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Business council launches Benjamin Godfrey Legacy Trail Project


Benjamin Godfrey and four of his “friends” were the guests of the North Alton Godfrey Business Council during a recent fund-raiser to support the new Benjamin Godfrey Legacy Trail Project.

The fund-raising dinner was the kickoff event to help raise $65,000 for the project designed to bring Godfrey and his legacy to life in schools and the region.

godfrey benjaminThe kickoff was Thursday, Oct. 13, at Ahlemeyer Atrium, Lewis and Clark Community College. The Trail Project highlights the life and entrepreneurial spirit of Benjamin Godfrey (shown) and ties it to the historical significance of Alton and Godfrey.

“The actors took us back in time on the very site where Godfrey founded the Monticello Female Seminary (now LCCC),” Zeke Jabusch, business council president, said.

The $50 per plate period event featured a theatrical portrayal, “A Night with Benjamin Godfrey and Friends.”

To place the proper historical marker, the kickoff treated a full house to an evening of period bill of fare dining, accompanied by music of the day and highlighted by the opportunity to meet and hear from Benjamin Godfrey (John Meehan), and his close business associates, Winthrop Gilman (David Crowley), Theron Baldwin (Kerry Miller), Philena Fobes (Kayla Mack), and Elijah Lovejoy (Zack Coffman).

Donor funding will go

1) to provide a knowledge base for young children,
2) make the community more aware of the importance of numerous contributions of Godfrey,
3) preserve his scholarship and vision for future generations, and
4) to add yet another significant tourism piece to the historical mix of the region.

Those wishing to contribute to the project are encouraged to: send a check made payable to EE Foundation – Benjamin Godfrey Trail, P.O. Box 306, Godfrey, IL 62035; or go online at

Benjamin Godfrey’s portrayal on the Legacy Trail will be presented on several platforms – a video presentation, a descriptive brochure, a self-guided audio presentation, a curriculum developed for third and fourth graders – supplemented by a children’s book illustrating and telling the story of
this visionary.

The foundation of these informational elements will be permanent markers identifying:

– the Godfrey and Gilman Warehouse,

– St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

– the Godfrey and Gilman homes and

– the Alton and Sangamon Railroad Freight Station in Alton; in Godfrey –

– the Godfrey Mansion,

– the Godfrey Cemetery,

– the Benjamin Godfrey Chapel,

– Monticello Female Seminary (now Lewis and Clark College) and

– the Plank Road traversing between the Mansion in Godfrey and 4th & Belle in Alton.

The benefit was organized by Linda Nevlin – Theatrical Program, Marilyn Kuhn – Dinner, and Zeke Jabusch. A committee of historians, educators, a former site owner, local published author, foundation and municipal executives, interested council members, and have been meeting for over a year to plan, arrange promotion and fund raising, and prepare a budget to execute this project. Major contributors include Alton High School illustrators
and Confluence Business Advisors, a local consulting firm that is producing events and videos for the project.

For more information or to donate go to the following links:

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