.

Now, ever wanted to chat with Thomas Jefferson? Kurt Smith, a reenactor from Colonial Williamsburg, has delved into thousands of Jefferson’s journal entries and letters to masterfully bring the third president to life. Smith is set to enlighten crowds in the interpretive center theater at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., ready to gab with anyone keen on taking a walk through Jefferson's days. This special feature is brought to you by the Lewis and Clark Society of America.

The event promises a full itinerary of historic skill displays from candle making to woodworking, brought to life by artisans passionate about the old ways. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is calling all lovers of history to visit the Lewis and Clark Historic Site at 1 Lewis and Clark Trail in Hartford, Madison County. With the site swinging open its doors from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the summer, it's a season full of time travel – all without the necessity of a DeLorean.