The 11-story Bald Knob Cross of Peace that's among southern Illinois' most popular — and certainly the tallest — landmarks is ready for its formal debut after a makeover.
A three-year restoration of the cross near tiny Alto Pass, about 130 miles southwest of St. Louis, officially ends Saturday with a ceremonial lighting, just in time for the Christmas holiday.
The rehab was funded with $550,000 in small donations despite tough economic times and an unsuccessful lawsuit filed by an atheist to have some state funding given back.
The cross' white porcelain panels that fell into disrepair over the decades have been replaced, along with the electrical system. Security cameras have been added, and an elevated lighting system replaces a ground-level one that was prone to vandalism.