Fort Jefferson Hill Park Welcome Center & Memorial Cross of KY
The journal kept by Meriwether Lewis indicates that the Corps of Discovery spent the night of November 14, 1803, at the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, near present day Cairo, Illinois, where they remained until November 20, 1803. During these days Lewis and William Clarktried to determine the best location for establishing a military fort. They also each spent time taking astronomical readings to determine latitude and longitude, and on November 18 they “Set out early this morning with a canoe and eight men in company with Capt. Clark to visit and view the ground on which Oald Fort Jefferson stood;”.Fort Jefferson was established in 1789 by George Rogers Clark, the older brother of William, naming it for Thomas Jefferson, then governor of Virginia. The fort was abandoned the next year. The Fort Jefferson Memorial Cross is a 95-foot memorial that stands high upon a bluff at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. The history of the cross begins in 1937 when a few members of a community choir erected a small wooden cross on a hill at the Ancient Buried City site (now known as Wickliffe Mounds Research Center) in Wickliffe. In 1951, the cross was enlarged and bulbs were lit during Easter and Christmas each year. When Murray State University purchased the Wickliffe Mounds site in 1981, it became necessary to seek another location for the cross. It was then that the idea was born to build a cross tall enough to be seen from the states of Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky and would be lit at night.