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Buffalo Rock State Park

1300 North 27th Road Ottawa, Ottawa, Illinois 61350 USA

  • Independent
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“on the site of a former french trading post”

Buffalo Rock is said to have served the French as an early military, trading and missionary post. LaSalle and Tonty, after building Fort St. Louis on Starved Rock during the winter of 1882-1883, gathered almost 4,000 Indian warriors at the front of Buffalo Rock and formed a confederation against the Iroquois. Among the tribes in the confederation were the Miami who built their own fort on Buffalo Rock. In more recent history, Buffalo Rock was used by a religious sect for camp meetings, and later as a site for a tuberculosis sanatorium. The Crane Company of Chicago purchased Buffalo Rock in 1912 and for a period of about 16 years maintained a sanatorium for sick employees and a summer vacation ground for thousands of employees and their families. In 1927 the Crane Company moved their recreation park to a larger area, donating the original site to the state to become a park. The deed to the property was turned over to the State of Illinois on November 15, 1928, with the provision that it would become a permanent state park and that the caretaker, Robert Barnett, who was then 72 years of age, be retained in that capacity for the remainder of his lifetime as a reward for his loyal services. Three primitive camping areas exist along the trail between Buffalo Rock and Utica for open camping. Each campsite has a fire ring but no water or restroom facilities are available. Sites are accessible by walk-in or bike-in only; no vehicular access is allowed. One of the camping areas designed for youth camping has a shelter with a fireplace. No campsites can be reserved.

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  • 5 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
September 09, 2023

closed the day we stopped, little sign across in parking lot, didn't mention it on their website, closed like 3 days a month for maintenance, lucky us :(, so we went to the locks visitor center very pleasant helpful attendant to answer any questions learn about locks

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  • 13 Reviews
  • 4 Helpful
May 17, 2017
Rated 5.0

Great place well worth the stop

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Buffalo Rock State Park

1300 North 27th Road Ottawa
Ottawa, Illinois
61350 USA
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