A day in Warsaw, Illinois brought some unexpected pleasures. This river town has a lot of history Keith and I discovered when we stopped in to see what it had to offer.
Warsaw, Illinois was once the site of Two Military Forts, Fort Johnson and Fort Edwards. Built on the east side of Mississippi River, Fort Johnson was built between 1812 and 1814. Fort Johnson was built by then Major Zachary Taylor.
Zachary Taylor would later become 12th President of the United States. He is believed to have demolished Fort Johnson in 1814.
The former fort today is part of Ralston Park and is near the fort’s parade ground. In this area Sauk Indians and other Native Americans settled near the fort and raised corn. Fort Edwards was built in 1817 on the northernmost bluff .
The Fort was named for Ninian Edwards, the first Governor of Illinois. The Fort was built to protect the movement of supplies up the Mississippi River. It later served as a fur trading post for more than a decade. While today the Forts are gone, a monument still stands to remind us of the history along the River banks!
Statue of Liberty
Patriotism abounds in this small town. In 1950, the Boy Scouts of America added a beautiful eight and a half foot brass and bronze replica miniature of the Statue of Liberty. Today it sits in Ralston Park!
Boyhood School of John Hay
In Warsaw there is also the boyhood school of John Hay. Hay was raised in Warsaw, Illinois, and educated first at the private school of the Reverend Stephen Childs, an Episcopal clergyman. In 1851 John went to an academy at Pittsfield in Pike County.
John Milton Hay served as private secretary and assistant to Abraham Lincoln. He also served as Secretary of State under William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.
Another historic building in Warsaw was the Warsaw Brewery! Along the river is an interesting brewery that once started back before the Civil War. Today the Warsaw Brewery has new life and although Keith and I only drove by it, it was interesting seeing the fantastic, building that only partially is still there. Today the building is a brewery and a restaurant both.
So many surprising historical sites in one small town! If you get a chance head to Warsaw and see a bit of history along the Mississippi.