Benjamin Godfrey Legacy Trail Project Activities
In October 2016, an audience of 125 were treated to a five-star period dinner and an amazingly entertaining evening with Benjamin Godfrey and friends, resulting in a successful first effort introduction of the project to the community. Since that date, the Committee has produced a Legacy Trail brochure which includes an abbreviated narrative of Godfrey, together with identifying the eight sites in Alton and Godfrey where Godfrey was involved.
In February 2017, the Council was recognized at the Greater Alton &Tourism Bureau’s Tourism Summit at the Atrium Hotel, for our vision and leadership of the Benjamin Godfrey Trail Project.
The March meeting of NAGBC was held at Johnson’s Corner Restaraunt. Our two very esteemed guests present were Mr. Benjamin Godfrey and the Rev. Theron Baldwin, each sharing a bit of their history with the attendees. Since our time was limited, each could only share very brief snippets of their experiences but encouraged all to get involved with the Benjamin Godfrey Legacy Trail Project, initiated and sponsored by the NAGBC, for more information on how Benjamin Godfrey influenced the growth of the Alton/Godfrey community.
Mr. Godfrey’s impacts on the the local community are many. The Legacy Trail Project will be telling his story and will be a tourism boost for this area. A book, soon to be released, will be used in the local school system to educate our children on Mr. Godfrey’s contributions. This book will also be available to the general public and will help raise funding to further enhance completion of the project. The project has a two year target completion date, with a $90K budget target. To date, $20K has been raised.
If you would like to get more information about the project or to financially contribute, contact the Benjamin Godfrey Legacy Trail, P.O. Box 306, Godfrey, IL 62035 or go to the gofundme website, https://www.gofundme.com/benjamingodfrey.
In April 2017, the Village of Godfrey, Mayor Mike McCormick, presented a check for $5000 to Benjamin Godfrey for the Benjamin Godfrey Legacy Trail Project.
On Thursday evening, 18 May, an initial book signing activity was held at Abby Inc., in Godfrey. On Saturday afternoon, May 20th, 2017, Lacy McDonald, Hayner Library, hosted the official book signing/fund raising show of “Seymour Bluffs and Benjamin Godfrey”, at the Hayner Genealogy Library in Alton. Book signings were done by the two authors, instructor/ 6 students whom contributed splendidly to the publication. Numerous student family members, interested members of the community and others were in attendance contributing to the sale of 94 books.
The book is part of a larger community project, spearheaded by the North Alton – Godfrey Business Council, in collaboration with the East End Improvement Association in Alton and the Alton School District. “Seymour Bluffs and Benjamin Godfrey” is a companion piece to augment the historical education being introduced into the school districts third grade curriculum.
In addition to the book, Capt. Benjamin Godfrey’s efforts in the 1800’s are being documented and highlighted through multiple platforms: nine landmarks with historical markers, and informational brochure, a video documentary, and a self-guided audio tour with accompanying smart phone access to an audiovisual historical background.
Benjamin Godfrey Legacy Trail Adventure, October 12, 2017
October marked important milestones as the North Alton Godfrey Business Council (NAGBC) celebrated its progress of the last year as they hosted more than 150 guests at the fundraising campaign dinner benefitting the Benjamin Godfrey Legacy Trail project. Thursday, October 12th at Ahlemeyer Atrium, Lewis and Clark College, NAGBC entertained a full house to a multi-media ‘Stroll Down the Legacy Trail’. The Trail Project highlights the life and entrepreneurial spirit of Benjamin Godfrey and ties it to the historical significance of Alton and Godfrey, Illinois.
“It was another magical evening,” exclaimed Zeke Jabusch, NAGBC President. “The actors introduced us to a visual account of Capt. Godfrey’s impact on our lives and communities.”
Prior to the period dinner, guests were escorted on a stroll through posters of each historical marker on the trail by Benjamin Godfrey (John Meehan), and his associate, Theron Baldwin (Kerry Miller). Following dinner, the program featured the premiere of a documentary of Godfrey’s life and times featured on the trail. That was followed by remarks from the local video producers, Ron Tanner and Rick Vaughn, of Confluence Business Advisors. The presentation markers were produced by Abbey Graphic Design and Support Services of Godfrey.
The project has raised $50,000+ to date. Donor funding for the $95,000 goal supports these intended purposes: 1) to provide a knowledge base for young children, 2) make the community more aware of the importance of Godfrey’s contributions, 3) preserve his scholarship and vision for future generations, 4) and to add yet another significant tourism piece to the historical mix of the region.
(Photos courtesy of Confluence Business Advisors)
The larger goal is to create the Benjamin Godfrey Legacy Trail, identifying historical landmarks tying Alton and Godfrey together. The foundation of these informational elements will include permanent markers identifying 1) the Godfrey and Gilman Warehouse, 2) St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 3) the Godfrey and Gilman homes and 4) the Alton and Sangamon Railroad Freight Station in Alton; in Godfrey – 5) the Godfrey Mansion, 6) the Godfrey Cemetery, 7) the Benjamin Godfrey Chapel, 8) Monticello Female Seminary (now Lewis and Clark College) and finally 8) the Plank Road traversing between the Mansion in Godfrey and 4th & Belle in Alton.
Benjamin Godfrey’s portrayal on the Legacy Trail is presented for purchase as a fundraiser on several platforms – a video documentary – $20; Seymour Bluffs children’s book – $10, illustrating and telling the story of this visionary and supplement to curriculum developed for 3rd and 4th graders; and souvenir coaster sets -$16. All are available through NAGBC and Alton Convention and Visitors Bureau in Downtown Alton.
Those wishing to contribute to the project are encouraged to: 1) send a check made payable to: Benjamin Godfrey Trail, PO Box 306, Godfrey, IL 62035. For more information about Benjamin Godfrey Legacy Trail please contact Zeke Jabusch at 618-779-9735.