Thursday, July 1, 2010

"I'm strong to the finish, 'cause I eats me spinach"

Aaron and Jake got a ride to Chester, Illinois (home of Popeye) to continue their trip.  Nearly 100 miles of the river is shut down due to flooding and the guys didn't want to wait indefinitely for that section of the river to open back up.  With the help of a swift current, they covered 30 miles to Devil's Backbone Camp Ground just north of Grand Tower  after just 4 1/2 hours of paddling (that's over 6 1/2 miles per hour!).

The section of river the guys bypassed included Kaskaskia, Illinois.  Aaron wrote an interesting story about Kaskaskia prior to departure:

Kaskaskia, Illlinois

Kaskaskia, Illinois is a village located in Randolph County. The 2000 census shows that Kaskaskia is the smallest unincorporated community in Illinois, with a population of 9. It is one of the few areas of Illinois that lie on the west side of the Mississippi River.
This small, river village was the first capitol of the Illinois Territory until 1819, when the capitol moved to Vandalia. The peak population of the town was 7,000 people.
Kaskaskia and other agricultural villages within Illinois Country were essential for supplying New Orleans with wheat and corn during the years of French rule. In 1741, King Louis XV sent the “true” American liberty bell to Kaskaskia for its agriculture and shipping exploits. The “liberty bell” rang from its church when George Rogers Clark retook Kaskaskia in 1778 during the American Revolution. The bell is still housed near the Church of the Immaculate Conception, built in 1843.

In 1881 a terrible flood destroyed most of the original town of Kaskaskia, and shifted the Mississippi’s riverbed east to the Kaskaskia River. Because of this, the Kaskaskia’s original town is now located on an island, which sits primarily within the Missouri state lines. In 1893 the townspeople moved back to their town’s original location and rebuilt the Church of Immaculate Conception on Kaskaskia Island.

The entire town was submerged under nine feet of water during the Great Flood of 1993. For many residents, this was the last straw. By 2000, Kaskaskia had almost become a ghost town and a lost piece of Illinois History.

Posted by Aaron's dad

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