Saturday, April 8, 2017

Fort Massac, Metropolis, Illinois.

The high bank overlooking the Ohio River at Metropolis drew a series of occupants to the site. Prehistoric Native Americans camped near here. In 1757, after years of intermittent use for trading purposes, the French constructed a fortification to block British expansion into the Mississippi River basin.
The fort was named in honor of the Marquis de Massiac, a French naval minister. The end of the French and Indian War in 1763 marked the fort passing into British hands. 
In 1778 as a prelude to his march on Kaskaskia, George Rogers Clark and his men landed at the mouth of Massac Creek and advanced to the fort, which they found abandoned. Under orders from President Washington, the fort was rebuilt in 1794 and garrisoned to guard American interests on the lower Ohio River. A customs port was opened, as was a post office. Zebulon Pike, for whom Pike's Peak is named, served here as a Lieutenant. 

After the War of 1812 the post was no longer needed, and it was again abandoned.
In 1908, recognizing its historical importance, the site was dedicated as Illinois' first state park. Archaeological excavations in the 1930s, 1960s and 1970s provided information that ultimately resulted in a reconstructed fort from the American period. Dedicated in 1973, the reconstructed fort was not placed in the original location to the west to preserve the site's integrity. 
Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D. 


  1. The reconstructed fort looks great! Does it still stand? Can people walk through it? If so, I would suspect it could be easily vandalized unless there is tight security there.

    1. The Annual Fall FORT MASSAC ENCAMPMENT is October 21 & October 22, 2017. It is one of the the many Southern Illinois Fall events that draws over 100,000 persons to experience the annual activities. One of my memorable childhood memories. I can still feel the crisp fall air 40 years later, even while my existing desert environment attempts to "bake" that memory out of me..... Add this with "Superman" and how could it be wrong! SOUTHERN ILLINOIS, it surely was created, on the day things of all good; there is no place like home! I would recommend checking with the tourism bureau or the state park website for hours and any additional activities and/or events.

      With the thousands of attractions in the area, as well as the Southern Illinois Wine Trail, camping, fishing, hiking, tens of dozens of lakes, the Shawnee National Forest with all of its wonders, shopping, dining (City of Marion alone has over 175 restaurants just half hour north and in a county that has some of the best equipped public educational facilities within the entire state and sporting facilities that some universities envy) and even semi-pro sporting venues you may go with the intentions of only once, but I have a feeling you will return. A place that is such a secret; yet, so many have uncovered and call it home.


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