Friday, October 25, 2019

Elsah, Illinois... The Village Frozen In Time.

Unheard of by most, this tiny village of Elsah on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River is one of the loveliest places to visit. Preserved in its 19th-century condition, it was cut off from the rest of the state and is now like a time machine into the past. 
James Semple, a local lawyer, a prominent politician and United States Senator from Illinois, founded Elsah in 1853 and offered free lots to anyone who built a house with stone from his quarry. 
Hidden by a valley of bluffs and forests, Elsah was once a vibrant riverside town that lost popularity once the railroad came through this area, as tracks could not be built through these rock formations. Due to being cut off both physically and economically, the town never developed past its 19th-century roots and still maintains the original buildings that were built during the village's settlement. 
The village's beauty can be attributed to its founder who dictated that anyone who moved there build their residence out of stone, which today adds romantic charm to this riverside wonderland. It is beautiful at any time of year and will take you back to a simpler time. Elsah is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and contains many wonders including several inns and an old-fashioned general store. 
Illinois' best-kept secret is a village frozen in time that will show you what life was like over a century ago. Take your time meandering through the bluffs and enjoy the lovely scenery around Elsah.
By 1861, the village had grown to its current size, as geographic and economic limitations prevented further expansion.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.

3 comments:

The Digital Research Library of Illinois History Journal™ is rated PG-13. Please comment accordingly. Comments not on the article's topic will be deleted, along with advertisements.