east alton & wood riverLike many of the byway communities, Wood River has a rich history ranging from the roots of the Lewis & Clark expedition at the Wood River to the development of one of the largest concentrations of Sears homes in the country. Once known as the fastest growing city in the U.S., the growth of Wood River began in the 1920s as Standard Oil employed almost 90% of the towns population. Because of the immediate need for housing for hundreds of Standard Oil employees, various sizes and prices of Sears homes can still be found throughout the community.
The Wood River Heritage Council has preserved the story of the towns past at the Wood River Museum and Visitors Center. It is here that visitors will find exhibits on the Wood River Massacre of 1814, Olde Downtown, the Flood of 1915, the Worlds largest swimming pool, and the impact of Standard Oil on this growing community. Another historic stop is the Vaughn Cemetery on Illinois Route 111 where Revolutionary War soldiers, Civil War soldiers and Wood River Massacre victims are buried.