Years behind schedule, the $5-million Lewis and Clark Tower
is set to open this Friday
Those of you who've driven Route 3 from East St. Louis to Alton no doubt have seen the structure -- rising 150 feet above the flood plains of Hartford, Illinois.
The idea for the edifice was first hatched in 2000 as a way to honor the bicentennial of explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark's 1804-1806 journey up the Missouri River and back.
The project got delayed due to funding, and now -- 204 years after the conclusion of the Lewis and Clark Expedition -- the tower is finally set to open. Visitors can climb stairs or take an elevator to viewing stations at 50, 100 and 150 up in the air.
The tower sits near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and near the campsite where Lewis and Clark prepared for their exploration of the Louisiana Purchase.