Fort Jefferson Memorial Cross, Wickliffe

#675 of 890 in Things to do in Kentucky
Monument · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
Spectacular View of the Confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers in Wickliffe, Kentucky. View three states from this 95-foot memorial that stands high upon a bluff. Site coordinates: 36 deg. 57' 18.79 N, 89 deg. 05' 28.21 W

The story of the Cross begins in 1937 when a few members of a community choir erected a small wooden cross on a hill overlooking the Ohio River at Wickliffe Mounds (formerly Ancient Buried City) in Wickliffe, KY. In 1951, a 35 foot pole with cross arms replaced the smaller cross. It was lit during Easter and Christmas for all to see.

In 1984, an idea was born to build a cross tall enough to be seen from the tri-states of Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky. In 1989 a 2 acre tract, along the highest point of the river, was chosen as the new site. After area resident’s submitted names, Fort Jefferson Memorial Cross at the Confluence was selected because of it's location at the , the idea of flowing together the citizens of the tri-states to support construction, so the Cross would be used to honor the memory of loved ones.

At the first official meeting, in March of 1990, a board of directors was selected. In 1991 the design and materials for the project were finalized. Soil borings were taken and it was determined that the site would support a 90+foot freestanding Cross.

A fund raising goal of $150,000 was set. In February of 1992, the project had raised $21,762. Inscribed bricks could be purchased in honor or in memory of special people and loved ones. Easter, 1992, marked the kick-off date for this major fund raiser. By December 1993, $56,677 had been raised. A ground breaking ceremony was held on May 2, 1994.

The project was split into two phases. Phase 1 would be the construction of the brick foundation with a deck surrounding it. Phase 2 would be construction of the 90-foot cross. The first bricks in the foundation were laid in March of 1995. The cross itself was completed in April of 1999. As each year passed, the cost of materials increased. What started as a $150,000 project quickly became a $300,000 project. Finally, on August 29, 2002, the board made the final payment on the bank note and all bills had been paid. By this time, a total of$316,405 had been raised.

By the spring of 201 0, over 1,400 bricks have been laid at the base and surrounding the Cross. The Cross is used for many purposes, including weddings, memorial services, candle light services on September 11 and revivals. A special event is the annual Easter Sunrise Service.

Currently, bricks are sold for $125 each. Donations "in honor" or "in memory" of loved ones help defray the costs of maintenance. There is also a secure box at the site for donations.
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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
13 reviews
  • It is a beautiful stop with a 90' cross and a paved walking trail. Benches along the river let you enjoy the view for as long as you need. Very peacful. Great spot to eat lunch and enjoy the area.  more »
  • Coming from St Louis, we stopped here as the 1937 1 mile long Cairo Ohio River Bridge has reopened, if only one lane. This 90' high cross built in 2000 for $316,000 is visible from IL, MO, and KY...  more »
  • Good place that sets over the missippi and Ohio rivers. You can see across the river and it's beautiful. Most of the time is logged with teenagers drinking and smoking.
  • Great little walking trail by the river. I'm not christian so I could do without the cross but whatevs.

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