Attractions in Elsah

Visiting the historic Village of Elsah, Illinois is like taking a journey to a simpler time.

Farley’s Music Hall

In 1885, Dr. Farley built the Music Hall and utilized it to promote the Republican Party. It soon became a center for various village activities. Over time, there were subsequent owners and uses for the hall including the Knights of Pythias adding the second floor for their fraternal meetings. After the 1993 Flood, Historic Elsah Foundation purchased and restored the building. It is used for HEF and community activities and rentals for private parties.

Village of Elsah Museum

Erected in 1887, the Village Hall is now used as a Museum. It is jointly operated by the Village of Elsah and the Historic Elsah Foundation. Exhibits include information about the real estate developer, James Semple and his family, architectural styles of Elsah, tools, artifacts, an Elsah mural, and photographs from the 19th and early 20th century, Principia College as a National Historic Landmark, and the New Piasa Chautauqua. An annual photography exhibit as well as changing periodic exhibits encourage return visits.

Attendance is free.

  • Open April through October, Sat-Sun, 1 to 4 pm, and by appointment.

Elsah Village Civic Center

The Civic Center houses the Village offices, meeting rooms, event spaces, and public restrooms. The stone portion of the building was presented to the Village in 1857 by Village founder James Semple. It is reported to have cost $2,833. Until 1970, the building (and subsequent addition) was originally used for the Elsah School for children up through grade 8. The school was also a cultural center for the Village since the pupils often performed in dramatic or musical entertainments to help furnish the building. A plaque on the south side of the building shows the high watermark of the 1993 flood.  The main floors of the Civic Center can be rented for events by contacting the Village Clerk at [email protected].

Ice House

Historic Ice House, ca 1865.

Elsah has a number of ruins, but few of them can equal the massive quality of this ruined ice house. There were at least five ice houses in Elsah: at the end of Valley Street, under the Mott’s store, at Eliestoun, and at Notch Cliff. This building was initially a residence built about 1865. The lower levels and closeness to the river make it ideal for storing ice in the lower levels. A model of the building is in the Village Museum that shows a view of the possible initial appearance. In recent years, the owner, Historic Elsah Foundation, had ice house ruin’s walls reduced and tuck pointed to stabilize them. The ruin is often used for staging photographs of families and couples.

Methodist Church

Built in 1874, this small Gothic church was the only house of worship in Elsah until the 1940s. Mrs. Ames donated a small Sunday School Room at the rear of the building. Available for weddings. Follow us on Facebook at Elsah UMC.

  • (618) 531-4378

  • Services: Sun. 8:45 a.m.

Christian Science Reading Room

The Christian Science Reading Room in Elsah is a combination bookstore, library, and study room, where research materials are available for the Bible, and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, including Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. The award-winning international weekly news magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, along with other print and digital publications that share the healing message of Christian Science, are also available to read or purchase.

Principia College

Enrolling over 300 students from 33 states and 28 countries, Principia College offers an outstanding liberal arts academic program with a focus on Christian Science-based character education.

Treehouse Wildlife Center

TreeHouse Wildlife Center is a non-profit, established in 1979, dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of wildlife while promoting environmental awareness through education.