Experience the scenic splendor of Southern Illinois with plenty of outdoor fun and time-telling events at Fort Massac State Park. Overlooking the mighty Ohio River from the Southern tip of Illinois, this majestic location has been preserved and maintained since 1908, when it became Illinois’ first state park. Centuries of relics from local Native American tribes and European settlers are preserved and exhibited in the Fort’s Museum and Visitor’s Center, which accompanies the replica 1802 American Fort present at the park.
Fort Massac’s rich history began in 1754, when it was first built by the French to defend their territory. Throughout the rest of the 17th century and early 18th century, Fort Massac would play a role in many major events such as the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War. Fort Massac also saw its fair share of famous travels pass by on their way west. In 1803, the Lewis and Clark expedition stopped at Fort Massac on their way to St. Louis to recruit personnel for their trip. A Frenchman, George Drouillard, who resided in Massac Village next to the fort, joined the expedition. His skills as a language interpreter, hunter, and trapper were to prove invaluable for Lewis and Clark during their three-year journey from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean and back again. Fort Massac is indeed a hidden gem worth visiting.