2016 Heritage Trail

The Henderson County Heritage Trail will take place Saturday, September 24th 2016, and Sunday, September 25th 2016. The two-day event, with historical and tourism sites open in every community throughout the county, kicks off at 7:00 AM Saturday.

 The following are some of the stops along the Heritage Trail:

Weekend Sites and Activities

Bald Bluff

Bald Bluff Township, the northern most township of the county, was probably the last section of Henderson County to be settled. It takes its name from the highest bluff in the county, facing the Mississippi River, about three miles back from the river. It is about three hundred feet in height. In the early days the vegetation on this point was so sparse that it was named "Bald Bluff," and the same name was adopted for the township.

The view from this bluff is probably the finest in the county. A person standing there can look across the intervening distance and see the Mississippi River.  Ten miles to the southwest Oquawka will be seen, while to the northwest you will see Keithsburg.

Big River State Forest

Located 8 miles north of Oquawka on the Oquawka-Keithsburg blacktop, this 3000-acre forest contains the area's oldest pine plantation. It is overseen by the Department of Natural Resources and sites include campsites, Putney's Landing, horseback-riding trails, boat-launching sites, fishing and hunting habitat, hiking, snowmobiling and bike trails.

A portion, 1.6 miles, of the famous Lincoln Trail, used by Lincoln and 2,000 men in 1832 during the Black Hawk War lies within its borders, and a scenic auto trail leads to the small Pioneer Cemetery.  Near the office headquarters is the landmark Fire Tower, open to climbers obtaining permission from the office.


Incorporated in 1854, the village was named for John Biggs, who operated the grain mill on Henderson Creek there. Biggs lies buried in nearby Cumberland Cemetery, northwest of town. The town's old-time jail stands near the wooden bridge spanning the CB&Q Railroad. Find the latest details on Facebook.
8:00AM - 2:00PM (Friday & Saturday) — Fire Department garage sale & Pork Chop BBQ.
10:00AM (Saturday) — Pioneer Trail Parade along Highway 94 and on to Main Street.

  • Henderson County Library
    The county voted in 1959 to officially form a district library that would serve the entire county. As the county grew and more services became necessary to support the communities and school district, a new library was built in 2001.
    9:00AM - 5:00PM (Saturday) — Don’t miss the annual Big Book Sale (begins Thursday Sept 22 thru Tuesday Sept 27).
  • Hotel Lynn Museum
    A restored 1902 hotel featuring four sleeping rooms, kitchen, living room, and meeting rooms.
    9:00AM - 4:00PM (Saturday) — Open for tours.
  • The Horse & Buggy Museum
    Offering agricultural history exhibits and programs from the period 1820-1920 when horses were the man source of power for farming and transportation. With 6000 square feet of display area featuring eight interactive touchscreen kiosks with 80 video clips making Henderson County horse era come alive again. Over 50 equipment pieces are on exhibit.
    10:00AM - 4:00PM (Saturday) — Open for tours.  Also featuring “1,000 Aprons” by Sharon Graham.
  • Biggsville Presbyterian Church
    10:30AM - ? (Saturday) — Chicken Noodle Dinner following the parade. Carry outs available. Free Will Donation.
  • Biggsville United Methodist Church
    9:00AM - 12:00PM (Saturday) — Bake sale and Rummage sale. Free Will Donation.


Carman's first settlement was in 1842, platted in 1870 by Joseph Carman. Due to the increase in rail trade, and decrease in river trade, many businesses moved here from nearby Shokokon. The Methodist Church was built in 1876, and a roomy two-story school was built in 1878.

Dallas City

Dallas City is uniquely situated in both Henderson and Hancock Counties. Experience the grandeur and opulence of the formidable Burg House, once home to the L. Burg family, manufacturers of “Fine Carriages and Vehicles” around 1910. And the venerable old Dallas City High School building, often referred to affectionately as “the Castle” indicates the community’s appreciation and eye for distinctive architecture was more than a fluke.

Take a moment to experience Lookout Point and also Lincoln Rock.


This village was platted in 1856, following the arrival of the CB&Q railroad there in 1855.  On Walnut Street is the picturesque Little White Church in the Vale, the United Methodist Church, founded in 1867. Circuit riders Barton Randall and Peter Cartwright often preached there in the early days.
8:00AM - 5:00PM (Saturday & Sunday) — Craft and Flea Markets found along main street, in the Park, and at the old VFW.

  • Allaman Covered Bridge
    Located north of Gladstone on Route 164, this historic wooden bridge was built in 1866 by Jacob Allaman, reconstructed by the Henderson County Historical Society and the Illinois Department of Transportation following the floodwaters of 1983, using many of the original timbers. The bridge was recently partially burned and has been restored. On National Register of Historical Places since 1975.
  • Burlington Model Railroad Engineers Society
    Located in Bluffdale Subdivision which is 5.2 miles east of the Burlington Bridge, turn right on 1300 North from Highway 34. This marvel is a custom built track that depicts Burlington, IA and on east into IL. Travel from the 60's thru to present day. Truly amazing project that will be enjoyed by all ages.
  • 10:00AM - 4:00PM (Saturday & Sunday)
  • Lock & Dam 18
    The Lock & Dam is located several miles west of Gladstone. The route to the facility travels over farm roads, and then several thousand feet over the earthen embankment on the east side of the river. The Lock & Dam is more or less in the middle of the river, with long embankments on each side connecting the main structure to the river banks.
    This facility was constructed in 1934 to provide a channel for barges, and every year its use becomes more important to the economy of the region. The main dam structure consists of 3 of the more modern roller gates and 14 of the older style Tainter gates. The lock is standard size for the upper Mississippi River, 600 feet long by 110 feet wide. That means that the typical tow has to break into two parts to pass through the lock. There is also an uncompleted auxiliary lock.
    Visitors may use the public parking lot, and the observation deck while they view the area. The area is a favorite walleye fishing spot, and provides a great place for bald eagle watching in the winter. One observer counted 400 eagles in view during one January afternoon.
  • South Henderson Church and Cemetery
    Located on Illinois 94 north of Biggsville, or on Illinois 164 north edge of Gladstone.
    The South Henderson Church congregation was organized in 1835, the first in the county. The congregation founded Monmouth College. The Ivy-graced, large, striking, stone structure was built in 1855 and still provides services on occasion. Daniel Boone's granddaughter, Elizabeth Robbin, is buried in the church cemetery. The National Historic Site is also the final resting-place for veterans of the Revolutionary War and Civil War.


This village, incorporated in 1928, is the gateway from Iowa over the beautiful Great River Bridge, into Illinois. On June 17, 2008 the levee south of Gulfport broke and allowed the Mississippi River to flood 28,000 acres of farmland as well as the Village of Gulfport and Stevenson Lake. Everything in the waters path was literally destroyed in the Flood of 2008. However, one of the buildings still standing is the old jail.

Lomax Day

Lomax is located on the Santa Fe Railroad (formerly TP&W), with successful post-Civil War businesses along the railroad tracks, even before the platting of the village.
From 1925 -29, the National Airways Systems made open cockpit bi-planes and monoplanes there; later the Sparrow family's tomato-canning factory flourished for many decades.

  • Roger's Pumpkin Farm
    Located 1.5 miles east of Lomax. Come find all your fall decorating needs. Bring the family to enjoy a day at the farm with hayrides, teepee town, corn maze, and pumpkins galore.  Find them on Facebook.
    8:00AM - Dusk (Saturday & Sunday) — Fall is officially here so don’t miss this stop.  Time to get your home ready for Fall and also have some great family fun.


In the summer of 1887, a farmer, Nathan Wever, platted a market town on his land. Later that year an elaborate ceremony took place that gave the community its name. The two halves of the Santa Fe Railroad, one from Kansas City, the other from Chicago, were linked together at the highest point (some 675 feet above sea level) between the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan. The new town was called Media, or halfway point, instead of Wever.

Drive a mile east on the county blacktop (Smithshire Road) to view the historic Santa Fe Railroad Trestle Bridge or head east to see the historic Walnut Grove Cemetery.


Successful fur-trading with the resident Indian tribes helped S.S. Phelps and his brother, Alexis, establish Oquawka (Yellow Banks) as a trading post, and S.S. was first postmaster, 1834; town platted in 1836, county organized 1841.  Being the county seat, Oquawka is also the home to the Henderson County Courthouse.  The National Registry building was built in 1842, and is the oldest courthouse in continuous use in Illinois, with the Honorable Stephen A. Douglas presiding over the first court sessions.
In 2014, the Schuyler Street project was completed which redesigned the “Main Street” going through town. Download flyers here.  Find the latest details on Facebook.

  • Oquawkiek Schuyler Street Stroll
    This will be the fourth annual “Schuyler Street Stroll”.  The main street will be jam packed with activities and local businesses will be open.
    6:30AM - 10:30AM (Saturday) — Boy Scout Troop 61 Pancake Breakfast.
    9:00AM - 4:00PM (Saturday) — Oquawka River Cruise In (car show). Time to cruise back to the golden era on Schuyler Street.  Chrome will be shining and smiles worn by both young and old. Line up on Schuyler Street.
    9:00AM - 4:00PM (Saturday) — Lemonade Shake Ups for sale with all proceeds going to the Oquawka Toy Drive.
    9:00AM - 12:00PM (Saturday) — The Cutting Edge having a chainsaw demonstration.
    9:00AM - 12:00PM (Saturday) — NWTF, Jakes Take Aim BB Gun Shoot at The Cutting Edge.
    10:00AM (Saturday) — Horseshoe Tournament. Located next to the Fisherman’s Inn and behind Oquawka Current on 3rd Street, come try your hand at tossing some horse shoes. There will also be food and drinks available.
    10:00AM (Saturday) — Helping Hands Poker Walk and Photo Scavenger Hunt on Schuyler Street. Sign up on corner of 3rd and Schuyler Street.
  • Oquawka Museum Complex
    Former home of Justus Schlotzhauer, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Owen Frantz to the Village of Oquawka in the 1980s.  Located at 2nd Street and Schuyler.
    9:00AM - 4:00PM (Saturday) — Take a tour of the museum and take in the local monuments throughout the museum campus.  Enjoy DJ Mike Ripple on stage starting at 9:00AM..  Learn about making arrowheads, cutting buttons from clamshells, face painting, and games.
    9:00AM - 4:00PM (Saturday) — Local Craft and Vendor show will be setup at the end of Main Street , on the South side. DJ Mike Ripple.
    10:00AM (Saturday) — Pet Parade by the Stage
  • Oquawka Volunteer Fire Department
    Located at 411 Warren Street.
    9:00AM - ? (Saturday) — Support the local fire department at this annual open house.  The firemen will be grilling pork chops and hot dogs.
  • Alexis Phelps House
    Built in 1833 by Alexis Phelps, the house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Owned by the Henderson County Historical Society, this restored home is now open by reservation for breakfast, tea, luncheons, receptions, weddings, etc. The site is a great place to watch the river traffic from the high bank overlooking the Mississippi River.
    9:00AM - 4:00PM (Saturday & Sunday) — Demonstrations and activities will include bread baking, piano playing, stenciling, and a quilt display.  Browse the Phelps family heirlooms through this lovely home.
  • Smith Creek Pottery
    Located along Route 164, 5 miles east of Oquawka (just west of the Biggsville-Rozetta Junction along the Oquawka-Monmouth road).
    9:00AM - 4:00PM (Saturday) — Browse one-of-a-kind pieces and learn about the process of “hand thrown” pottery.
  • Oquawka Methodist Church
    Located on the corner of 3rd Street.
    11:00AM - 1:30PM (Saturday) — The Methodist Church will be serving a delicious homemade chicken noodle dinner.
  • Rhonda's Greenhouse
    Located 1/2 miles East of Oquawka on Highway 164.
    9:00AM - 4:00PM (Saturday) — Flowers, Yard Art, and so much more. There will be something for everyone.  Come browse all Fall specials at this event.
  • The Belted Cow Orchard
    Located on Highway 164 between Monmouth and Oquawka.
    7:30AM - 4:00PM (Saturday) — We are striving to provide high quality fruit and cider.


This village was named by early settlers who migrated there from along the Raritan River in New Jersey, in 1856. A Raritan History Book is available for sale.
5:00PM - 7:00PM (Sunday) — Salad Supper at Saint Patrick Catholic Center. Free Will Donation.
7:00PM (Sunday) — Explore Raritan’s heritage during a Cemetary Walk at the Saint Patrick’s Catholic Cemetary

  • Henderson County Museum
    The museum depicts rural lifestyles during the early 1900's. The three building complex features schoolrooms, farm kitchens, wearing apparel, and many farm implements of the day, some of which are very rare. The museum was founded by the Henderson County Historical Society in 1976.
    10:00AM - 4:00PM (Saturday) — Museum open for tours.
    12:00PM - 4:00PM (Sunday) — Museum open for tours.


This township grew rapidly in the middle 1800s, as settlers from Kentucky were drawn to the fertile soil. In 1881, a gathering of Smith Creek Presbyterians and United Presbyterians erected a spacious church in that rural area.
The Reed Cemetery on Route 164 is a landmark, wherein lie buried many of the Reed family, including those who served in the Spanish-American, World War I, and the Vietnam War. The Memorial reads "Reed Cemetery, and site of Reed M.E. Church."


This village was incorporated in 1894, following the building of the Chicago Santa Fe and California Railroad in 1887 through Henderson County. It was named after William Strong, a president of the Santa Fe Railway, and R.D. Hurst of Topeka, Kansas.

  • Henderson County Fairgrounds
    Located at 410 East Main Street.
    5:00PM (Saturday) — Henderson County Havoc is the last big BASH of the year.  This demo derby runs all classes.  Click here for Henderson County Fair website for more details.

Terre Haute

Terre Haute was platted in 1854 on the location of a Sauk Fox Village. In the early years, it was locally named “Posyville” for the prevalence of prairie flowers. The first church was the Methodist Church which still holds service today in its 118 year old church building. Terre Haute was once a thriving village with several stores including dry-goods, grocery and notion shops, a drug store, restaurant, wagon and blacksmith shops, and three physicians.