Edwards Trace, The
The marker is located in Springfield, adjacent to the parking lot at Lake Park, alongside Lake Springfield. Lake Park is 0.8 miles east of Lindsay Bridge and the Springfield Beach House and 2.7 miles from Spaulding Dam along East Lake Shore Drive. Lake
City of Springfield, Sangamon County Historical Society, the Walgreen Company, and The Illinois State Historical Society
An important trail in the history of Illinois ran atop this ridge. Called the Edwards Trace, an early word for trail, its use reaches back to antiquity when herds of bison and other large mammals traveled along its path. For millennia, prehistoric people utilized the trail for seasonal migrations, trading, hunting, and waging war. As early as 1711, French priests and trappers began traveling along its path. This overland route offered an alternative to the waterways.
From Kaskaskia in the south, the trace passed up through Cahokia and the Edwardsville area and by this point on its way to the Illinois River near present-day Peoria. During the War of 1812, Territorial Governor Ninian Edwards, who later became the state's third governor, led a contingent of 350 rangers to Peoria along its pathway for action against the Kickapoo. As a result, it became known as the Edwards Trace.
For early Illinois inhabitants, this was the main land route between southern Illinois and points north. Along its course came many of the pioneers who settled the Sangamon Valley. After Illinois became a state in 1818, this road carried heavy traffic north and south, including a variety of goods and commodities. As a result a depressed path developed, a remnant of which can be seen 25 yards west of this marker.
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