Kaskaskia: Home to the Liberty Bell of the West

An Illinois community only accessible by way of Missouri.

This Heartland Weekend you may want to hop into the car and head to Kaskaskia, IL.

To get there though, you’ll have to cross the Mississippi River into Missouri.

It’s the only Illinois town located west of the Mighty Mississippi. A shift in the river more than 100 years ago, left it there.

This unique town is also home to the Liberty Bell of the West.

Step back in time

During the American Revolution, George Rogers Clark led a daring expedition across the Ohio River, sneaking past the British. Marching across southern Illinois, Clark and his Kentucky “Long Knives” surprised the British, liberating the town without firing a shot.

On July 4, 1778, Kaskaskians rang the parish bell, which was later given the name “Liberty Bell of the West.”

The 650-pound bell was originally given as a gift to the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church at Kaskaskia from King Louis XV in 1741.

It was inscribed with the words: POUR LEGLISE DES ILLINOIS PAR LES SOINS DU ROI D’OUTRE L’EAU (For the Church of the Illinois, by gift of the King across the water). On one side of the bell are the royal lilies of France and the other side features a cross and a pedestal with the fleur de lis.

Today, the bell sits at the Kaskaskia Bell State Historic Site. It can be visited at any time, but the doors are locked. All you have to do is press the button to open them.

And there’s more…

Kaskaskia was the first state capital of Illinois.

In 1787, Illinois became a part of the Northwest Territory.

When the Illinois Territory was organized in 1809, Kaskaskia became its capital.

This Heartland Weekend, we encourage you to take a trip to the historic area since this year Illinois will turn 200.

While you’re there, don’t forget to stop in Chester to see this>

This southern Illinois town is the official home of Popeye