Communities Surrounding Rend Lake: Benton 62812, Bonnie 62816, Buckner 62819, Christopher 62822, Coello 62825, DuQuoin 62832, Galatia 62935, Ina 62846, Johnston City 62951, Marion 62959, Scheller 62883, Sesser 62884, Thompsonville 62890, Waltonville 62894, West Frankfort 62896, Whittington 62897, Zeigler 62999
MUST SEE PLACES OF INTEREST
APPELLATE COURTHOUSE - MT. VERNON, IL (20 Minutes)
14th & Main Streets in Mt. Vernon. History was made when Lincoln won a tax case for the IL Central Railroad in 1859. The courthouse was turned into a hospital after the great tornado of 1888. Tours are free. Call 618-242-3120
1905 JAIL MUSEUM - BENTON, IL (5 Minutes)
The 1905 Franklin County Jail Museum was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. The displays in this amazing museum houses memorabilia from The Beatles’ George Harrison’s first trip to the United States to visit his sister Louise in Benton Illinois, to actor John Malkovich, basketball star Doug Collins, Civil War General John A. Logan and gangster Charlie Birger, the last convicted criminal to be hanged in Illinois. See actual jail cells used to house Charlie Birger and a replica of the noose and gallows used to hang him. Only 5 miles south of Rend Lake, just West of the Benton Square on IL State Highway 14. Please call or check website for seasonal hours. Admission $4.00 / Donations Accepted.
CEDARHURST CENTER FOR THE ARTS - MT. VERNON (20 minutes)
Located on Richview road, this is one of the finest art museums in the region where some of the great American masters are displayed. The museum also features a children's gallery, sculpture park and a nature trail. Admission is free and you can call 618-242-1236
FRANKLIN COUNTY GARAGE MUSEUM (Five Minutes)
The Franklin County Garage Museum houses vintage & antique autos, machinery from the old "Ford" days, as well as the Benton West City Area Chamber of Commerce. Located at 211 North Main in Benton, Illinois, the museum is open for tours by calling 618-438-2121, Monday-Friday.
WAYNE FITZGERRELL STATE PARK (On the Lake)
People interested in water sports, horseback riding, picnicking or hiking will find that Wayne Fitzgerrell has plenty to offer. The site also provides ample opportunities for birders, wildlife observers and photographers, fishing tournaments, pleasure boaters, water skiers and anglers. Overlooking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 19,000-acre Rend Lake Reservoir, Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area is a gateway to Southern Illinois’ biggest outdoor playground - a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and interests. The park offers outstanding opportunities for hunting, fishing, camping, picnicking, horseback riding, hiking and other outdoor recreational pursuits.
REND LAKE BIKE TRAIL (On the Lake)
Currently there is an 11 mile bike trail open on the east side of Rend Lake with more trails to open later on. The current trail is broken up into 2 parts. The north trail runs for 5.9 miles from the Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park Office (off of 154) to Rend Lake College. The south trail (not currently connected to the north trail) runs for 3.8 miles from the Southern Illinois Artisan Shop & Visitor Center to the North Marcum Swim Beach. The completed trail is paved and can be used for hiking and biking, and those with disabilities can use the trail due to the level terrain of the trail. Also there are numerous access points along the trail to allow visitors to choose the length of their trail adventure. (SEE MAP BELOW)
VETERAN'S & COAL MINER'S MEMORIAL (10 Minutes)
This restored railroad depot in West Frankfort houses memorabilia from all wars. Outside is a Southern Illinois Miners Memorial dedicated to coal miners of the region.
Address: 100 E Main St. West Frankfort, Illinois
SESSER HISTORIC OPERA HOUSE (10 Minutes)
Located at the west edge of Rend Lake, Sesser is home of the Historic Opera House, which was erected in 1914 after a fire destroyed the original structure. It has been restored and is now used for Community Theater and musical programs.
Address: 108 W. Franklin Ave., Sesser, Illinois
REND LAKE SHOOTING COMPLEX (Five Minutes)
Located in the scenic recreation area of Rend Lake in Southern Illinois, is one of the most state of the art shooting facilities in the Midwest. rendlakesc.com
SILKWOOD INN (15 Minutes)
Established in 1828 as a halfway stop on the Shawneetown to St. Louis Trail, this restored log cabin houses memorabilia of the area.
Address: 2130 School House Rd., Mulkeytown, Illinois
Hours: Open by appointment
WEST FRANKFORT HISTORICAL MUSEUM (15 Minutes)
The Frankfort Area Historical Society was organized in January 1971, for the purpose of searching out and preserving the history of the area. With the advent of each year, the ravages of time reduce items of this era more and more, until eventually they will no longer exist nor be remembered. They must be preserved for posterity! The dream of the society was to preserve the historical site of old Frankfort and establish an historical museum in the former Logan School building which stood in the center of the town common of old Frankfort. On July 10, 1972, the society leased the school and grounds from the Frankfort Community Unit School District No. 168. The dream finally began to be a reality. Renovation of the three-story building began one week later. Through the total devotion and determination of dedicated members, the Museum was dedicated on July 6, 1974. Funds for the establishment and preservation of the Museum are derived from annual membership dues, donations, annual "Holiday House" in November, and the Memorial Fund to which monetary gifts and bequests may be made in honor or in memory of any individual or family. 2000 East St. Louis Street, West Frankfort, IL 62896, 618-932-6159.
Scheller Playhouse (15 Minutes)
The Scheller Playhouse is a restaurant and lounge with a 400 person banquet hall. Open seven days a week. Friday night is our awesome seafood buffet. Special events of all kinds are welcome. Seating for 400 people. Come join the fun. Located at 4409 N. Scheller Lane.