Illinois Bucket List: Exploring 300-Year-Old Fort de Chartres
Despite what my kids believe, I was not alive when Fort de Chartres was built in Illinois. But, this 300-year-old fort is now on my Illinois to-do list and you might want to consider it, too.
I saw Only In Your State share a story about this and I have to admit that it was never on my radar...until now. That led me to a YouTube search where one guy shared his visit to Fort de Chartres and also some of the amazing history of this place:
Fort de Chartres was a French fortification first built in 1720 on the east bank of the Mississippi River in present-day Illinois. It was used as an administrative center for the province. Due generally to river floods, the fort was rebuilt twice, the last time in limestone in the 1750s in the era of French colonial control over Louisiana and the Illinois Country.
As you can see, there's a remarkable amount of the structure still in tact.
The official website for Fort de Chartres gives some vital details if you think you'd like to visit this place, too:
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).
I wonder if I'd be the first person to visit Fort de Chartres dressed up as Captain Jack Sparrow? I'm not sure how many pirates came up the Mississippi back in the 1700's, but it's a fascinating era of history in southwestern Illinois that still maintains remnants you can visit today.