The Cahokia Courthouse is rich with history and is one of the few historic buildings left in Illinois that showcases its original French architectural influences. Originally constructed as a residence, Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery arrived at this house along their travels in the winter of 1803 and left in the spring of 1804. In that time, Lewis and Clark utilized the courthouse as a headquarters for their expedition and would trade correspondence with President Thomas Jefferson. They gathered supplies, compiled all geographic data they had to plan the rest of their journey. They also met with native tribe leaders and prepared gifts for the tribes they would meet along the way.
Although the legacy of Lewis and Clark is present in this historic monument, the legacy of the Cahokia Courthouse lasted long after and remains to this day. From being dismantled to be transported for the displaying at the World’s Fair, to returning to its original settlement, the courthouse stands to this day as a fantastic tourism attraction.
Courthouse staff and volunteers provide tours for guests but guests can also wander about the premises freely if that is their choice. When there aren’t tours, the Cahokia Courthouse will sometimes play host to events of the town of Cahokia. Some events include, but are not limited to, the annual Festival of the Good Old Days (Fete du Bon Vieux Temps) which is a colonial Mardi Gras celebration, and the Old Time Music Fete in July where acoustic musicians perform on the porch of the courthouse.