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Fort Massac State Park, Metropolis

Categories: State Parks, Nature & Parks
Inspirock Rating:
4/5 based on 100 reviews on the web
Fort Massac is a colonial and early National-era fort on the Ohio River in Massac County, Illinois, United States.Legend has it that, as early as 1540, the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto and his soldiers constructed a primitive fortification here to defend themselves from native attack. Maps from the early 18th century show an "Ancien Fort" near this location.Fort Massac was built by the French in 1757, during the French and Indian War and was originally called "Fort de L’Ascension." The name was changed in 1759, to honor of Claud Louis d'Espinchal, Marquis de Massiac, the French Naval Minister. Many early 19th-century sources claim that "Massac" was derived from a "massacre" that occurred at the site; but there is no record of such a massacre.Following the end of the French and Indian War in 1763, the French abandoned the fort and a band of Chickasaw burned it to the ground. When Captain Thomas Stirling, commander of the 42nd Highland Regiment, arrived to take possession for Britain, he found nothing but a charred ruin.The British never rebuilt the fort. In 1778, during the American Revolutionary War, Col. George Rogers Clark led his regiment of “Long Knives” into Illinois near the fort at Massac Creek. In 1794, during the Northwest Indian War, President George Washington ordered the fort rebuilt, and for the next 20 years it protected U.S. military and commercial interests in the Ohio Valley.
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  • Very well kept state park with play ground, bath house, all level gravel sites with paved roads. I didn't have reservations but went anyway. Met the camp ground host and she said they are hardly ever ...  read more »
  • Great park with a wonderful visitor center, make sure to check out the exhibits and information in the visitor center - amazing views of the Ohio River, take time to walk down to see the river, so wor...  read more »
  • Overlooking the Ohio River from the southern tip of Illinois, Fort Massac State Park has been preserved and maintained since 1908, when it became Illinois' first state park. Today, it is a captivating...  read more »
  • I was in the area and had time to enjoy some sites and had a picnic lunch there. Enjoyed the museum and learned some history!
  • This poor park. The fort is falling down and fenced off. They are not upkeeping the park. It was such a disappointment.
  • As you will see below, I think Fort Massac State Park is a wonderful place. I am giving it four stars instead of five only because the reconstructed fort is not presently accessible due to deteriorating structures and safety issues. This is a legacy issue having to do with decisions made when the reconstruction was done, is not the fault of the facility staff, and all the rest of the park is open and available. Having said that... I've been going to "The Fort" as we call it locally since I was a little boy. It is one of my favorite outdoor places because it is close, well maintained, and offers a variety of habitat for hiking, birdwatching, hunting, picnicking, camping, and just relaxing. Neal, the Site Interpreter, and his staff are friendly and helpful and they do a great job with the limited resources that have resulted from the state's budget issues. The visitors' center is clean and comfortable with interesting exhibits. The park hosts quite a few events and meetings throughout the year, with the highlight being the Fort Massac Encampment each October. The Encampment draws around 200,000 visitors every year and is exceptionally well managed.
  • Ever since the big flood a few years back, the fort itself has remained in disrepair and closed to the public. I'm not sure it's even being rebuilt... At least the rest of the park is still open, but the fort was the main attraction.
  • Picnic area far from the historic site and a lot of the green space seems to flood. Still a cool historic fort right on the river
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