Lewis and Clark Community College, the city of Alton, and the Illinois State Historical Society will reveal hidden history with the dedication of an official Illinois State Historical Society marker on the site where the first soybeans were planted in Illinois in 1851 at 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23, at 417 Prospect St. in Alton.
The commemorative event will be free and open to the public.
“It is said that Alton has a unique history unlike any other place,” Mayor Brant Walker said. “With such features as the confluence of the rivers, the Lovejoy Monument, Lincoln-Douglas debate site and now documented evidence of the first soybeans planted in Illinois, this truly adds a great new chapter to the history of the city of Alton.”
This historical story includes elements of the 1849 Gold Rush, a medical doctor from Alton, 17 shipwrecked Japanese sailors rescued after 50 days adrift in the Pacific, and an unbroken chain of custody of Japanese peas that made their way back to Alton in April 1851 to become the first soybeans grown in Illinois.
“Once in a great while, forgotten history comes into contemporary memory and it is very exciting,” L&C President Dale Chapman said. “This is one of those times.”
Those who will attend are encouraged to RSVP to Executive Secretary Sue Keener at email@example.com or (618) 468-2001.