Pere Marquette Cross


On June 10, 1673, French explorer Louis Joliet and Jesuit priest Father Jacques Marquette led the first French expedition down the Mississippi River in search of the Pacific Ocean. As the explorers made their way down the Mississippi, they encountered the image of a large monster on the face of the bluffs. Marquette’s diary holds the first eye-witness account of the legendary Piasa Bird. The expedition followed the Mississippi River to the mouth of the Arkansas River, at which point the Native Americans there informed them that they were only about ten days away from the Gulf of Mexico, not the Pacific Ocean. If they were to continue on their current path, they were sure to encounter hostile Native Americans along the way. Fearing that they may be captured by the Native Americans or Spanish, they chose to turn around and begin their journey home. Even though they never reached the Gulf, the expedition was still considered to be a success. Marquette and Joliet established relations with the Native American tribes that they met along the way, and their discoveries eventually led to the French possession of Louisiana.


Illinois Rte. 100
Grafton, IL 62037


38.97215000, -90.46672000
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(800) 258-6645

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