Built in 1720 on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River, in present day Illinois, you'll find Fort De Chartes.
Cone explore the fort and see how people lived in the area centuries ago. The fort is not only home to a rich history, but also hosts several large re-enactments of colonial-era life and military action.
Fort De Chartres is considered to be the oldest standing building in Illinois. Originally built in 1720, it was rebuilt twice by the 1750s due to the flooding of the Mississippi River. The fort was originally built to protect precious metals mined by John Law's Company of the West. First built out of wood, it now stands proud and tall, and is crafted from local limestone. Once home to the seat of the government, the forst was meant to control the local Indians. The 34th and 42nd Royal Highland Regiment and the 18th Royal Irish Regiment called the fort home.
By 1772, Fort De Chartres had been battered by the roaring Mississippi River and the south wall and accompaning bastion had fallen into the roaring waves. By the 1820s, trees were growing in the walls of the fort, and locals began to take stones from the walls for their own construction. By 1900, the walls were completely gone and all that remained was a stone building that once served to house the powder magazines.
In the early 20th century, the state of Illinois acquired the ruins and designated it a State Historic Site and began lengthy restoration projects. Today, guests can tour the fully-restored fort and view what life was like so many centuries ago. There is also a wonderful museum and gift shop on site that offers details on the rich and lengthy history of the area. The summer is a prime time to visit the fort, as one of the largest and oldest rendezvous takes place to celebrate the French and Indian culture.
Fort De Chartres offers a fascinating history fulled with influences from the many countries that once controlled this area. From the Indians to the French, the British, and even Irish, the fort has had a part in it all. Don't miss an opportunity to step back in time and learn the deep rooted-history of the area at Fort De Chartres.