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Lewis & Clark Events Start in Illinois

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – A number of small Illinois communities along the path of the Lewis and Clark expedition have begun a celebration of the bicentennial of that historic voyage.

The events began over the weekend in Old Shawneetown on the Ohio River. They'll continue throughout November and December, as towns from Cairo to Cahokia will display exhibits retracing the journey.

David Blanchette, with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, says the focus is on "bringing understanding to the time spent in the Illinois Territory - the time when they loaded supplies and gathered information that contributed in large measure to the success of the expedition."

On December 12, the village of Hartford will observe the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the expedition's winter camp. Another ceremony will be held in May to re-create the expedition's departure for the West.

David Blanchette says the celebration emphasizes how important the early days of the expedition were to its success:

"It's really hard to imagine the hardships and the uncertainties that faced this expedition," he said. "But by focusing people's attention on this expedition, we can really appreciate how important a role what is now the state of Illinois played in that journey by providing the platform from which the expedition was launched."

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