As the State of Illinois has reached Stage 5 of its COVID-19 reopening plan, Shawn Chesnek, Site Superintendent of Fort de Chartres State Historic Site, Fort Kaskaskia State Park, The Pierre Menard Home, The Kaskaskia Bell Memorial, and the General Bond Memorial, announced the following Illinois Department of Natural Resources site status updates on June 15, 2021:
Fort de Chartres-Site grounds are open from sunrise to sunset, 7 days a week. The Museum and display buildings are typically open Tuesday thru Sunday 9:00 am to 4:30 pm, depending on staff availability, closed all holidays. Site self-guided tours only (unless special arrangements are made through Fort support organizations with proper advance notice for staff to be available). Shelter availability is first come first serve. Office phone number for further information is 618-284-7230. Additionally, the rear gate house upper area is now open officially to the public. Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the site’s oversight agency, repaired the beam in the Land Gate roof last April. All signs and barriers have been removed and the area has been powerwashed and best cleaned as possible.
Fort Kaskaskia State Park-The site is open sunrise to sunset on all day use, the area’s campground is open 24-7 for camping with quiet hours from 10pm to 7am. There is normally a host on duty on the weekends but there is also an Iron Host self-check in station. Campsites are currently walk-in only on a first come first serve basis. A reservation process is scheduled to be implemented in the future and an announcement will be made once it is available. Shelters can be reserved currently by contacting site office. Office phone number for further information is 618-859-3741.
The Pierre Menard Home-Site will be closed until further notice due to staff shortages.Office phone number for further information is 618-859-3741.
The Kaskaskia Bell Memorial-Open from sunrise to sunset daily. Self-guided tours only. Office phone number for further information is 618-859-3741.
The Governor Bond Memorial-Open from sunrise to sunset daily. Self-guided tours only. Office phone number for further information 618-859-3741.
All Illinoisans impacted by a cancellation or closure are encouraged to call the IDNR’s Parks Administrative Information Line Monday – Friday at 217-782-6752. A complete listing of state sites can be found on the IDNR website at https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/Parks/Pages/default.aspx or https://www2.illinois.gov/…/Experi…/Sites/Pages/Default.aspx.
WELCOME TO 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.
Contact Information for the Fort de Chartres State Historic Site
1350 State Route 155
Prairie du Rocher, IL 62277
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 Wednesday – 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.
For additional Fort de Chartres State Historic Site and staff information, please visit the Contact Us page on this website.
Fort de Chartres Special Events and Projects/Campaigns Updates
Fort de Chartres Colonial Trade Faire and Musket & Rifle Frolic, April 10 & 11, 2021 & Kids’ Day, May 1, 2021 Cancellation Announcement
Due to the current Illinois Department of Natural Resources State Park and Historic Site Current State COVID-19 Tier 2 Mitigation, Les Amis du Fort de Chartres announces the cancellation of the Fort de Chartres Colonial Trade Faire and Musket & Rifle Frolic, April 10 & 11, 2021 and Kids’ Day, May 1, 2021. The Colonial Trade Faire is an annually held juried event at Fort de Chartres State Historic Site sponsored by Les Amis du Fort de Chartres, hosted by the Kaskaskia Company, and features historic interpreters/reenactors, shooting matches, and period games, with reproduction period goods sold by craftpersons and merchants. Kids’ Day at Fort de Chartres State Historic Site is an annually held family event sponsored by Les Amis du Fort de Chartres featuring 18th century games, contests and crafts for children, offered free to the general public.
Event status of each of the upcoming scheduled annual Fort de Chartres events will be determined as the year progresses and the state’s COVID-19 mitigation policies are reviewed. Further press releases will be released at that time. For more information on COVID-19, visit the IDPH website at http://www.dph.illinois.gov/. You may also contact the IDPH at DPH.SICK@Illinois.gov or call the COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-889-3931.
51st ANNUAL FORT DE CHARTRES RENDEZVOUS UPDATE
Les Amis du Fort de Chartres will recognize the 300th anniversary of historic Fort de Chartres and 50 years of the Annual Rendezvous at Fort de Chartres next year during the Fort’s 51st Annual Rendezvous, September 11 & 12, 2021
Les Amis du Fort de Chartres will be recognizing the 300th anniversary of historic Fort de Chartres and 50 years of the Annual Rendezvous at Fort de Chartres this year during the Fort’s51st Annual Rendezvous, originally scheduled for June 5 & 6, 2021 now rescheduled to be held September 11 & 12, 2021. Currently, Illinois Department of Natural Resources State Parks and Historic Sites are following the state’s Tier 2 guidelines, which allow for groups of only 50 persons or less on site. Due to these restrictions, Les Amis du Fort de Chartres announces the postponement of the much anticipated Fort de Chartres Annual Rendezvous to the announced September dates. Although the postponement may be a disappointment, an event of this size and importance requires months of planning and volunteer effort. It has been decided by the Fort de Chartres Rendezvous Committee and Les Amis du Fort de Chartres to postpone this event to fit the potential easing of the site’s current COVID restrictions.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during the pandemic health crisis. Les Amis offers our best wishes for everyone’s continued health and safety and we look forward to seeing you all in 2021!
For a list of event donors, please visit the Donate page of this website.
Les Amis du Fort de Chartres,
PO Box 366, Prairie du Rocher, IL 62277
501(c) (3) not for profit organization501
To learn more about the 300 year-old history of Fort de Chartres, please read Dave Horne’s article-Happy 300th Birthday, Fort de Chartres!.
Celebrating the 300th Anniversary of Fort de Chartres
2020 heralds the 300th anniversary of the first of the four Fort de Chartres structures built and located in the strategic Mississippi River bottomland of Le Pays des Illinois. This first Fort, built of wooden palisades, signaled the creation a new center of French colonial government in Illinois. First occupied by the French in 1720, the Fort became the nucleus of French civil and military government, as well as an economic center in the Illinois country and the French Louisiana area during the eighteenth-century.
In celebration of this milestone anniversary and the important history it represents, Les Amis du Fort de Chartres commences a $100,000 Capital Project Repair Giving Campaign for the Fort de Chartres State Historic Site in 2020. Funds raised for this campaign would go toward the much needed repairs at Fort de Chartres State Historic Site, located in Prairie du Rocher, IL, with a focus on the Fort’s Land Gate which is need of considerable repair. Les Amis du Fort de Chartres $100,000 Capital Project Repair Campaign at Fort de Chartres has been approved by the site’s oversight agency, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
The 2020-2021 Fort de Chartres Capital Project Repair Giving Campaign began January, 2020 and a related 300th Anniversary special ceremony is to be held at the annual Fort de Chartres Rendezvous, celebrating its golden anniversary on the rescheduled date of September 11 & 12, 2021.The 300th Anniversary ceremony invitations have been sent to dignitaries, campaign donors, and other supporters across the state and nation. Fort de Chartres State Historic Site’s 51st Annual Rendezvous, the largest gathering of its kind anywhere in the Midwest, attracts many thousands to the site during this two-day special event. The event will be expanded this year, in celebration of its golden anniversary.
A major public relations campaign for the event is being coordinated with Illinois South Tourism, the marketing arm for 22 counties across the state of Illinois. Join us as we celebrate the Fort de Chartres 300th anniversary milestone!
If you would like to contribute to the 2020-2021 Fort de Chartres Capital Project Repair Giving Campaign or the 51st Annual Fort de Chartres Rendezvous, you can click on the above logos for the PayPal donation links. If you would like to donate by mail, please make a notation on the check to either 50th/300th Event or Repair Campaign, then mail to Les Amis du Fort de Chartres, PO Box 366, Prairie du Rocher, IL 62277.
Thank you for your support in celebrating the 300th Anniversary of Fort de Chartres!
Thank you to the following donors for their support of our 2020-2021 Capital Project Giving Campaign in honor of the 300th Anniversary of the first Fort de Chartres:
$15,828 Pledge-Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Illinois
$1000-Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Missouri
$1320-300th T-Shirts Sales
$720 300th Souvenir Mugs
$300 Vicki Kehrer
$200 Margaret Brown
$100 Gary Henson, James & Merrill Hill
Under $50-Austen Boettcher, Anne Brewster, KIm Craft, Susan Fletcher, Jason Griffith, Susan Hezel, Patty Humphreys, John Hunt, Jason Johnsrud, Jane Knapp, Diana Mueller, Anna Poling, Kelley Schearf, Mardell Sibley, A .P. Woods,Tiffany Woods, Roger Yoakum
Les Amis du Fort de Chartres Heart of Illinois Country Artisan Shop purchase proceeds befitting the
Capital Project Giving Campaign in honor of the 300th Anniversary of the first Fort de Chartres
300th Anniversary T-Shirts $520
300th Anniversary Mugs $1485
300th Campaign Souvenirs/ HoIC Shop Sales September-December, 2021 $2692
Merci to all who support our Capital Project Campaign at Fort de Chartres State Historic Site!
Fort de Chartres, The Heart of the Illinois Country website, is funded and maintained by Les Amis du Fort de Chartres.
Les Amis was an officially endorsed partner of the 2018 Illinois Bicentennial Commission.
Currently the Fort de Chartres State Historic Site annual special events are being sponsored by Les Amis du Fort de Chartres.
2021 SCHEDULE OF SPECIAL EVENTS
Colonial Trade Faire and Musket & Rifle Frolic at FdC-April 3-April 4 Cancelled
Kids’ Day at FdC-May 1 Cancelled
Cannon Firing Demonstration at FdC- TBA
Artillery Safety School at FdC-TBA
51st Annual Fort de Chartres June Rendezvous at FdC-September 11 & 12
Annual FdC French & Indian War Encampment at FdC-October 9 & 10
Fort de Chartres Winter Rendezvous at FdC-November 6 & 7
Prairie du Rocher La Guiannee FdC-December 31
French Colonial Fort de Chartres, A Journey in Time
Les Amis du Fort de Chartres’ new line art book publication by author & artist Tom Willcockson is now available. The French Colonial Fort de Chartres, A Journey in Time publication was made possible through the support of the members of Les Amis du Fort de Chartres, the general public, and through the Illinois Humanities Council “Forgotten Illinois” grant award.
Show your support of this educational project by ordering your copy. Merci!
2020 Special Events Schedule is available on the Events page of this website!
For other regional information:
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 email@example.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 Special Events, including our new Les Amis logo.
Les Amis has some wonderful 300th Capital Project Campaign grant news! As most of you remember, early in 2020, Les Amis du Fort de Chartres asked permission from IDNR to begin a fundraising... Read More
In this season of thankfulness, Les Amis du Fort de Chartres is happy to report that during the recent Winter Rendezvous, an additional $1000 was raised for the Chapel Renovation Project with... Read More