Discover the 300-year-old Fort de Chartres

Despite what my children believe, I was not alive when Fort Chartres was built in Illinois. But, this 300 year old fort is now on my list of things to do in Illinois and you might want to consider it as well.

I’ve seen Only In Your State tell a story about it and I have to admit it has never been on my radar … until now. This led me to a YouTube search where a guy shared his visit to Fort de Chartres and also some of the incredible 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 served as the administrative center for the province. Usually due to the flooding of the rivers, the fort was rebuilt twice, the last time in limestone in the 1750s during the time of French colonial control over Louisiana and the country of Illinois.

As you can see there is a remarkable amount of the structure still intact.

The official Fort de Chartres website gives some essential details if you think you might like to visit this place as well:

The Fort de Chartres-Site park is open from sunrise to sunset, 7 days a week. The museum and exhibition buildings are generally open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm, depending on staff availability, closed all holidays. Self-guided site tours only (unless special arrangements are made by Fort’s support organizations with appropriate notice for staff to be available).

I wonder if I would be the first person to visit Fort de Chartres disguised as Captain Jack Sparrow? I don’t know how many pirates made their way up the Mississippi in the 1700s, but it’s a fascinating time in southwest Illinois history that still has vestiges that you can visit today.

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