Did You Know . . .
Fulton County . . .
. . . was named for Robert Fulton who invented the first successful steamboat in 1807.
. . . was part of the lands set aside to be used as payment to veterans of the War of 1812.
. . . was established five years after Illinois became a state in 1823.
. . . extended all of the way to the northern boundary of the state including present day Chicago between 1823 and 1825.
. . . now has a population of 37,069.
Nestled on the banks of the Spoon River in the middle of Fulton County, Bernadotte is a favorite stop on the Spoon River Valley Scenic Drive, attracting large numbers of vendors and visitors during the two Fall Festival weekends. Bernadotte was the once the site of a mill dam. The present dam, visible from the public park near the café, was built as part of the water system for WWII era Camp Ellis, whose construction leveled the original town.
The pools and riffles below the dam make this a popular fishing spot. A special treat in summer is the large number of hummingbirds visible from the café and at nearby Hummingbird Haven, a private property which hosts bird-banding and educational events each year. The public park offers a pavilion and playground equipment.
Travel services in Bernadotte consist only of the café.
In 2008, Bernadotte’s Iron Bridge was designated one of the state’s “10 Most Endangered Historic Places” by Landmarks Illinois. Efforts are underway to save the historic dam and bridge, and donations can be sent to the Bernadotte Historical Society, PO Box 314, Ipava, IL 61441 (309-338-4449).