Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sightseeing: Alton, IL

Yesterday, Brandon and I got up at the crack of dawn (5:10 am) to drive up to Greenfield, IL with Brandon's parents. We went to watch Seth coach the 4th, 5th and 6th grade Greenfield Tigers in basketball.  Both the 4th and 5th graders won their games.
Seth goes to school at Blackburn College in Carlinville, IL where he is studying to become a teacher. After the games we headed to downtown Carlinville to have lunch at Panda, a Chinese lunch buffet. After saying goodbye to Seth we decided to take the long way home - stopping to see some sights and do some shopping. Our first stop was the statue of the world's tallest man in Alton, IL.
Robert Wadlow was 8'11" and lived from 1918 to 1940. This statue was erected in 1985. Alongside of it is a replica of a chair he used.
Our next stop was just down the road in Alton by the side of the Mississippi River. The mural of the Piasa Bird:
To make a long story short, the Piasa is a mythical bird with a taste for human flesh that the Illini tribe once defeated. They commemorated the story by etching drawings of the creature into cave walls. When Marquette and Joliet explored the Mississippi they recorded the drawings of the bird. Later in 1925, Herbert Forcade painted the Piasa on some bluffs north of Alton. The painting was blasted away in the 60s to make way for the Great River Road. The current painting was completed in 1998 by the American Legends Society. I have to say that the painting didn't really impress me but when Brandon and I got up close you could see that it is painted on some really jagged rocks so you have to give the artist some credit.

On the way home we stopped by a mall in St. Louis. It was packed - felt like I was back in Tysons :)

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