Bald Knob Cross of Peace – Alto Pass, Illinois - Atlas Obscura
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Alto Pass, Illinois

Bald Knob Cross of Peace

Even with its slightly risible name this colossal cross is still able to inspire awe. 

Perched on a hilltop in America’s heartland, the Bald Knob Cross of Peace spreads its massive message of goodwill amongst men over portions of three states. 

The cross was installed atop Bald Knob in 1963 with donations from a number of organizations. When it was constructed, the 111-foot tall structure was the largest cross in the Western hemisphere. The interior of the crucifix is made of reinforced concrete which is surrounded by plates of four inch steel which have been painted white. Its base is a thick cement foundation that has been sunk 20 feet into the mountaintop. When the cross is lit at night the effect is 111 vertical feet of glowing religiosity which can be seen for almost 50 miles. The cross is so large that local flight students even use it as a waypoint. While it is not quite as large as some of the world’s other mountain top religious icons, the Bald Knob Cross of Peace shines its message across a huge swath of the American landscape.  

Events are held here several times per year, including sunrise Easter service, “Blessing of the Bikes” and “Blessing of the Cars” gatherings, and a Christmas gathering.

Know Before You Go

Take Chestnut Street west out of Alto Pass to Bald Knob Road. The route can be slick in winter, so plan accordingly.