Hardin County Courthouse in Elizabethtown
Perhaps the most picturesque town in Illinois along the Ohio, Elizabethtown overlooks the river at the southeastern tip of the state. With a little more than 300 people, the town is the seat of Hardin County. Elizabethtown was first settled by James McFarland in about 1808. He named the town after his wife Elizabeth. He operated a ferry to Kentucky and built a hotel, the Rose Hotel, around 1830, making it the oldest hotel in the state. To learn more about the Rose Hotel and visit its website, click here.
Not to be confused with the Rose Hotel, on the other side of Main Street is the River Rose Inn, which is pictured below. It was built in 1914 by Ed Wall, a direct descendant of James McFarland, the town's founder. To view its website, click here.
Head further north on Main Street and you can see the old businesses and homes pictured below.
On the Western edge of town is the 1st Baptist Church, which claims that it is a continuation of the Big Creek Baptist Church, which was founded two miles to the west in 1806 and fizzled out in 1837. If true, it would make it the oldest Baptist church in Illinois in continuous operation, but the two churches are unlikely related. The current church in Elizabethtown was founded in about 1839, and if not directly related to the Big Creek Baptist Church, it certainly represents the continuation of the Baptist faith in the area for more than two centuries. The current sanctuary was built in 1877.
Northwest of town on state routes 145 and 34 is St. Joseph's Catholic Church. The church is located in an idyllic corner of state. To get to it, one must first drive down a pine tree shaded lane. The pictures below were taken during the season of Lent in 2011. Please click on them to make them larger.
To travel east to Cave-in-Rock, home to late 18th century early 19th century river pirates, click below left. To travel northeast to Old Shawneetown, home of the state's first bank, click below right.