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to confirm any data on events etc. go to one of the links below as it is a home site for the cross mine is done for family members who were associated with the cross.

updated May 30,2010

Made a trip to the top of Bald Knob Mountain and took a couple new pics of the restoration process.. The Cross has been stripped of tiles and frame cleaned repaired and painted. cement foundation poured and ready to receive the new tiles which have been ordered. Project hope to be completed by some time in September.. Looks so pretty up there. now more tourist can enjoy the ride to the top of the mountain again. also place to reflect and just enjoy the view.


There is man from up state illinois threatening to sue over a grant received three years ago to help with Restoration of the cross. Claims it is unconstitutional. will see how that one goes.. ..

on to the pictures of the cross today... also the new secutiry on site is great now it will stop the needless vandalizm of the cross and the grounds. Also want to acknowledge the super job the grounds keeper is doing it has never looked so nice up there. BEAUTIFUL AGAIN..

Bald Knob Cross of Peace

There is a new group called Friends of Bald Knob Cross who are working together to collect donations and use the money to restore the cross.. They hope to gain hundreds of members with the goal of saving the cross..

If you wish to make a donation. please send it to this address

Bald Knob Cross of Peace Org.

P.O. Box 35

Alto Pass,Il 62905


Friends of the Cross,

P.O. Box 81,

Alto Pass IL 62905.

Friends of the cross now have a web page..

As of Dec 2008 the legal battle is finally over.

There is a new group going to manage the cross and over see the operations of the cross and repair.

I for one am very pleased to see an end to the two year battle that should never have happened.. but now it is time for all to look forward to the restoration of one of the counties most beautiful spots... If you have ever gone to the top of the mountain the view is breath taking . It is like a short cut to heaven.. I used to love going up there and just sitting and taking in the view till the cross started falling apart from lack of care. Made me sad . felt like the place was dying and no one cared , the fueding made it like a battle field and the meaning of the place was lost to war...

Now one and all do what you can to help with the restoration of the Cross and getting the place where it is open again and activities resume. It is a wonderful place to go on a warm summer day..

Here is a site to see what is going on now with the cross..

The Blessing of the bikes 2010

Is held on the last Sunday in the month of April

Easter sunrise service

Each year there is a sunrise service on top of Bald Knob Mountain.. Pre service starts about 5:30 a.m. then service at 6 a.m. 6:00 call to worship. service lasts till 7 a.m.

Several panels are now off of the cross..

but since the legal stuff is well behind now the restoration can start.

keep watching for more updates as I hear of them, or go to .

Here are a couple shots taken this month (March 07- 08) on my trip to the top of the Mountain.

You can see the places that are about to fall off next ... water has been draining inside and out of the bottom of the cross.. The tiles are stained and look horrible...





IN THE BEGINNING: The Story of the Cross Of Peace. The inspiration for the permanent Cross on Bald Knob dates back to 1936. It started with Wayman Presley and W. H. Lirely walking about and talking of a place where all denominations and beliefs could come and meet occasionally for combined worship.
The two men had their attention drawn to Bald Knob mountain. Fron the first Easter Sunrise Service in 1937, where 250 people attended to todays service which draws many hundreds.


You will see pictures of Myrta Clutts. aka the Pig Lady to those who know the full story of the Bald Knob Cross of Peace. Located in Alto Pass, Illinois. see map below.

Directions: Bald Knob is located between interstate24,55, and 57 in Southern Il. From Illinois 127 at Alto Pass, Il. take exit for Bald Knob. Then follow the signs for 4 miles to Bald Knob Cross . the last four miles are a scenic widerness. Drive carefully and enjoy the view. The road to the top is paved and nice to travel on.

Myrta had an old sow who had a very large litter of pigs and could not take care of them alone.. the family dog who lost her litter of pups took over nursing half the pigs. Here is a picture of the momma sow and her brude.

the doggie has the other half of the litter with her.

When the pigs were weaned they were sent out to local farms to be raised till they were grown and be taken to market. Some of the profits from the sale of the pigs went to the cross fund to pay for the construction of the cross.

Here is a picture of Myrta at the cross making apple butter for one of the many events they hold up there to raise funds to keep the cross going. Myrta as well as the rest of the founding members of the cross are now deceased.

Here is Myrta stiring some apple butter at one of the functions .

Myrta was on the This is Your Life show with Ralph Edwards. They did a show on Wayman Presley. He was a mail man who had the vision for the cross.




Breathtaking scenery from the top of Bald knob.

just a sample of what you can see from the top of the Bald knob mountain

This is a picture of the cross from the road that leads to the cross. The cross is about 5 miles across country from here. The road to the cross is all black top and in good shape. It has many hills and turns but the trip up the 4 mile road is worth the drive. On the way up to the top you will see some homes where people have taken up residence. There is an orchard on the way , a horse stable and cabins.( It is up for sale) I noticed the last time I made a trip to the top of the hill the ranch house had burned....... what a shame as it was a really pretty place



or something to sit on.

Bald Knob Hideaway...

New cabins is under construction just below the hill from the cross. The coffee shop and gift center is open now .. The owner is Barbara Casey 

click above link for her site.

Last update Jan.19, 2009

Below is the full history of Bald Knob Cross of Peace .



The idea of using Bald Knob, the little, round-top, 1,034-foot high mountain near Alto Pass , Illinois, as a place for worship, originated in t 1936 when Wayman Presley, a rural letter carrier at Makanda, Illinois, and Rev William Lirely, thought it would be a good place to invite people of all walks of life and beliefs to get together on Easter Mornings for a united worship service.

The idea quickly caught on making it necessary for them to purchase the 187-acre tract so that parking facilities could be enlarged. The two borrowed $10,000.00 from the Bank of Marion in Marion, Illinois and paid for the land. Presley then spent 3 years of his spare time off his mail route finding a 116 qualified people who were willing do donate $100.00 each toward payment of the loan and become a Trustee . He then formed the group into a non-profit organization knows as the Bald Knob Christian Foundation,

The two then fashioned a 40-foot cross with electric light bulbs mounted on the Forest Ranger Lookout Tower. They borrowed a farm tractor and a generator from the Giles Electric Co., in Marion. The tractor turned the generator to light the cross. It made such an impressive sight when viewed from the surrounding countryside below that it was decided that a larger cross should be built which could be seen farther.

While Presley was digging the foundation for the second cross ( it was to have been made of concrete and somewhat larger than the first one) a family from Ohio visited the mountaintop and asked him what he was doing. When told, the man enthusiastically replied: The idea for a lighted cross on this beautiful, little mountaintop here in the middle of the country is a great one. Let's make it a huge one and invite people from all over to help. Let's make it a National Project.}

Presley stopped digging and made a trip through some of the surrounding states where he found encouragement from people of all faiths and beliefs. He returned and began making plans for the great cross which stands there today. It stands above us in the clear, free sky, a fitting symbol of our united faith. he said, Around it we will center our prayers for Peace.

The estimated cost was $250,000.00. A group interested in tourist promotion offered to furnish the money but Presley turned the offer down. It would be only pretty to look at if built that way he said. But it would have no meaning. It make take me a life time to complete it but it will belong the people and be an expression of their united He raised $4,000.00 in various ways but needed another $15,000.00 with which to purchase and mail out 5 tons of literature to the General Federation of Women'sClubs inviting contributions. The group had expressed an interest. A Jewish banker in Cairo, Illinois, Mr. Barney Fischer, loaned Presley the money with practically no security. A great gesture of unity. The investment in the club literature did not pay off, however, only about $12,000.00 being received, A loss of about $7, 000.00.

About this time (1955) The Ralph Edwards TV show, THIS IS YOUR LIFE in Hollywood, California , learned of the project. Presley was invited out here under the guise of a speaking engagement and to his surprise found himself featured on the nationwide program . Edwards invite viewers to mail contributions to the bank of Cairo and more than $100,000.00 came in from every state and from some 60,000 people representing about every belief. That is exactly the way I want the cross to be , said the mail carrier. By contributions from people who give voluntarily without having been personally asked.}

The story of how the cross has been built cannot be told without an account of the part played by a farm widow, Mrs. Myrta Clutts, of Cobden, Illinois. She pledged $100.00 to help buy the land. have the money right now , she said, But I have lots of faith and know that the Lord will help me raise it. ? Shortly afterward one of her old sows farrowed 21 pigs, more than 3 times the average litter. : See how it works, there\ more than a hundred dollars of extra pigs right there . mother sow did not have enough Dinner Jugs for al the pigs so BELIEVE IT OR NOT. Myrtamongrel dog, which had lost her new-born puppies, pitched in and raised 5 of the pigs. The dog nursed them and stayed with the pigs until they were larger than she was and until there were sent to market. Old Betsy , the sow, immediately became famous. Her picture with the great litter was shown on the Hollywood TV show. Sensing the interest in the pigs , Presley took the females of the litter, built a hog barn on the widowhillside farm and started raising pigs. He gleaned corn from fields after harvest and cooked garbage from the University in Carbondale to feed them. Soon he had almost a hundred brood sows which in a short time produced over 1,500 pigs. These he distributed, in his spare time off the mail route, to farmers in the lower half of Illinois who mailed the proceeds to the cross fund when the pigs were marketed. After spending all vacation and leave-without-pay time the Post Office Department would let him have, Presley had to sell the sows and return to a steady work in order to protect his retirement status but during this 3-year period he was able to add some 30,000.00 to the cross building fund.

The REA, Dongola, Illinois, helped by running its power lines to the summit. He now had enough to begin construction. The great foundation of reinforced concrete was laid going down to bedrock. The steel framework was erected. Contributions continued to come in until the total was about $200,000.00. Forty thousand more was still needed with which to put the porcelain covering on and install the 40 powerful flood lights. In 1963 when our relations with Russia took a turn for the better, Presley thought the cross could have a good effect if known as The Cross Of Peace around which our prayers could center. With the consent of the Governing Board of the Foundation (which transacts off its business), Presley again borrowed $40,000.00 from the Bank of Marion, put the covering on and installed the lights. This loan has been repaid mostly from tours to the Holy Land by Presley Tours, Inc..

An Italian immigrant coal miner, Mr. Frank Del Conte from Johnston City, Illinois left his estate of 22,881.00 to The Cross. This has finished paying off the load and made it possible to complete the caretaker home.Work still to be done on Bald Knob at this date (1968) includes landscaping and completing the dedication room on the first floor. In it will be permanently recorded the names of those who contributed money or raised pigs to help build the cross.

For the second year\Easter service, in 1938, the boys from a nearby C.C.C. camp fashioned a crude cross from a hickory tree and placed it on the Knowl. This Cross lasted only a few years, quickly rotting.

In 1939 , a lighted cross-a string of bulbs on a wooden cross frame and powered by the generator of a farm tractor, was erected. It burned, however, only for the period of the services.

In 1945 one of Rev. Lireley's Sunday School classes fashioned three crosses from white oak, two of which came from Rev. Lirely's fathers farm and the other from the Knob itself. These were placed on the brow of the slope where the services were held.. They have been replaced by the Cobden High School Shop students.

With the availability of electric power in 1952, a forty two foot neon cross was placed on the Forest Service fire tower. It burned nightly thereafter until the framework of the permanent cross was erected and outlined in neon.

In 1980 Custodian's home and concession stand burned.

In 1981 Custodians concession stand was rebuilt.

1947- 1987- Passion Play was done- for the lack of funds it was discontinued. Took 14 years o pay off the debt for the Passion Play.

Road to the cross was finally paved, In the early 1990.

1998 Lords Pacheece Christian Motorcyclist Association donated and built a pavilion. During the blessing of the Bikes they use it for the Free Road Kill Stew and Chili they serve. This activity is the last Sunday of April each year.

2001- Addition of the new building and basement to the Welcome Center. To date there is a huge outstanding debt owed for this upgrade. This is when Problems started for the Cross.

Presely Endowment Fund, Makanda, Illinois Paid the light bill on the Cross, to keep the lights on at night.

July 2006 several board members, mostly those who have recently joined the board, have charged Treasurer, Tirzah Tweedy with mismanagement of donations made to the cross foundation, without board approval ,(board is made up of 18 members), used funds to build and pay for an addition to the Welcome Center in 2001-2002.

After two year legal battle, Tirzah requested that all current board members resign from the board and establish a seven member transitional board of directors to serve until February 2011.

She also acknowledged that she alone was responsible for the debt on the Welcome center .Also had to agree not to use Bald Knob in any way for fund raisers she had to pay off her personal debt she had for the Welcome Center,

The Friends of the Cross was organize May 25{2007. Chairman Pastor Bill Vandergraph . There are 10 members of the board of Directors. They sponsor fund raisers to help pay for the restoration of the cross. Everyone is invited to join and attend their meetings. At present the meetings are held the 4th} Tuesday at Alto Pass civic Center at 7:00 p.m. Donations can be made to the cross

Friends of the Cross

P.O. Box 81

Alto Pass , Illinois 629205

The transition board is working on the two upcoming events. The 71{st} Easter Sunrise Service and The Blessing of the Bikes.





link to Barb's bald knob site ( great site full of good stuff) read the story of the pig lady there .

link to Denny's pages .. loads of pictures from the Cross.