October 12, 2008

Heretage Canyon Festival / Galena / Fulton Illinois

What is Heritage Canyon?

It is a 12-acre wooded structure nature walk dotted with buildings that take the visitor back to the 1800's. Fulton, Illinois is located across the Mississppi River from Clinton ,Iowa, and celebrates Dutch Days Festival every first weekend of May. The scenic River Drive along the Mississppi makes a nice day trip that I know most would enjoy.

Mid-1800's - 1954: It was a limestone quarry where rock was crushed for field fertilizer, road beds, wing dams and levees. Trucks, trains and river barges hauled it away.

1954 - 1967: The quarry was abandoned in 1954 because dynamiting was damaging both sides of the river. The area became an eyesore to the community with its junk and dilapidated shacks.

1967 - 1999: In 1967, Harold and Thelma Wierenga bought the quarry. They converted the machine shop into a usable workshop and then built their home on the site of the old rock crusher. They changed the quarry, keeping two goals in mind: preserve Midwestern history, emphasizing detail and authenticity; and disturb nature as little as possible as each building is added.

1999 - Present: After the passing of Harold Wierenga in January 1999, his daughter and son-in-law maintained the Canyon for several years. However, the volunteer task of maintaining the Canyon was simply too much for the couple. In October 2005, the City of Fulton was given ownership of Heritage Canyon. In October 2007, Thelma Wierenga passed away. A memorial for Harold and Thelma is planned.

Self-guided walking tours marked by numbered yellow arrows on brick paths will guide you through a pleasant experience.

Donations only, except on specials days when a $2.00 admission for adults and children over 14 is requested. All donations are used for improvement of this park.

The church in the Canyon is available for small weddings. The church seats up to 25 people. Cost to rent the church is $185 (includes a $50 refundable deposit). Please call the caretaker for details and availability - 815-589-4600.

Special Times at the Canyon 2008:
Dutch Days: May 2, 3, & 4 10am to 4pm
Fall Festival: October 11 & 12 10am to 4pm
Christmas Walk: Dec. 6 10am to 4pm and Illuminated Walk 6pm to 8pm

At these events, the Early American Crafters, the Civil War reenactors, and other historical groups take us back in time as they recreate history in the mid-1800's.

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