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 IGNN: Main State Page Press Release


May 6, 2009

History is child’s play

HARTFORD - More than 800 fourth graders will experience the greatest journey of exploration in American history during the fourth annual Education Day scheduled for Friday, May 8 at Lewis and Clark State Historic Site in Hartford, Illinois. The general public can enjoy the same experience during the annual Point of Departure event Saturday and Sunday, May 9 – 10.

From 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on May 8, students from Albert Cassens, Beckemeyer School, Bethel Christian Academy, Germantown Elementary, Holy Cross Lutheran, Holy Rosary, J.E. Hinchcliffe, Jana Elementary, Lewis and Clark Elementary, Pocahontas Center, St. Jacob and Vandalia Elementary School will learn first hand about the Lewis and Clark Expedition by experiencing how the men prepared for their journey. Students will learn to fold a flag, make a fish net, feel animal hides, start a fire with flint and steel, make rope, and learn about one of the Expedition’s boats. They will visit a woodworker, see how beekeeping works to make honey and wax, and watch logs being sawn into planks. Students can try their hand at spinning, sewing, blacksmithing, flax work, fiber dyeing, and making brooms and buckets. Kids can pet Seaman, the Expedition’s dog; march and drill military-style; carry water in buckets with a yoke; and make a trade bead necklace or a candle to take home.

The seventh annual “Point of Departure” event will be held Saturday and Sunday, May 9 and 10. The event commemorates the May 14, 1804 beginning of the Lewis and Clark Expedition from a point near the current historic site. Activities for both days will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the reconstructed Camp River Dubois. Re-enactors portraying expedition members will perform marching drills and manual labor, cooking, and engage in shooting demonstrations. Visitors may see period artisan demonstrations of candle making, cooking, blacksmithing, spinning, weaving, natural dyeing of wool, coopering, woodworking, leather and harness making, period sewing, gunsmithing, broom making, basket making, white pirogue tours, and sawyering.

The Trail Net Bike Ride starts at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 9. To register, call at (314) 416-9930 ext. 111 or visit www.trailnet.org. The World Bird Sanctuary will offer performances at 1 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 10 only. The Expedition magician will perform both days.

Lewis and Clark authors will be available for book signings, including: John Dunphy, It Happened at the River Bend and Lewis and Clark’s Illinois Volunteers; Cheryl Eichar Jett, Alton; Tim Raymer, Lewis and Clark – Point of Departure; Thomas C. Danisi and John C. Jackson, Meriwether Lewis; James Alexander Thom/Dark Rain, Warrior Woman, Sign Talker, Long Knife, Panther in the Sky, Follow the River, Red Heart, and St. Patrick’s Battalion; William Wilson and Kevin Kaegy, Forts and Blockhouses of Early Illinois; and James Duncan, Three Rifle Display.

The Point of Departure event is free and open to the public. William Deutsch will sell home made ice cream and root beer floats. Event sponsors include: The Bank of Edwardsville, Conoco Phillips, Lewis & Clark Society of America, National Park Service, Recognition Services, the Village of Hartford, the Village of Pontoon Beach, and the St. Louis Cardinals.

William Clark and his men arrived at what would become Camp River Dubois on December 12, 1803. The location was very close to the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, the route chosen for the expedition, and most importantly, the location was in United States territory on the east side of the Mississippi River. Construction of Camp River Dubois began immediately and by Christmas Eve 1803, the men were able to sleep indoors. While Clark oversaw the day-to-day operation of the camp, Meriwether Lewis was busy with official duties. In the spring the camp became a beehive of activity as final preparations were made. On April 1, 1804 Captains Lewis and Clark formally mustered into service the soldiers and other men who would take part in the expedition.

Lewis’ field notes read “The mouth of the River Dubois is to be considered as the point of departure.” The Expedition left on a rainy Monday afternoon, May 14, 1804 from Camp River Dubois at 4 p.m.

Lewis and Clark State Historic Site is located along Illinois Route 3 about three miles north of I-270. The site features a reconstructed Camp River Dubois as well as a new museum that chronicles the Expedition’s five-month preparation time in Illinois. Lewis and Clark State Historic Site is open for free public tours.


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