September 19, 2023

Duckworth, Durbin Reintroduce Bill to Establish Prairie Du Rocher French Colonial National Historic Park


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today reintroduced their legislation to establish the Prairie du Rocher French Colonial National Historic Park. This bill would recognize the cultural importance of the village, one of the oldest communities founded as a French settlement, as a nationally significant architectural village that embodies the cultural heritage of the United States. This National Historical Park would serve as the focus of interpretive and educational programs relating to the history of the French Colonial Historic District and assist in the preservation of historic sites within the French Colonial Historic District.

“Preserving our state and our nation’s history is critically important,” Duckworth said. “With more than 300 years of history, I’m proud to reintroduce this legislation to commemorate the rich history of Prairie du Rocher and establish the Prairie du Rocher French Colonial National Historical Park.”

“Illinois residents and visitors alike should have the resources to learn about our storied past, including the significance of the Prairie du Rocher French area.  As the city of Prairie du Rocher boasts more than 300 years of history, I hope to see the Prairie du Rocher French area receive well-earned recognition as the French Colonial Historic District to both preserve our history and educate visitors,” said Durbin.

“This is a wonderful day for our community and the French Historic District,” said Prairie du Rocher Mayor Mark Wilson. “We are very proud of our history and the impact that it has had on the development of our nation.”

“On behalf of Randolph County and the French Colonial Historic District, we are thrilled that this legislation is being introduced,” said Randolph County Economic Director Christopher Martin. “Many thanks to Senator Tammy Duckworth for her support and persistence.”

“I applaud the Senator on introducing this legislation,” said Illinois State Historical Society Executive Director Bill Furry. “It’s a great initiative and will have a positive impact on the French Illinois Corridor.”

Founded by French colonists in 1722, Prairie du Rocher played a pivotal role in the development of the United States and remains an important part of Illinois’s history. Duckworth and Durbin first introduced this legislation last year to commemorate Prairie du Rocher’s 300th anniversary.

Duckworth and Durbin are committed to preserving and honoring Illinois’s history. Earlier this year, thanks in part to their leadership, the Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ was designated as a national monument, ensuring the historic church will be preserved and continue to tell Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley’s critically important story as part of American history. Duckworth and Durbin have also been longtime supporters of establishing the site of the 1908 Race Riots in Springfield as a national monument site.