“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Cairo in Alexander County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Lewis & Clark

Corps of Discovery

Lewis & Clark Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 17, 2009
1. Lewis & Clark Marker
Charting the Confluence
On November 14, 1803, at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, the Corps of Discovery stayed for six days, one of the longest stops made by the expedition. Here, they saw the Mississippi for the first time, noted the mistletoe on the large timber and to their surprise, caught a 128 pound blue catfish. Their stay allowed Captain Lewis to teach Captain Clark the use of the navigational equipment; a compass and sextant. Because the 3rd Principal Meridian begins at the mouth of the Ohio, astronomical observations at this point were crucial.

Corps of Discovery
In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson commissioned U.S. Army officers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to conduct an expedition to the Pacific coast through a region entirely unknown to European civilization. Their assignment - to cross the North American continent from the Mississippi River to the Pacific ocean by way of the Missouri and Columbia Rivers. They left from Pittsburgh on the Ohio River August 31, 1803, on the Eastern Legacy of the trip.

Eastern Legacy
This area south of Cairo, in Alexander County,
Right Side Panel image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 17, 2009
2. Right Side Panel
On the opposite side of the kiosk is a listing of reenactors who portrayed the expedition during the observance of the expedition's 200th anniversary.
where the Mississippi and the Ohio Rivers met, was forested with massive cottonwood and sycamore trees and there was a thick covering of small cane and vines. In this area, they recorded over 178 plants and 122 animal species, including prairie chickens, Carolina parakeets, doves, swans, Canada geese, woodpeckers, and many species of ducks. Their expedition and startling discoveries opened the door for westward expansion and the growth of a new nation - a legacy for the last 200 years.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Exploration. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #03 Thomas Jefferson, and the Lewis & Clark Expedition series lists.
Location. 36° 59.264′ N, 89° 9.027′ W. Marker is in Cairo, Illinois, in Alexander County. Marker is on Washington Avenue (U.S. 60/62), on the right when traveling north. Located at the entrance to Fort Defiance Park, in a parking area for the State Highway Patrol office. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2130 Great River Road, Cairo IL 62914, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Historical Survey Marker (here, next to this marker); Lewis and Clark in Illinois (here, next to this marker); Cairo, Illinois (within shouting distance of this
Corps of Discovery Kiosk and other Markers image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 17, 2009
3. Corps of Discovery Kiosk and other Markers
marker); The Ohio River Bridge (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Beginning of the Third Principal Meridian (approx. half a mile away); The Meeting of the Rivers (approx. 0.6 miles away); "Proceeding On" (approx. 0.7 miles away); Duncan Cannon (approx. 1.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cairo.
Also see . . .  Lewis & Clark Trail Heritige Foundation. (Submitted on May 27, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on October 9, 2019. It was originally submitted on May 27, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,400 times since then and 35 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 27, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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Aug. 9, 2020