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Journey Through History
With a Visit to Illinois

(NUI) - From prehistoric man to the 18th Century French Empire, to the Civil War, families are sure to remember the stories told and the history experienced during an unforgettable weekend getaway in Illinois.

Begin your time travel in a little town just east of St. Louis, where in 700 A.D. 20,000 prehistoric Indians settled in a place now called Cahokia Mounds and mysteriously disappeared, leaving behind the artifacts of a lost culture and some of the world's great wonders. Visitors to this World Heritage Site in Collinsville, Ill., will be awestruck climbing the largest earthen mound in the New World.

Further north along the Mississippi River is Kampsville, home of the Center for American Archaeology (CAA). Here, Indiana Joneses of all ages can participate in real CAA excavations, make ancient stone tools and pottery, and visit the award-winning museum.

Traveling ahead in time and 456 miles southwest, visitors can explore historic Fort de Chartes, the westernmost outpost of the 18th century French Empire. Built in 1753 along the Mississippi River, the stone fort has been partially reconstructed to provide a glimpse of life in Illinois under the French regime. Step back in time as guides in period costumes lead a "living history" tour through the King's storehouse and guard's house, east barracks, and the government house.

Jumping from 18th century history to 19th in Central Illinois, travelers find themselves in the state's history mecca, Springfield. It was here that Abraham Lincoln began his famous journey to the White House.

Start your journey by strolling through the 700-acre New Salem Village to see where and how Lincoln lived as a young man and visit the Lincoln Home Natural Historic Site, which is the only home he ever owned. Then, stand in the Old State Capitol where he delivered his "House Divided" speech, and relax in the peacefulness of the Lincoln Tomb, site of the Civil War Re-enactment Ceremony. And, don't miss the Dana Thomas House State Historic Site, the best-preserved example of early Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, and the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Museum featuring Civil War memorabilia.

Don't be surprised to see Gen. Ulysses S. Grant walking down the winding streets of his hometown, Galena. Tucked away in the Northwestern-most corner of Illinois, Galena offers a charming glimpse of the past -- 85 percent of the town's preserved mansions and commercial buildings are listed on the national Register of Historic Places.

Experience the people, events and places that helped shape our country's history and determine its future, all in Illinois. Call 1-800-2CONNECT (1-800-226-6632), or visit for personalized trip planning and information for your unforgettable Illinois getaway.

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