Spoon River Country

There's something for everyone in Fulton County --history and natural history, country fairs and festivals, hunting and fishing, artifacts and antiques, farms and orchards. The small towns set among wooded hills are much the same as when Lincoln practiced law and campaigned there, or when Edgar Lee Masters made them famous in his Spoon River Anthology.

Historic Ellisville

A View of the Spoon River Valley

The Oak Hill Cemetery in the town of Lewistown, about five miles from Dickson Mounds Museum, is both the actual cemetery used by the town for 170 years, and the setting for the Spoon River Anthology, perhaps the most famous fictional cemetery in the world. Edgar Lee Masters' family home is also in Lewistown.

Oak Hill Cemetery

Rasmussen Blacksmith Shop Museum

The last blacksmith to shoe horses and fix wagon wheels at Lewistown's Rasmussen Blacksmith Shop hung up his apron and left for the last time in 1969. The town put up a 'museum' sign and opened the shop to visitors.

The towns and countryside along the Spoon River have many features that take one back to the past -- at Ellisville, the smallest library in Illinois and an opera house with its original curtain; magnificent old churches at Fairview, Table Grove, Astoria, Lewistown, Ipava, and Smithfield; and the Spoon River dam, old-fashioned riverside park, and iron bridge at Bernadotte.

Lewistown Presbyterian Church

Spoon River Dam at Bernadotte

Each town has buildings of historic or architectural interest. Notable are the Ross Hotel Museum in London Mills, the Red Crest Mansion in Canton's Historic West Side, a log cabin at Ipava, and the many National Register residences and commercial buildings of Vermont.

One can take a self-guided driving tour of Camp Ellis, the site of one of the largest Army Training Camps of World War II, that trained over a hundred thousand men for war before it was returned to farmland. Click here to download a pdf copy of the driving tour brochure. An exhibit featuring Camp Ellis can also be found at the Easley Pioneer Museum in Ipava.

Small farms in the area raise llamas and alpacas. One may tour the Marigold Meadows farm in Lewistown worked with draft horses and antique equipment, or visit orchard markets at Waterford or Cuba.

Evenings can be spent at a Playhouse Barn Theater production at Bryant. One can enjoy homestyle food in any number of small family restaurants. One may spend an evening at the exciting Spoon River Speedway.

Each year most of these attractions and more are featured on the spectacular Spoon River Valley Scenic Drive and Fall Festival held the first two weekends in October. The Drive takes in 140 miles of scenery along rural roads. It includes 18 villages and features an amazing variety of arts, crafts, antiques, flea markets, and historic sites; along with demonstrations, performances; and lots of good food -- including local cider and honey, apple butter, pies, and the famous butterfly porkchop sandwiches.

For a current list of events in the area, as well as restaurants and accommodations, you may call the Fulton County Tourism Council, 309-547-3234; or the Havana Chamber of Commerce, 309-543-3528. Click here for more information on Fulton County, or Mason County