Legend of the Piasa, The
The marker is located on Il. RT. 100 which is the Great River Road six miles northwest from Alton.
The Illinois State Historical Society
In 1673 Jacques Marquette reported that he and fellow French explorer Louis Jolliet 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 the 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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