Sunday, August 11, 2013

Fort de Chartres State Historic Site

During our trip to Ste. Genevieve, we journeyed across the state line to visit the historic Fort de Chartres. Named after Louis the Duke of Chartres, the first of two wooden forts was built in 1720-1721 about 18 miles north of Kaskaskia. Besides establishing a military presence to counter the attacks of Fox Indians on French settlements, the fort served as the political headquarters for le pays des Illinois. The stone fort that has been partially reconstructed was built shortly before the outbreak of the French and Indian War. With the Treaty of Paris in 1763, the fort was taken over by British troops of the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment on October 10, 1765. Renamed Fort Cavendish, the fortification was of little use to the British and was eventually abandoned in 1771.

The locals refer to the Ste. Genevieve-Modoc Ferry as "The French Connection".

We drove by Prairie du Rocher. Descendants of those first 18th century settlers still reside here today.

Gate to the fort

View from atop the gate overlooking the surrounding countryside.

Flour in the storage loft.

The Powder Magazine is the only original structure in the fort and is thought to be the oldest non-Indian structure in Illinois.

A reconstruction of the East Barracks using a technique called "ghosting".

Entrance to the Piethman Museum in what would have been the king's storehouse.

Bastion and turret overlooking the dry moat.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Ste. Genevieve, Missouri and the Jour de Fête 2013

Alicia and I took a mini-vacation in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. The town is well-known for its bed and breakfasts. It's also Missouri's first permanent settlement, so there were attractions for both of us. In August, the annual Jour de Fête celebrates the heritage of this historic town and holds the largest craft fair in the region. 

We stayed at the Main Street Inn Bed and Breakfast in the historic district.

One evening, Alicia entertained me and the innkeepers with some nice music.

Looking down Merchant Street. Ste. Genevieve was established by French colonists around 1735. The original town was moved in 1785, due to flooding by the Mississippi, to a new location about three miles away.

The Louis Bolduc House was built in the early 1790s. It's an excellent example of French Creole architecture.

The salon inside the Bolduc House.

The bedroom housed all members of the family.

The Nicolas Janis House was built around 1790.

We had dinner at the beautiful Inn St. Gemme Beauvais. Upon leaving we encountered some tourists from Quebec. I couldn't help chatting with them for a moment.

The Jour de Fête is a popular attraction for the region. Just be warned that lodging will probably be fully booked for this weekend, so reserve accommodations well ahead of time if you plan on attending.

The Felix Vallé House was built in 1818 by Jacob Philipson in the Federal Style. It served as a residence  and mercantile store for the trading firm Menard & Vallé.

Inside the mercantile store.

Les Petits Chanteurs sing "À la claire fontaine", a traditional French song.

Diorama of what Ste. Genevieve looked like in the 18th century. Photo taken at the Old Courthouse in St. Louis, MO.