Bald Knob Cross
, completed in 1963, is a large white cross located in Alto Pass
. The structure is tall and is visible, when lit at night, over an area of . The base of the cross is made of Illinois marble and the upper portion is covered by reinforced steel porcelain panels. The cross can withstand winds of up to . It is hollow, and visitors were originally able to go to the top. This was discontinued at some point before 1982, probably due to insurance concerns about the deteriorating condition of the internal stairs.
Bald Knob Mountain was first suggested as an excellent site for a sunrise Easter
service by Wayman Presley
and Rev. William Lirely after the 1936 Easter service. The first such service was held in 1937, with 250 attendees, and has been held annually since. From 1984 to 1986 there was a Passion Play
held in conjunction with the Easter service.
After the site was acquired, the Cross was built in stages with money from various fundraisers, the most famous of which was that of Myrta Clutts and her pigs.
Flight students from Southern Illinois University
often use the cross as a landmark because it is visible from such a great distance.
In 2006, a legal dispute arose among the Board Members of the Cross. A two-year court battle ensued. All members of the organization were banned by court order from access to the grounds. During the legal wrangling, several community members led by Bill Vandergraph formed the Friends of the Cross organization to raise funds... Read More