Piasa monster high school mascot.

The Piasa: Monstrous Mascot

Field review by the editors.

Piasa, Illinois

The town of Alton along the Mississippi River is famous for its Piasa Bird, a fearsome monster that would swoop down and eat Indians. Various paintings of the Piasa have filled the bluffs along the river, but the town got sick of repainting them and, in 1984, decided to paint its monster on a huge piece of aluminum and bolt it to a cliff. Unfortunately, Alton couldn't raise enough money for aluminum, so it used steel instead, which rusted and had to be taken down in 1995.

The neighboring town of Piasa saw opportunity in Alton's frustration. It took the 9,000-pound, 23x40-foot painting and gave it to the industrial arts students of its high school, whose sport teams call themselves The Piasa Birds. After years of work the monster was successfully restored on September 20, 2002, and its fanged, clawed, snarling presence now overlooks the school's football field.

The Piasa: Monstrous Mascot

Southwestern High School

Main St., Piasa, IL
The Piasa stands at the north end of Southwestern High School's football field, which is conveniently located next to a road. It's on the east side of Hwy 267/111 just north of its intersection with Hwy 16, about a half-hour drive north of Alton.
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In the region:
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February 22, 2020

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