Matthiessen State Park

is located in the heart of Illinois, has a rich history that dates back to the mid-19th century. The park is named after Frederick W. Matthiessen, a prominent businessman and philanthropist who purchased the land in the 1920s. Matthiessen was a nature lover and wanted to preserve the unique geological features of the area for future generations to enjoy.

Early Years

In the early years, the park was known for its picturesque waterfall, which was a popular tourist attraction. People from all over the state would come to see the falls and picnic on the surrounding hills. The park was also home to a thriving logging industry, and the lumber harvested from the park was used to build homes and structures throughout Illinois.

During the Great Depression

The park became a source of employment for many local residents during this time. The Civilian Conservation Corps, a federal program established to provide jobs and training to young men, built many of the park’s trails, picnic areas, and campgrounds. These structures, which were built using native stone and wood, are still in use today and provide a glimpse into the past.

In the 1950s and 60s, the park became a popular destination for families, who would come to enjoy its scenic beauty, fishing, and camping. The park continued to grow and evolve over the years, adding new facilities and amenities to meet the changing needs of its visitors. Today, Matthiessen State Park is a popular destination for hikers, birdwatchers, and nature enthusiasts, offering miles of trails, breathtaking views, and opportunities to explore the unique geology of the area.

Despite its long and storied history, Matthiessen State Park remains a place of natural beauty and tranquility, a testament to the importance of preserving our natural resources for future generations to enjoy. Whether you are a seasoned hiker or a first-time visitor, the park is sure to provide a memorable experience, and a glimpse into Illinois’ rich history.