I'm always looking for places to decompress during lunch. Long time readers may remeber Silver Lake Park, which is one of the few things I miss from my days working in Highland, IL. For the past 3 years, I've been working in Fairview Heights, IL, which is a bit of a concrete jungle. But I have found a few interesting spots for my mid-day excursions. I thought I'd take the opportunity to expound a little. First off, St. Ellen Park, O'Fallon, IL
This park is located about 2.5 mile drive from our office, quite reasonable. It is 85 Acres, the site of the former St. Ellen Coal Mine, which operated between 1904 and 1960. The mine was owned by Perry Coal Company for most of that time, and by Peabody Coal Company during its final years. The prominent feature of this park is a large mound, maybe 50 ft high. Presumably it is built on leftover material from the mining operations. Looking at Google Earth’s historical photos, it appears the site was derelict until at least 1988, but was restored by 1998. The Park amenities (walking paths, pavilions etc) have been there since at least 2003.
There are 2 distinct trails at St. Ellen Park: A trail which leads up the mound, with a small loop (I’ll call it the Center trail), and a trail which goes around the mound. (I’ll call it the Loop Trail) See photo:.
For more images from the park: