All IDNR Sites received a memo/email on 11/18/2020 from the Governor’s Office announcing the issuing of Tier 3 Mitigations for the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic for the State of Illinois. Accordingly, per that Directive, at 12:01 am Friday, 11/20/2020 several mitigation measures were implemented for state sites. The new mitigation changes for IDNR involve the closing of the State Museum and indoor historic sites.
The part of the memo sent, and instructions given to me, that directly affect this site (Fort de Chartres), is the closing of all indoor Historic Sites to the Public until further notice. The site grounds will remain open from sunrise to sunset for visitors to explore the outside grounds and buildings. The Museum and any inside building displays will be closed until further notice. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. I will update when I can if any new information becomes available.
Thanks for your understanding and sending best wishes for the holidays.
Fort de Chartres, Fort Kaskaskia, Pierre Menard Home,
Kaskaskia Bell Memorial, Governor Bond Memorial
Social distancing and masks are still required for larger groups or when in close quarters.
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.
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.
50th 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, June 5 & 6, 2021
Les Amis du Fort de Chartres announces the postponed celebrations of the 300th Anniversary of Fort de Chartres and 50 Years of Rendezvous during the 51st Annual Fort de Chartres Rendezvous, June 5 & 6, 2021. Currently, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources State Parks and Historic Sites are following the state’s Phase 4 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 cancellation of the remainder of Fort 2020 events. With the state and region’s recent spike of Covid-19 pandemic cases, it is uncertain when the state will transition into the next and final site opening phase which will have no restrictions for site events and gatherings.
Fort de Chartres State Historic Site’s annual Rendezvous, is the largest gathering of its kind anywhere in the Midwest. The event attracts many thousands to the site during this two-day special event. This annual event is presented by Les Coureurs des Bois de Fort de Chartres and sponsored by Les Amis du Fort de Chartres. The Annual Fort de Chartres Rendezvous is made possible through the dedication of the Fort’s many volunteers and support organizations and through donations by businesses and individuals in our surrounding communities. All event funds raised this year thus far will be used to plan and present Fort events in 2021, once the state of Illinois enters Phase 5 status. We understand this has been a challenging and disappointing year for events at Fort de Chartres, but the health and safety of our visitors and participants is our top priority. The event will be expanded next year, in celebration of its 2020 golden anniversary and in recognition of the 300th anniversary of the first Fort de Chartres.
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.
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 Fort de Chartres Capital Project Repair Giving Campaign begins this January 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 12 & 13, 2020.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 50th 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 Fort de Chartres Capital Project Repair Giving Campaign or the 50th 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 Capital Project Giving Campaign in honor of the 300th Anniversary of the first Fort de Chartres:
$10,000 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
Under $50-Anne Brewster, John Hunt, Diana Mueller, Anna Poling, Tiffany Woods
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.
Please note: Fort de Chartres State Historic Site is now re-open to the public after months of closure due to the closing of the Prairie du Rocher flood gates and area flooding. We welcome visitors return to the site and look forward to our Fall Special Events at Fort de Chartres! For more information about scheduled Special Events, please view the event information at the bottom of this page or visit the event page of this website or our Facebook Special Events listings.
We thank the Levee Commissioners, federal, state and local governments and agencies, and area residents and businesses for their hard work protecting this historic area.
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.
FORT DE CHARTRES 2020 SCHEDULE OF SPECIAL EVENTS
Colonial Trade Faire and Musket & Rifle Frolic at FdC- April 4-April 5-Cancelled
Kids’ Day at FdC-May 2 Cancelled
French Colonial Gardens Driving Tour-June 14 Cancelled
50th Annual Fort de Chartres Rendezvous at FdC-Cancelled
Cannon Firing Demonstration at FdC-Cancelled
Friends of the Fort Summer Ball-Cancelled
Annual FdC French & Indian War Encampment at FdC-October 10 & 11 Cancelled
Fort de Chartres Winter Rendezvous at FdC-November 7 & 8 Cancelled
Prairie du Rocher La Guianne at FdC-December 31Cancelled
2021 SCHEDULE OF SPECIAL EVENTS
Colonial Trade Faire and Musket & Rifle Frolic at FdC-April 3-April 4
Kids’ Day at FdC-May 1
51st Annual Fort de Chartres June Rendezvous at FdC-June 5 & 6
Cannon Firing Demonstration at FdC- TBA
Friends of the Fort Summer Ball TBA
Artillery Safety School at FdC-TBA
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 Guianneat 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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