The interior appearance of Fort de Chartres State Historic Site has changed! The Fort’s interior Ghosting deconstruction project is complete and the interpretive Ghosting structures, for now, are a bittersweet memory, but the project itself is much more. It is an accomplishment by those who love and are dedicated to Fort de Chartres -a very visible step of major support by Fort volunteers, led by Les Amis du Fort de Chartres, to safeguard, repair, and develop the site for the future.
Last month, Les Amis du Fort de Chartres members met with local government and county commissioners seeking assistance for funding or other sourcing avenues to pursue the removal of the decaying Fort de Chartres Historic Site’s Ghosting structures originally built in the late 1980’s. After almost 30 years, many of the framing timbers of these interpretive structures which outlined the site’s East Barracks & Government House, were rotted and needed to be removed to their platform base, especially as the Fort’s busy special event season was fast approaching. The Fort’s oversight agency, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA), was unable to fund the necessary removal of the Ghostings due to the Illinois state budget impasse. The agency provided Les Amis with a demolition plan and the organization approached some local contractors for bids and support.
Ron Stork, of Ron’s Construction Services, Inc. of Sparta, agreed to work with Les Amis on this project, offered Les Amis an extremely generous bid, and accepted a proposed payment plan so that this time-sensitive project could be executed. We thank the City of Prairie du Rocher for responding to our request for assistance by donating $100 and a generous donation of $1000 from the Society of Colonial Wars was also received and used towards funding this project. The support of these organizations for this important project is appreciated. Les Amis hopes community support will continue through the many other plans advocating for Fort de Chartres, recognizing its importance to our surrounding communities’ history and, through its tourism dollars, economic health. Ron Stork and his employees deconstructed the Ghostings’ beams on April 17, 2017, and the lumber was left on site and removed later that week by a small volunteer team led by Les Amis president, Jennifer Duensing, and a state seasonal employee. The lumber was removed to the site’s maintenance area, where salvageable lumber will be stored and used for future Fort repair projects. The remaining unusable lumber is to be burned. Les Amis du Fort de Chartres thanks everyone for their continued support and understanding of these changes. Together, with the other invaluable Fort de Chartres volunteer organizations, we are working to keep the site moving forward into the future, continuing to safeguard the region’s history, and promoting the positive economic impact of a thriving historic site on the surrounding communities!
To contact Les Amis du Fort de Chartres by phone, leave a message at the Fort de Chartres State Historic Site at (618)284-7230, or email at lesamisdufortdechartres@gmail. Follow Les Amis on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Les-Amis-du-Fort-de-Chartres.