Saturday, April 25, 2015


Vandalia, Illinois was not even on our trip itinery when we passed nearby in late August, 2013, on the way to Arkansas.   We were in a hurry, trying to make a nearly 1,300 mile  (2,093 km) car trip in only two days.  But then, we found out the importance of this small city of 7,043 people to the history of the United States.

We were going to take another route home but circumstances forced a change - and, suddenly, we were traveling near Vandalia again. 

For V day at the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, I want to talk about a road almost not taken, and what happened when we did take it and took the detour to Vandalia.

For example, we found the Madonna of the Trail statue.

I was amazed to discover that,by 1909, the old Santa Fe trail used in the 19th century for transportation purposes between Franklin, Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico, was disappearing.   Eventually, a plan was formed by the Daughters of the American Revolution to both honor the old trails but also the pioneer women who traveled those trails, sometimes with young children in hand.

This is the Madonna of the Trail statue in Vandalia, Illinois, one of twelve such statues erected along the old "National Road".

Nearby, you find this sign.  Of course, being lovers of Civil War history, we had to spend some unscheduled time in Vandalia.
Abraham Lincoln, our 16th President and the President during the Civil War may not have slept here, but he began his political career in Vandalia, in the building that preceded this building.

No tours were scheduled on the hot afternoon we walked into this building, but a knowledgeable woman talked to us for some time, before we had to leave.

Lincoln, she told us wanted to move the state capital to a site more in the center of Illinois and eventually succeeded.  But first, Vandalia built this structure above, trying unsuccessfully to convince legislators to keep the capital in Vandalia.

For years, Lincoln was not a popular person in Vandalia, but all is forgiven.  Now, they honor their link with him.

I was so sorry to leave- I could have listened to her all day.
If only this staircase could talk,what tales would it tell us.

I highly recommend a visit to the Old Statehouse if you are in the area of Vandalia, or St. Louis, Missouri.  I wish I could let the woman who talked to us know how much I enjoyed listening to her.

Tomorrow, is my Civil War Sunday feature. Monday, the Blogging from A to Z Challenge resumes with W.  And, for W, I have a treat in store for you.


  1. How interesting and what a pleasant surprise for a change in plans. I have never heard of the Madonna of The Trail, but of course I have heard of the Sante Fe Trail. I will have to do some research on that topic. Thanks for all the Lincoln information....a story probably not found anywhere else.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal
    AtoZ 2015 Challenge
    Minion for AJ's wHooligans

  2. I'm amazed you've been able to find such interesting towns and stories to go with each letter of the alphabet! Thanks for sharing!

  3. It's the unexpected detours that are so impactful.

  4. Interesting with nice pictures :)

  5. You were lucky to meet a woman who could share her knowledge of the area with you. A person who can make history interesting is a treasure. I won't be able to visit, but I shared your adventure with a grin.

  6. I am really enjoying discovering parts of the USA that I don't know at all through your blog. Someday I want to go home and take the road trip of a lifetime...


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