Legend of the Piasa, The
The marker is located on IL Rt. 100 (Great River Road) six miles northwest of Alton.
The Junior League of Greater Alton and The Illinois State Historical Society
In 1673, Jacques Marquette reported that he and fellow French explorer Louis Joliet discovered a painting of what was probably two "water monsters" on the bluffs of the Mississippi River near present-day Alton. By 1700, those pictographic creatures were no longer visible. In 1836, the novelist John Russell described an image cut into the bluff of a legendary dragon-like creature with wings. According to Russell, the creature was called Piasa, "the bird that devours men." That version of the pictograph, as well as myths about the Piasa, have become prominent in folklore.
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