The Cross at the Crossroads in Effingham intersects Highway 57 and 70, easily visible to passersby from the Interstate and surrounding area. At 198 feet tall and 113 feet wide, the cross, made of over 180 tons of steel looms over Effingham, easily visible by day and illuminated at night.
My family drove past the cross last year on our road trip to California. I had convinced my family, for my love of roadside attractions, to stop on our way home. They agreed but that was before we stopped along Route 66 at the Cross in Groom, Texas. My kids decided both stops were unnecessary, since they are so similar.
When my husband and I recently drove to Branson, we passed by the giant cross once again. And once again, I wanted to stop but we were on a tight schedule. On the way back to Ohio, with my husband not feeling well and sleeping in the passenger seat of our truck, I finally got my chance and pulled off the Interstate early one Sunday morning and followed the signs to the big cross.
Once you exit the Interstate, it only takes a few minutes to arrive in the parking lot of the cross, which is located in an industrial area surrounded by fields.
I arrived early so the Visitor’s Center, that is manned by volunteers, was closed. I’m told that inside, visitor’s can watch a short film that shows the construction of the cross.
Around the base of the cross are ten stations. Visitors may push a small button to hear one of the Ten Commandments and a short message. Benches are provided for visitors to sit quietly and reflect.
The giant cross was dedicated in the midst of one of the darkest days in American history, offering hope on the evening of September 16, 2001.
It doesn’t take long to stop for a visit and provides a great place to get out of the car and stretch your legs. Like I mentioned, the Visitor’s Center wasn’t open when I stopped so I was able to hit the walkway and snap some pictures and get back on the road almost before my husband realized the vehicle had stopped moving.
If you’re watching the movie, you’d need to allow yourself a bit more time, obviously.
You’ll find the Cross at the Crossroads on W. Knagge Road in Effingham, Illinois. If you’re pulling off the Interstate, just look for the signs leading the way.
While in the area, you may want to stop for lunch at the Firefly Grille.