Welcome to the Fort de Chartres State Historic Site!

Located four miles west of Prairie du Rocher, Illinois, the site marks the location of the last of four successive French forts named “de Chartres.” Built in 1753 by the French during their eighteenth-century colonization of the Illinois Country, the massive stone fort was preceded by three wooden forts, with the first fort erected in 1720. Fort de Chartres served as the French seat of government and its chief military installation in Upper Louisiana from 1753 until 1765 when it was occupied by the British.  In 1763 France ceded much of its territory in North America, including what is now Illinois, to Great Britain. British troops occupied the fort from 1765 until 1772, when encroachment by the Mississippi River caused a collapse of the south wall. Subsequently, the remaining walls and buildings fell into ruin.

Today, the site features an imaginative reconstruction of portions of the fourth Fort de Chartres. The fort gate, built in the 1920s, has been remodeled several times. Portions of the fort’s walls were reconstructed on original foundations in 1989. The site was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Inside the fort are the restored powder magazine, believed to be the oldest building in Illinois, two reconstructed stone buildings, and the exposed foundations of other buildings. The powder magazine is stocked with reproduction barrels and barrel racks. A combination museum and office building, built in 1928 on the foundation of an original fort building, houses exhibits depicting the history of Fort de Chartres and the Illinois Country. The large stone Guard House, reconstructed in 1936, contains a Catholic chapel furnished in the style of the 1750s, along with a priest’s room, a gunner’s room, an officer-of-the-day room, and a guard’s room. Also on the grounds are an operating bake oven, a garden shed built of upright logs in post-on-sill construction, and a kitchen garden with raised beds of produce that would have been grown in eighteenth-century Illinois.

Recreational facilities outside the reproduced fort include a day-use area with a picnic shelter and grills.

Fort de Chartres welcomes you to the heart of French Colonial Illinois! Please visit us throughout the year, whether for a wonderful day trip through the hills of southwestern Illinois or at one of our many special events held throughout the year.

Fort de Chartres State Historic Site

1350 State Route 155

Prairie du Rocher, IL 62277

(618) 284-7230


The site is operated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. On July 1, 2017 The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency was divided into its constituents, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library and Illinois Historic Preservation, both part of the the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The state’s historic resources contribute to education, culture, and the economy include ancient burial mounds, forts, and buildings erected by settlers, and homes connected to famous Illinoisans.

Open: Year-round. Site facilities are open Thursday – Sunday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Site grounds are open from dawn – dusk every day.

Closed: Site facilities are closed on New Year’s Day, Lincoln’s Birthday, Thanksgiving, Day After Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.

Illinois Historic Preservation suggested site donation: $4 for adults, $2 for children, $10 for families.

Illinois Historic Preservation Fort de Chartres website


Upcoming Events at Fort de Chartres

Currently the Fort de Chartres State Historic Site annual special events are being sponsored by Les Amis du Fort de Chartres.

Learn how you can support Les Amis and their Fort de Chartres 2017 Special Events Giving Campaign-thank you!

DATE CHANGE Saturday, September 16 -Prairie du Rocher Arpent Run/Walk Challenge 85.5 Arpent (5K)

This event has has been moved to May 19, 2018 by the Prairie du Rocher Chamber of Commerce. Please visit the Chamber Facebook page via the link listed below.

Folks are excited about the upcoming Arpent Run/Walk to be held at the Fort on Saturday, May 19th, beginning 8 AM. Not every day do you have an opportunity to participate in a 5K run and be cheered on for going 85.5 arpents! Step back into the past for this scenic run, where you’ll be greeted by 18th century reenactors along the way. Always something fun in Prairie du Rocher and we love bringing the local community to this event at the Fort sponsored by the Prairie du Rocher Chamber of Commerce. Print off your registration form attached to this event today, or you can also get one from the PdR Chamber of Commerce website at www.visitprairiedurocher.com. Hope to see you there!

October-November Upcoming Events at Fort de Chartres

Friday thru Sunday, October 13-October 15-French & Indian War Encampment 2017 at Fort de Chartres-Fort Cavendish

For questions or information, please contact Eric Bartch at 314-608-0666, bartchforge@gmail.com. This year’s event Proudly hosted by His Majesty’s English & Allied Forces and sponsored by Les Amis du Fort de Chartres. Printable F & I event schedule.

October Art de vivre Class Basket

Sunday, October 15-Basket Making Class #3 by Trish Handel, Art de vivre Les Amis du Fort de Chartres monthly demonstration event

Back by popular demand! Learn the technique of basket weaving, an important skill in the Illinois Country in the 18th century still used today. On Sunday, October 15, Les Amis du Fort de Chartres volunteer Trish Handel will be conducting the class. Class size is limited to 10 persons, so please REGISTER HERE today! Trish’s class fee for supplies is $27.00 and students will be making a new period basket.

The class begins at 1 p.m. in the Fort’s Trading Post building and ends at 5:00 p.m with a break.

Saturday, October 21-WWII Day at Fort de Chartres

Les Amis du Fort de Chartres (The Friends of Fort de Chartres) is joining forces with the 2nd Rangers Infantry Battalion of St. Louis Inc. to sponsor and host respectively WWII Day, a living history event at Fort de Chartres, to be held Saturday, October 21st, 2017.  WW II Day is scheduled to be held from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and is free and open to the general public. The day’s activities will include staged battles, living history camps, vehicle displays, weapon demonstrations, musical entertainment, and visitor interaction with WWII living history interpreters. Updated information to follow soon!

WR Poster design by Mitch Lopata at Lopata Design

November 3 & 4-Winter Rendezvous at Fort de Chartres

More information to be posted soon. Contact the hosting organization, Les Coureurs de Bois de Fort de Chartres at lcdbdfdc1976@gmail.com. This special event is to be sponsored by Les Amis.

Web site funded and maintained by Les Amis du Fort de Chartres

Photo credits on this website: Ericha Johanning, Thang Ho Photography, Maddog Michael, Carol Kuntz, Jennifer Duensing, Carl Esperman, James Cheyenne Trambley, and Dave & Deb Horne’s Fort de Chartres Store Facebook page.

Thank you to Scott Irvin for supporting the Fort de Chartres website. The site is maintained by Les Amis du Fort de Chartres volunteers and for any website questions, please email lesamisdufortdechartres@gmail.com. All words in blue offer informational links.

Thank you to Mitch Lopata, of Lopata Design, for the donated graphic art creations for Fort de Chartres, including our new Les Amis logo.

Latest News

Eclipse solaire
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For all of you interested in watching the upcoming solar eclipse on August 21 at Fort de Chartres, Site Specialist, Dr. Todd Hamilton created a Facebook event entitled Solar Eclipse 2017, with the... Read More

Hear ye! Hear ye!
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Hear ye! Hear ye!  Illinois Bicentennial Celebration 100 Day Countdown event will begin Saturday, August 26, at the Kaskaskia Bell and the day’s events will conclude at Fort de Chartres State Historic Site!... Read More