Legends of Starved Rock

StarvedRock8 I am posting a few additional pictures of Starved Rock Park in Illinois, this is from our visit last October, and in addition to my recent post Soaring with Eagles at Canyon’s Edge. We had not visited Kaskaskia canyon yet, but would definitely like to go next time as it is named for the largest recorded village of 4-5 thousand American Indians living on the banks of Illinois river.

Starved Rock, located between Ottawa and La Salle-Peru, stands as one of the preeminent archeological, historical, and scenic landmarks in Illinois. Rising over 125 feet above the river below, Starved Rock—a tree covered sandstone monolith overlooking the Illinois River amid a landscape of woodland, canyons, and waterfalls that may closely resemble the region’s landscape as it was before the Ice Age. It has a total of 18 canyons. Images below are just from 2 canyons closest to the visitor’s center: French Canyon and Wildcat Canyon.

While clearly of historical importance from both a Native and a Western perspective, Starved Rock is best known because of the legend from which it derives its name. A legend which appears to be based far more on romantic imagination than on anything resembling historical evidence. Though many variations of the legend of Starved Rock have been told over the years, most have certain traits in common. In most popular versions of the tale, an Illinois man—sometimes described as a Peoria, sometimes a Michigamea, but always a member of an Illinois sub-tribe—murdered the Ottawa Chief Pontiac in St. Louis in 17??. In response to the senseless (and possibly drunken) slaying of the popular inter-tribal leader, members of the Potowatomi nation—often said to have been accompanied by Ottawa and Mesquakie warriors—attacked the Illinois, driving them from their homes to the relative safety of the inaccessible Le Rocher. But, so the legend concludes, their escape was short-lived. Their refuge protected the Illinois from attacks, but it offered no sources of water or food. Unable to reach the river over one hundred feet below without confronting their enemies, the besieged Illinois died of thirst and starvation. Often the legend cites this as the explanation for why there are no surviving Illinois people today (the continued living presence of the Peorias and Kaskaskias is rarely mentioned—it would complicate a good story with troublesome facts).  Source


About BeeHappee

Where have all the bees gone? Where have all the flowers gone? https://beehappeenow.wordpress.com
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10 Responses to Legends of Starved Rock

  1. Your photos & post are just wonderful!

  2. Awesome photos! 🙂
    My wife and I have been there; it truly is beautiful! It’s quite a drive there for us and our arthritic bodies. (See my comment back to you in your recent comment to me in my latest posting.)

  3. bobraxton says:

    For the price of a good story, what need of facts — tell on.

  4. it would complicate a good story with troublesome facts…. this one sentence completely sums up the modern media….
    Otherwise it sounds like an awesome place to hike through. Too bad it also seems crowded.

    • BeeHappee says:

      😀 Too funny about “modern” media. Any story does get complicated with facts. 🙂 There was an Illinois researcher recently who did some digging into the legends of that place, and what he found out was that there were a couple slaughters in that area, so there is some truth to the legend, as usual. . .
      What you see, is the two main canyons that are close to the entrance, hence the crowds. Since little ones are still not pro hikers, we did short routes, also it was the most crowded season of all – the fall color season. Otherwise, if you go to further away canyons and off season, it is virtually empty.

      • I dare to bet that your kids hike more than the average teenager or even adult.
        And I can see why the fall colour season is so popular. I guess that’s why the entrance is so near. The constructors wouldn’t want people to become tired too much now, would they?

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