Hardin, Illinois, located in Calhoun County, is a small town with a rich history. Calhoun County is named after John C. Calhoun, a prominent senator from South Carolina who was a key figure in the debates over slavery leading up to the Civil War. Here are seven historical events that have taken place near Hardin.
1. The Lewis and Clark Expedition
In 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led an expedition to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Territory. During their journey, they passed through what is now Calhoun County. They made a stop just north of Hardin, along what is now called the Great River Road, to celebrate the Fourth of July.
2. The Trail of Tears
In 1838, the Cherokee people were forcibly removed from their ancestral lands in the Southeast and relocated to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma. This mass relocation is known as the Trail of Tears. The Cherokee passed through Calhoun County on their way to the Mississippi River, where they boarded boats to travel west.
3. The Civil War
During the Civil War, Calhoun County was a divided community. Many residents supported the Union, while others were sympathetic to the Confederacy. The town of Hamburg, just south of Hardin, was the site of a skirmish between Union and Confederate troops in August 1864.
4. The Great Flood of 1993
In the summer of 1993, the Mississippi River experienced one of the most devastating floods in its history. Calhoun County was among the many areas that were severely affected. Floodwaters reached as high as 38 feet in some areas, causing widespread property damage and displacement.
5. The Great River Road
The Great River Road is a national scenic byway that winds along the Mississippi River from Minnesota to Louisiana. The section of the Great River Road that passes through Calhoun County is considered one of the most scenic stretches of the route.
6. The Bald Eagle Days Festival
Since 1987, Hardin has hosted the Bald Eagle Days Festival, a celebration of the majestic bird that is native to the area. The festival features live eagle demonstrations, bird-watching tours, and educational exhibits.
7. The Designation of Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge
In 1958, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established the Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge, which encompasses more than 8,000 acres of river and wetland habitat in Calhoun County. The refuge is home to a variety of wildlife, including bald eagles, migratory birds, and white-tailed deer.
In conclusion, Hardin, Illinois, and the surrounding area have played an important role in many significant historical events, from the Lewis and Clark Expedition to the designation of the Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge. Visitors to the area can explore this rich history by visiting historical sites, attending festivals and events, and enjoying the natural beauty of the Great River Road and Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge.
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