The Heart of the Illinois Country Heritage Project has been developed by Les Amis du Fort de Chartres, and is supported by surrounding community organizations such as The Village of Prairie du Rocher, The Prairie du Rocher Chamber of Commerce, Randolph County Commissioners, Monroe County Commissioners, The City of Waterloo, and The Kaskaskia Cahokia Trail Coalition. The Heart of Illinois Country Heritage Project and, especially, The Heart of Illinois Country Heritage Shop and Education Center have the ability to create economic change, boost tourism development, and make a difference in both the local community and the region as a whole. The implementation of this project would offer additional educational and economic opportunities to capitalize on the annual 45,000-50,000 visitors already in the area visiting Fort de Chartres State Historic Site or attending the Fort’s annual Special Events. Additionally, many new visitors will be attracted to the Heritage Center and its activities and shopping opportunities. Besides the possibilities for new growth of artisans and specialty shops, there is a very real opportunity for an expanding hospitality industry in the area. In pursuing this heritage project and shop, we can work with our community to develop educational and community development elements that will teach the history of our French heritage and use that history to grow as a community and provide sustenance for the future.
Photo Credit: Kelly Helton Adams