Grand Village of the Illinois


Dee Bennett Road, two miles east of IL Route 178
near North Utica, IL

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SulpherSpgsHotel2813.pngIn 1673 this was the site of the first Native American contact with Europeans in what is today Illinois, when explorers Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet passed up the Illinois River. Dubbed “the Grand Village of the Illinois” by early European visitors, the area comprised about seventy-five houses.

Located within the site is the ca. 1851 Sulphur Springs Hotel, a resort for travelers and visitors to the nearby mineral springs for which it was named. The property is located within the boundaries of the Old Kaskaskia Village Site, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and listed in 1966 on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Grand Village of the Illinois archaeological site, located on the north bank of the Illinois River, consists of level, open fields without apparent evidence of earlier Native American occupation. The Sulphur Springs Hotel is a massive four-story limestone structure. The first floor was originally composed of four large rooms—including the hotel kitchen and barroom—opening onto a central hall. All were modified by later owners. The second story also originally contained four large rooms, most likely dining rooms and parlors. They were modified in the 1960s into bedrooms and an apartment. The third floor reflects the building’s original use, with twelve rooms situated around an H-shaped center hall. Four original fireplaces remain. The fourth floor consists of a large ballroom and six smaller rooms of varying sizes.

Several small buildings, none connected with the Hotel’s historic period, are located on the Hotel grounds. Among them are a pump house carrying water from a natural spring, a garden shed, a small dog kennel, a barn, a corncrib, and three small sheds.