Magazine article VFW Magazine

A Glance at the Great Lakes States

Magazine article VFW Magazine

A Glance at the Great Lakes States

Article excerpt

Trip 6: Great Lakes

Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin

States touching the mighty Great Lakes offer the visiting veteran a variety of sites of martial interest. And they cover the gamut from the earliest days of the Republic to the world wars.

Colonial-era forts, historic homes of Civil War veteran-presidents, deadly War of 1812-Indian battlefields, magnificent memorials, aviation parks and modern museums dot the picturesque landscape.

Whether you want to pay homage to Ernie Pyle, admire the technology of the U.S. Air Force Museum or take in the new state-of-the-art WWII Victory Museum, this is the region to explore.


Illinois State Museum

Springfield, (217) 782-7387.

No military exhibits at this time.

Illinois State Military Museum

Springfield, (217) 761-3910.

Covers history of state volunteers, militia and National Guard from 1809 to present. Collections include vehicles, aircraft, weapons, flags, uniforms, photographs and documents.

Fort Massac State Park

Metropolis, (618) 524-4712.

1757 fort withstood Cherokee attack, was burned by Chickasaws, was rebuilt in 1794 and used until 1814. Reconstructed timber fort, museum with artifacts, costumes, photographs and video.

Black Hawk State Historic Site

Rock Island, (309) 788-9536.

Site of westernmost battle of Revolutionary War at Saukenak in 1780, which is described on a plaque.

Fort de Chartres State Historic Site

Prairie du Rocher, (618) 284-7230.

French fort, 1720-1763. British garrison, 1765-72. Restored 1750 stone buildings, museum and interpretive center.

Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Site

Ellis Grove, (618) 859-3741.

British fort until captured by Americans in 1778. Remains of earthworks and timber fort, self-guided tours, "Liberty Bell of the West."

Ulysses S. Grant Home State

Historic Site, Galena, (815) 777-0248.

Contains many of his possessions and original furnishings.

First Division Museum at Cantigny

Wheaton, (630) 668-5185.

38,000-sq.-ft. facility honors the "Big Red One," including 10,000 square feet of interactive dioramas and re-created scenes-WWI, WWII, Cold War, Vietnam and Persian Gulf. Features maps, photographs, video, archives and outdoor tank park.

General John A. Logan Museum

Murphysboro, (618) 684-3455.

Tells story of leader of Grand Army of the Republic and founder of Memorial Day through photographs, portraits, maps, political memorabilia, family antiques and Civil War weapons.

Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Memorial Museum

Aurora, (217) 522-4373.

Tells the GAR story with encampment and Civil War memorabilia.

Illinois Citizen-Soldier Museum

Galesburg, (309) 342-1181.

Houses artifacts of Illinois National Guard from War of 1812 through Persian Gulf War.

Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum

Rantoul, (217) 893-1613.

Military exhibits include 8th Air Force memorial, Korean War, Military Aviation Hall of Fame of Illinois, Hall of WWII Allied Escape and Evasion Societies, and POWs/MIAs.

Rock Island Arsenal Museum

Rock Island, (309) 782-5021.

Second-oldest U.S. Army museum (1905). Interprets history of Fort Armstrong, Black Hawk War and Confederate prison camp. 1,100 military firearms on display.


Indiana State Museum

Indianapolis, (317) 232-1637.

Five cultural history galleries include military displays on George Rogers Clark at Fort Sackville in 1779, Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, Civil War, WWI, WWII and Vietnam, plus scale models of USS Indiana and USS Indianapolis.

Indiana Military Museum

Vincennes, (812) 882-8668.

Covers Civil War through Persian Gulf War. Displays include George Field Army Air Forces Base, USS Vincennes, D-Day and POWs, plus uniforms, flags, battlefield relics and captured enemy souvenirs. …

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