Prospect Cemetery Prairie Nature Preserve

County: Ford
Ownership: Paxton Township Cemetery Association
Dedication: October 1976
Size: 5 Acres
Steward: Bob Reber

Located in the Grand Prairie Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division, Prospect Cemetery Prairie is a 5 acre cemetery with a remnant mesic black soil prairie and black oak grove. Created in 1859, Prospect Cemetery was the first cemetery in Ford County. Burials continued until 1914 and possibly later, but no burial records have been located.

The preserve has a natural appearance in the southern third of the site, where the high quality prairie reflects presettlement conditions. Nearly 80 species of native herbaceous forbs and grasses have been identified, of which 21 occur nowhere else in the county. A few of these unusual plants include yellow star-grass, green milkweed, cream wild indigo, prairie gentian, and prairie blazingstar. Common species include big bluestem, indian grass, little bluestem, and prairie dropseed.

How to get there: From Champaign take US 45 north past Rantoul. Just inside the Paxton city limits at the welcome sign, turn right on Green Street. Take this to the T and turn right. The preserve is on the left and there is an iron entrance gate with a mowed spot to park.

Please note: This is an Illinois State Nature Preserve, and use is limited to walking, birding, and photography. Camping, picnicking, littering, pets, and vehicles are not allowed inside the preserve. All plants, animals, birds, and insects are protected, so do not disturb or remove any natural objects including rocks, plants, seeds, or insects.

Complete list of sites we help protect