Eagle Season: January – March

American Bald Eagles make their winter home on the Mississippi River between Alton and Pere Marquette, drawing eagle watchers from all over the region.  Join others as you drive the Great River Road viewing the historic majestic beauty of the bluffs and spot the eagles perched among them. Elsah is a prime location and Elsah General Store is one of the ‘hot spots’ designated by the Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau. While in Elsah, take advantage of great overnight deals at The Green Tree Inn “bed and breakfast” or stay at the Maple Leaf Cottage Inn. While visiting, stop in one of Elsah’s newest boutique shops. Various activities have also been planned throughout the region. For more information on eagle season activities visit Great Rivers & Routes.

Hosmer-Williams Lecture Series

Historic Elsah Foundation was formed by Dr. Charles Hosmer and Dr. Paul Williams – both were professors at Principia College – as a non-profit organization in 1971. HEF’s purpose is to preserve and enhance the historic buildings, houses, architecture, and culture of the Village of Elsah. Elsah’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places was also the work of Hosmer and Williams.

Each year, Historic Elsah Foundation presents the Hosmer-Williams Lecture Series, which offers important insights into the rich historical significance of Elsah, its surrounding areas, or our state.

The lectures are free and open to the public.

To become a member of HEF and help contribute to this important work, check out

“Discovering the Underground Railroad ” – March 3

Historic Elsah Foundation offers its first Hosmer-Williams Lecture of 2022: “Discovering the Underground Railroad.” The speaker will be J. Eric Robinson, assistant professor of history at the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis. The lecture will be held in person at Farley Music Hall in Elsah (limited capacity) on Thursday, March 3 at 7:00 pm. It will also be available on Zoom. See for a lecture link and reservations. The event is free to the public.

Elsah Photography Exhibit

The Village of Elsah’s Museum Photography Exhibit for 2023 has been postponed due to staffing changes. We look forward to a hopeful return of the contest in 2024. Stay tuned to our website.

Village of Elsah Festival

Village of Elsah Festival – September 23, 2023

The 2022 Village of Elsah Festival was a huge success. With live music, local vendors, food and drink, self-guided wetland trail tours, and historic tours of the village, the festival brought in many tourists with some visiting the village for the first time. Join the Escape to Elsah website’s mailing list at the bottom of this page for updates on next year’s date and see why Elsah was voted the #1 Top Scenic Spot in Illinois by the Illinois Top 200 project. See you this September!
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Home for the Holidays House Tour – December 3

After a two-year layoff, Historic Elsah Foundation will once again hold its annual Home for the Holidays House Tour on Saturday, December 3rd from 1:00 to 5:00 pm. Last year a Holiday Walk (outdoor) replaced the traditional House Tour, which has been held for many years on the first Saturday in December. The 2022 House Tour will include ten of Elsah’s lovely historic homes, all open and decorated for the holidays, along with five public buildings, the village shops, and bed & breakfast inns, giving guests a very special holiday afternoon in our picturesque and historic village.

Advance tickets – at $20 — go on sale October 15th online or by visiting Elsah General Store, Green Tree Inn, Maple Leaf Cottages in Elsah, or the Alton Visitor’s Center. The proceeds benefit the Historic Elsah Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to historical education and preservation in the Village of Elsah, IL. Tickets may also be purchased on the day of the event at the Elsah Civic Center for $25.00 (cash only). For additional information or to purchase tickets online, please visit

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