Re-live the 18th Century at Prairie du Rocher
Illinois’ Great Rivers Country is laden with rich history, with picturesque towns that reveal the tales of times gone by. When exploring the river towns, you’re likely to come across passionate Illinoisans who can offer a glimpse into the past unlike any other.
One town in particular, Prairie du Rocher, is a must-see for history buffs, families and curious travelers alike. Translated to “prairie by the rock,” Prairie du Rocher has a phenomenal story. The French village was founded in 1722 as the fourth European settlement in Illinois, after the establishment of Fort de Chartres on the fertile land beneath the Mississippi River bluffs. For years, Prairie du Rocher provided grain and other food resources to New Orleans and communities within the Louisiana Territory. Today, you can explore amazing historical sites such as Fort de Chartres and the Creole House.
At Fort de Chartres, experience 18th Century living first-hand. The last of three 18th Century forts in the United States, Fort de Chartres served as the epicenter for the for the Illinois County French Administration from 1720-1763. The archaeological remains of this remarkable stone fort are meticulously preserved for visitors to discover.
While you’re visiting, make sure to spend time at the picturesque Creole House, built in 1800 by Dr. Robert McDonald who migrated to Prairie du Rocher from South Carolina. Later on, the house served as the birthplace of Henry Clay Hansroughs, the first Congressman from North Dakota.
There’s nothing like spending time immersed in a rich and inspiring community, one that’s excited to share its American and Illinois History. When planning your trip, don’t forget to check out the calendar of events for reenactments and special festivals.
— The Illinois Office of Tourism