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Experience Frontier History First-Hand with CCL Workshops

Article by: Louise Jett,
GODFREY – Lewis and Clark Community College’s Corporate and Community Learning (CCL) division is offering the chance to experience life as it was on the frontier in the early 1800s.

A series of Frontier Life workshops will be hosted at the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site in Hartford, Illinois, in April. Site Manager Brad Winn and the staff at the Historic Site will be leading the offerings.

“These unique classes offer folks not only the chance to read and hear about history but an opportunity to experience it hands on,” Winn said.  

During Sewing on the Frontier, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 1, participants will make a market wallet for carrying small items, such as books or any other small objects. Since petticoats and breeches did not have pockets, civilians and military men would use this wallet like a pocket.

Worn by twisting the middle to keep the items from falling out, it was then thrown over the shoulder. It will be a rectangular bag, 36 inches long, 14 inches wide with an opening in the center, and it will be made out of linen. All materials are included in the course fee, which is $25. The registration deadline is March 25.

Cooking Over an Open Fire will allow participants the opportunity to cook a full meal over an open fire from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 15.

“Everything will be cooked as it would have been done in the early 1800s,” Winn said. “So, leave all your knowledge of modern cooking behind and come into a world of cooking techniques that will leave you tired, hungry and a great appreciation of what we have today.”

The meal will consist of chicken cooked on a reflector oven, mashed potatoes, fried cabbage, cooked carrots, biscuits with churned butter and stewed apples. All materials are included in the course fee, which is $30. The registration deadline is April 8.

For those who have wanted to follow the Lewis and Clark Trail and find out exactly what happened to Lewis and Clark on their two-and-half year journey, the offering Explore the Lewis and Clark Trail will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 29.

“Join me at the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site, the location of their first winter encampment, Camp River Dubois and the Point of the Departure,” Winn said. “The class will retell the story of the expedition of the Corps of Discovery combining the history of the journey and the imagery of the trail today.”

The course registration fee is $10, and the registration deadline is April 22.

“For anyone interested in learning more about the unique connection between the Lewis and Clark Expedition and our region, these workshops offer the chance to experience history by recreating it,” said CCL Assistant Director Katie Haas.

To register, visit or call Haas at (618) 468-5701.