Godfrey, IL (population 16,286) is named for a Boston sea captain who decided that the big bend in the Mississippi River was the place to settle down and raise his eight daughters. Captain Benjamin Godfrey owned and operated numerous businesses, made and lost several fortunes but left a legacy for Godfrey when he donated the funds and several thousand acres of land to start the Monticello Female Seminary in 1835 as a place where his daughters could get an education. The school was converted to Lewis & Clark Community College and continues to grow in importance as the Godfrey area transitions from a heavy industrial area into more of a service one.
The town was first incorporated in 1991 and with 36 square miles within its municipal boundaries it is one of the largest IL towns in land size. The town lies adjacent to Alton and is about 40 miles north of St. Louis, MO.
I was in Godfrey last week for a regional event that looked at how the region could better utilize its wonderful natural and logistical assets. The natural ones are quickly obvious in a tour of the area. Being at the confluence of the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois Rivers brings some wonderful history and the migration of many waterfowl, including some wonderful pelicans that we snuck up on during my tour. The area is famous for its eagle population and I’ve been there several times to watch the eagles swoop into the river to scoop up an unsuspecting fish.
The Corridor 67 Coalition is focused upon leveraging its location to help complete four lanes from Alton up to the Quad Cities. With 70% of the road completed, there is a push on to complete the remaining gaps.
The views from the Mississippi River bluffs are incredible and a brick house like the one shown here can be purchased for around $400,000.
The Godfrey area has some wonderful assets that could be fully utilized if groups like the one I talked to stay together and work cooperatively.