godfreyIn 1817, the first settlers arrived in present-day Godfrey. A small settlement in Godfrey known as Rocky Fork, may be the oldest and largest Underground Railroad site in the state of Illinois. There are many stories, oral traditions and evidence that the Underground Railroad was active along the Mississippi River and throughout the region.
The village of Godfrey itself earned its namesake from one of its most prominent citizens, Benjamin Godfrey. Settling in Illinois in 1832, Godfrey was a Yankee shipmaster and merchant trader. One of Godfrey's greater contributions to the community was the Monticello Seminary for Women that he founded and erected.
Today, Lewis & Clark Community College is located on the grounds of what was once Monticello Seminary on Route 67 in Godfrey. The Benjamin Godfrey Memorial Chapel, built in 1854, still stands on the campus. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the church has been designated as one of only six churches that are authentic copies of New England architecture outside of the northeastern United States. Also on the campus of Lewis & Clark Community College, visitors can enjoy the sculpture gardens. Through an initiative with the Missouri Botanical Gardens, the campus has become a showcase of art displays, incredible landscapes and beautiful sculptures, including that of Sacagawea from the Lewis & Clark expedition.
Visitors to Godfrey can enjoy dozens of shops, tea-rooms and restaurants. Nature enthusiasts fall in love with the scenic views and rolling hills of Godfrey abundant with nature trails and nature preserves. In the fall, visitors can "Get Lost in Godfrey" at the ever popular 2.4 mile Great Godfrey Corn Maze or step back into the early 1800's the last weekend in September at the Heritage Days Festival. Families are invited to ring in the New Year at the annual First Night celebration, an alcohol-free New Year's Eve extravaganza with live music, entertainers and activities for the kids.
For more information on the community of Godfrey, go to www.godfreyil.org