Beyond Chicago: 5 other Illinois cities to visit during this bicentennial year; Mary Bergin; Journal Sentinel

USA – Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

The Land of Lincoln turns 200 years old this year, and much of the ongoing bicentennial bash happens in Chicago, home to the 21st state’s most popular tourist attractions and around 20 percent of the Illinois population.

It is easy to forget that Chicagoland’s Cook County, in area, takes up less than 2 percent of the Prairie State. Beyond that is a whole ‘nuther world with good reasons to visit. For example:

Collinsville: 375 miles from Milwaukee

The only UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Midwest is Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, which would be much better known if constructed with stone instead of wood and dirt. It is our equivalent of Peru’s Machu Picchu.

Wall trenches, post holes and 80 mounds on 2,200 acres remain as evidence of the American Indian settlement, which mysteriously vanished in the 14th century. Most imposing is 100-foot-tall Monks Mound, which took 300 years to build. No prehistoric earthwork in the Americas is bigger.

Population of the farming community peaked at 20,000. Walk the grounds, take a guided tour and learn more at the interpretive center.

Read more from source: Beyond Chicago: 5 other Illinois cities to visit during this bicentennial year

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