Utica & Starved Rock
With over 2 Million visitors a year, Starved Rock has the distinction of being the most visited State Park in the Nation. It’s easy to see why, with 2,630 acres of breathtaking canyons and buttes along the Illinois river. Aside from it’s hiking trails and natural beauty, Starved Rock is also rich with history, legend and mystique. Entrenched with legend from the Native American’s who first inhabited the area, Starved Rock is also connected to the story of American growth and prosperity. In the earliest days of European exploration in America, Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette are credited as the first Europeans to explore and discover this area. Shortly after, a French Military Fort was established there and used during the French and Indian Wars. After the revolution, the land was purchased for private use and turned into a state park in the Early part of the 20th Century. After the Great Depression, Roosevelt established the Civilian Conservation Corps as a means of creating jobs for young men, beautifying the natural rural areas of the Country, and stimulating the American work force. The majority of the Starved Rock State Park infrastructure and the I&M Canal were built by these work corps. In 1985 the Civilian Conservation Corps work on the lodges, trails and shelters of the park were added to the National Register of Historic Places. The Illinois Bureau of Tourism has declared Starved Rock as one of the “Seven Wonders of Illinois.” With all of this right down the street, it’s difficult to find a more naturally intriguing place to have as a backdrop for your event.