Fort de Chartres Winter Rendezvous - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Fort de Chartres Winter Rendezvous

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PRAIRIE du ROCHER -- You'll find living history at the annual Fort de Chartres Winter Rendezvous November 4th and 5th.

The massive limestone walls of the fort and the tents and tipi set up on the grounds, the Winter Rendezvous is a time reenactors, historians, and vendors bring Fort de Chartres back to life.

"From everywhere. All walks of life," said Jean Oakley, a reenator and one of the Rendezvous organizers. "They all portray a different genre of history."

The hope is to share the history of the fort and pass the story down to future generations.

"I want my grand kids to know about. I've been doing this since I was small," explained Oakley. "I want them to know about the history and the way it was back in the 18th century and teach everyone the importance of it."

The history of the fort started in 1720 with the French building several early forts near the location. The reconstructed fort seen today, is built on the foundation of a fourth fort, built of stone in 1753.

"The Illinois Country was a French settlement," said historian and vendor Bill Rudolph. "And most people don't realize how important the French were in this area."

Fort de Chartres served as the French seat of government and its chief military installation in Upper Louisiana from 1753 until 1765. From 1765 until 1772, the British occupied the fort. Eventually, one of the walls collapsed into the Mississippi River and the remaining walls and buildings fell into ruin.

The fort gate was built in the 1920s. Portions of the fort's walls were reconstructed on original foundations in 1989.

"This is the only half full stone fort. It's got the barracks. It's just incredible and it's well maintained," explained Rudolph.

Several hundred reenacters and vendors are expected for the Winter Rendezvous. Performing chores and parts of every day life, to military training drills like those that would have been performed on the grounds in the 18th century.

The Winter Rendezvous

November 4th:   Saturday 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
November 5th:   Sunday 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Admission Fee
Free and open to the public.
Family friendly event open to all ages

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