Visitors are welcomed to explore the site of the most important French fortification in Illinois. Built in the 1750s, Fort de Chartres served as France’s headquarters in the Illinois Country. The area’s rich farmland produced much of the grain that fed towns on the lower Mississippi River. France surrendered Fort de Chartres to the British in 1763 under the Treaty of Paris. Before the French, British, and American settlers arrived in present-day Illinois, the American Bottom was long inhabited by native tribes.

Fort de Chartres, located in the American Bottom, was built in the 1750s and served as France’s headquarters in the Illinois Country. Located today within the Fort de Chartres State Historic Site is a partially reconstructed massive stone fort. The site was declared a national historic landmark in 1960. The fort’s powder magazine is the oldest building in Illinois.

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.

For site information call (618) 284-7230.