Your Madison County is a non-for-profit organization dedicated to the betterment of all communities located in Madison County, IL. We believe that providing fair, informative and factual information to the community about the county we live and work in makes Madison County a better place to live.

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The Legend of the Piasa Bird, Alton’s Ancient Fearsome Flying Man Eater

If you travel north of Alton on the Great River Road, you might notice a strange painting gracing one of the bluffs. It’s the Piasa Bird, and according to legend, it used to fly over the Mississippi River and terrorize the locals, long before Marquette and Joliet made their journey to the area in 1673 (by the way, the two explorers were startled to see one of the ancient paintings of the terrifying creature on the bluffs!).

Pronounced “pie-a-saw,” this fearsome creature is depicted as having two white, deer-like horns, red eyes, and a snarling, bearded face. With a body the size and shape of a horse, the Piasa’s long, white fangs protruded from its lower jaw, and its huge wings delivered so much force when it flew that trees would bend. Its stubby legs possessed dagger-like talons, and its long, devilish tail wound around its scaly body three times.

You’re a Star, Madison County!

Have you ever wondered if your hometown or your favorite places in Madison County have ever hit the big time? We have, too! That’s why we’ve taken the liberty to look around and see just how famous Madison County is, and we’ve turned up quite a bit!

Check out the many appearances that the great towns in Madison County have made in pop culture!