The North Alton Godfrey Business Council (NAGBC) invited Benjamin Godfrey and 4 of his friends to kick-off the fundraising campaign of the Benjamin Godfrey Legacy Trail project on Thursday, October 13th at Ahlemeyer Atrium, Lewis and Clark College. The Trail Project highlights the life and entrepreneurial spirit of Benjamin Godfrey and ties it to the historical significance of Alton and Godfrey, Illinois.

“It was a magical evening,” exclaimed Zeke Jabusch, NAGBC President. “The actors took us back in time on the very site where Godfrey founded the Monticello Female Seminary (LCCC).”

The $50 per plate period event featured a theatrical portrayal, “A Night with Benjamin Godfrey and Friends” to place the proper historical The kick-off event treated a full house to an extraordinary festive 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.

gillman-godfreyDonor funding for the $65,000 goal supports these intended purposes:

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,

4) and to add yet another significant tourism piece to the historical mix of the region.

lovejoy-godfreyThose wishing to contribute to the project are encouraged to: 1) send a check made payable to EE Foundation – Benjamin Godfrey Trail, PO Box 306, Godfrey, IL 62035; or 2) 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 3rd and 4th graders – supplemented by a children’s book illustrating and telling the story of this visionary.

imageThe foundation of these informational elements will be permanent markers identifying 1) the Godfrey and Gilman Warehouse, 2) St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 3) the Godfrey and Gilman homes and 4) the Alton and Sangamon Railroad Freight Station in Alton; in Godfrey – 5) the Godfrey Mansion, 6) the Godfrey Cemetery, 7) the Benjamin Godfrey Chapel, 8) Monticello Female Seminary (now Lewis and Clark College) and finally 8) 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 worthy 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 creative and talented Alton High School illustrators and Confluence Business Advisors a local consulting firm who is producing events and videos for the project.

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