Visit Lewis and Clark State Historic Site May 11-12 for Point of Departure commemoration

Hartford, IL – The Lewis and Clark State Historic Site will commemorate the 220th anniversary of the start of the Lewis and Clark Expedition with the annual Point of Departure Commemoration this weekend, May 11 and 12.

Visitors can interact with military demonstrators, historic artisans, and hands-on displays at this free event, which takes place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.

The Lewis and Clark State Historic Site is located at 1 Lewis and Clark Trail in Hartford in Madison County. The site is managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and supported by the Lewis and Clark Society of America.

During the two-day commemoration, artisans will exhibit historic skills including candle making, leatherworking, tanning, gunsmithing, spinning, pottery, woodworking and more. The event offers an opportunity for visitors to experience how things were made in the past and what life in the Illinois Country was like. Frontier medicine of the early 19th century will be explored with a display of medical instruments and common treatments.

Military reenactors will portray soldiers of the Lewis and Clark Expedition’s Corps of Discovery. Interpreting the “White Pirogue” replica of the Expedition’s boat, these reenactors will reveal the grueling task of navigating against the Missouri River. The War of 1812 American 2nd Regiment Artillery will discuss the war in which many Lewis and Clark Expedition members served while demonstrating black powder muskets and firing artillery. Ed Dulaney will share the British experience in the region and demonstrate what soldiering was like while on campaign.

Historian Jeffrey Edison, a museum educator with St. Louis County Parks, will share York’s role in the Expedition as an enslaved servant to Captain William Clark. This often-overlooked member of the journey played an important role in its success.

Other site staff and volunteers will discuss the Washer Woman at Camp River Dubois. As a camp follower, this unnamed woman supported the soldiers of the camp and helped to provide for herself and her family.

A special visitor to the festivities will be a reenactor of Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States. Jefferson completed the Louisiana Purchase and is considered the architect of the trans-continental mission.

Point of Departure Weekend sponsors include Phillips 66, Lewis and Clark Society of America, the Village of Hartford, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.


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