Historic Fort Massac to Host Centennial Celebration
METROPOLIS, IL – The 100th anniversary of the dedication of Fort Massac State Park as Illinois’ first state park will be commemorated with a centennial celebration at the park on Saturday, November 1. The park was formally dedicated as Illinois’ first state park on November 5, 1908.
“The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is pleased to host this celebration, and we thank the Friends of Fort Massac, the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, local and regional members of the DAR, the City of Metropolis, and our site staff for planning a wonderful event,” said IDNR Acting Director Sam Flood. “Millions of visitors during the past 100 years have made Fort Massac a destination to learn about and experience a sample of what life was like on the banks of the Ohio River in days gone by.”
The November 1 celebration will include a parade beginning at the park entrance at 10 a.m., followed by a ceremony at 11 a.m. The ceremony will include a rededication of the George Rogers Clark statue overlooking the Ohio River at the park. Colonel Clark led his “Long Knives” regiment from Kentucky in 1778 to help capture the Illinois Territory for the American cause during the Revolutionary War.
A monument honoring George Rogers Clark was dedicated at Fort Massac in 1908, while the statue of Clark was erected there in 1932. Both were made possible through the support of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The Clark statue has been restored – again thanks to the support of the DAR.
Fort Massac State Park serves as the venue for “living history” programs throughout the year. Its most popular event is the annual Fort Massac Encampment – a weekend festival each October that highlights the area’s Colonial and early American past.
The reconstruction of historic Fort Massac, completed in 2003, resulted in a fort that is historically accurate to construction of the American fort in 1802. A new visitor center was also constructed at the park, and the exhibit gallery at the visitor center was dedicated last March.
The park also features a hiking trail, fishing and boat access on the Ohio River, a campground, picnic areas, and hunting programs.