Piatt County boulder

Pictured here is one of many boulders left in Piatt County by retreating glaciers.This one was found on the Lieb farm in rural Monticello.

PIATT COUNTY — As the first signs of Autumn begin to appear, take some time to explore historic Piatt County. Piatt County measures around 451 square miles and is divided into eight townships, with Monticello Township as the county seat. The physical features of this county were formed by the Ice Age Glaciers.

Throughout the county are creeks and ditches that drain into the Sangamon River which flows right by Monticello on it’s way to the Mighty Mississippi. Piatt County has primarily been agricultural since pioneer days. The rich soil was a farmers dream. However, farmers were not pleased with the erratics in their fields. Erratics are rocks that traveled on the melting front of the glacier as it moved forward depositing rocks of all sizes on its way. The largest rocks were called boulders.

Those boulders are often used as monuments in a courthouse square, park, or to mark a historical area. Pictured is a large boulder that was found in a field on the Josh and Jake Lieb farm. It was featured in the 2005 museum Barn Tour. Two smaller boulders may be seen along the Liebs fence line where their bison are pastured.

You may have thought of Illinois as very flat. But if you drive south past the Lieb farm, you are driving on a ridge which was formed when a glacier carried rocks, clay, and other materials and deposited it at the end of the melting ice. After many years the accumulation of material eventually created the ridge called a moraine. The Crossroads Church is located on the moraine.

Another example of a moraine is on the drive south of Cisco. You will cross the Sangamon River and continue on into Cerro Gordo which is located on another Ice Age moraine.

Another interesting Ice Age creation is located on the north side of Monticello Road just east of the Piatt County line. There is a cone shaped hill on which are several trees and one building. That glacial hill is called a kame. A kame was formed by gravel and sand that was carried by streams of melting water which flowed and deposited the sediment into a hole in the ice glacial. The glacial melted, and the hill remains as natures memorial to the Ice Age that covered this part of Illinois many years ago.

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