Arts and History Trail – Historic Town in Illinois

Art and history meld together with nature along the 100 miles of park, 61 miles of I & M Canal Trail that is part of the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor.  The I & M Canal National Heritage Corridor is part state park and national heritage site.  I like to begin the trail at the Lincoln Landing Park in downtown historic Lockport, Illinois.  I like the mix of art, history and nature that it offers.  From there I can travel the I & M Canal Trail all the way to Starved Rock State Park by Peru and LaSalle, Illinois.

I park by the Gaylord Building and enter it to go to the I & M Canal Museum inside.  Then I walk down stairs to the canal and turn left to go along a shorter trail from the Lincoln Landing to Lock #1 and read about the history of the place along the way.  The well-maintained trail is popular with runners, dog walkers, hikers and cyclists.

Abraham Lincoln sculpture, Gaylord Building in background

exhibit in the I & M Canal Museum, Gaylord Building, building the canal was dangerous and children also worked it

sculpture and information along the canal trail from Public Landing to Lock #1

After going under the bridge, I go up the stairs to visit the Illinois State Museum Art Gallery in the Harvest Building.  It features state and local artists in mixed media,  sometimes with a historical focus.

Illinois State Museum Gallery

stone head at Illinois State Museum Gallery

Both the Gaylord and Harvest buildings are over a couple hundred years old, built from limestone that came from local quarries.  Since I’m here, I stroll around the scenic old town.

antiques and crafts store

I stopped for free samples and watched chocolates being made by hand at the candy shop.

chocolates being made at Hollingworth Candies, ask for free samples

When I went in to the Vegan Café to grab a smoothie, I learned it was a café with a cause.  Laurie Sloan, the café owner, had been diagnosed with leukemia.  While she was seeking treatment, she met a little girl named Jordan who was fighting her own battle with cancer.  Jordan encouraged her not to give up hope and keep fighting.  Sloan survived and started a nonprofit foundation, Thanks Jordan Foundation and Celebrating Life, to inspire others fighting life-threatening illnesses and provide information on the benefits of raw foods and eating healthy.  The proceeds from the café benefit the Thanks Jordan Foundation.  Today Jordan is a thirteen year-old.

Vegan Cafe

Happy trails to you.  Here are a couple of maps:

I & M Canal Trail

Bicycle Trail

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5 responses to “Arts and History Trail – Historic Town in Illinois

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  2. Pingback: 15 Great Places to Hike in Illinois | Canoe Communications·

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