As the first capital of Illinois, Kaskaskia has a rich history. Once a strategic location that Britain and France fought over for control in North America, Kaskaskia in 2016 had a population of thirteen. This decline in population is mainly a result of Mississippi River flooding, the most dramatic of which turned the original location of Kaskaskia into an island. These floods, unfortunately, washed away many important historical sites. However, there are still a few places there that give visitors wonderful glimpse into local history.
While Kaskaskia is often remembered as a British and American administrative center, it was an influential French settlement for many years. This French history is captured by the Immaculate Conception Church, a beautiful example of French colonial architecture. The Immaculate Conception parish was begun as a mission by Father Jacques Marquette in 1675. The church has a beautiful red brick exterior and is built in a Gothic-inspired style. The parish is still active and houses artifacts from the earliest days of its existence, including a chalice used by Father Marquette.