Bald Knob Cross of Peace

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

From many an elevated spot in Southeast Missouri or Southern Illinois, you can see the Bald Knob Cross of Peace on the highest hilltop in Illinois near Alto Pass.

The 110-foot cross with its gleaming white porcelain-on-steel panels has provided a commanding view since it was completed in 1963. Now in need of repairs, a not-for-profit organization called Friends of the Cross is raising $300,000.

Earlier this month the group held a fundraising five-mile walk from the cross on Bald Knob to Alto Pass, adding $11,000 for repairs and bringing the total raised to well over half the goal.

Bald Knob has been the site of Easter sunrise services since 1936, and it is a popular destination for visitors to the Shawnee National Forest and Southern Illinois wineries and orchards.

Friends of the Cross now hope to complete the fundraising effort by soliciting donations from businesses. E.T. Simonds Construction of Carbondale, Ill., has pledged to match business donations of up to $50,000. The Rev. Bill Vandergraph, pastor of the Full Gospel Pentecostal Church in Alto Pass, is founder of the fundraising organization.

Anyone who is interested in helping with the Bald Knob Cross of Peace restoration project is encouraged to contribute.

Anyone who hasn't visited the cross would likely find the trip both interesting and inspirational. To get there, take Highway 127 north toward Alto Pass and watch for the signs.

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