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August 13 to September 21, 2003 Research Trip Highlights
Research Trip to the United States: Ottawa (Canada) / Springfield (Illinois) / St. Louis (Missouri) ~ August 13 to September 21, 2003  



Eric Krause, Krause House Info-Research Solutions
September 21, 2003

"French explorers were the first Europeans to enter Illinois and as early as 1699 French missionaries established an outpost at Cahokia, making Cahokia the oldest town in Illinois."

The Cahokia Courthouse (1740) is "an excellent example of early French log construction known as poteaux-sur-solle." Unfortunately, but possibly fortunately too if any paper records were made, "the structure was dismantled in 1901, re-erected twice, and reconstructed on its original site in 1939." 

"By 1900 Cahokia Courthouse had deteriorated ... East St. Louis businessman Alexander Cella purchased the dilapidated building at auction in 1901, dismantled it, and re-erected it in 1904 at the St. Louis World's Fair. But the building reconstructed at the Fair hardly resembled the original. The courthouse was reduced to about half its original size and the stone and mortar chinking was eliminated. Left over timbers were reportedly made into wooden cigars and sold as souvenirs at the Fair ...

The courthouse was reconstructed, smaller yet, on Wooden Island [Chicago's Jackson Park] ...

Cahokians demanded the return of the former courthouse ... The building was not deeded to the state , however, until September 1936 ...

Reconstructed of the courthouse followed a study of photographs and sketches of the building and of French construction methods of the locality and period ...All of the logs returned from Chicago were incorporated in the reconstruction ..." 

An e-mail will be sent to determine if they have the answers to some of the questions that the Fortress has re its "charpente" constructions. The reply will be posted here when it is received.

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. The Agency operates over 60 historic sites and memorials.

The Illinois State Historical Library is the premier repository for materials relating to the history of the Prairie State. The ISHL was created in 1889 by the Illinois General Assembly, which charged the new library with collecting and preserving "books, pamphlets, manuscripts, monographs, writings, and other materials of historical interest and useful to the historian, bearing upon the political, religious, or social history of the State of Illinois from the earliest known period of time."


To whom it may concern:

First, let me introduce myself. I am now retired from the Fortress of Louisbourg, National Historical Site, Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, Canada, where for 25 years I was an historian and Historical Records Supervisor. If you wish to know more about me, please consult my web at:

In September of this year, I was on a historical research trip that took me to, among other places, the Illinois State Archives where I found much in my area of interest: 18th century French construction techniques and materials which the Fortress of Louisbourg might find useful. Their official research site (for which I am web master) is as follows: Web

For your interest, the Fortress of Louisbourg is the largest reconstruction project of its type ever undertaken in North America

Now to the point. I also visited the following sites:

Since each of the first four may have an associated historical structural record that guides you in their interpretation, I am interested in what that might be. A list of any published, and, in particular, unpublished in-house reports would be useful as would that of any reconstruction or building plans that you may have developed.

As some examples of my interest, what would be the basis for the following:

(1) Lincoln New Salem State Historic Site

(2) Cahokia Courthouse (3) Pierre Menard House (4) Fort de Chartres

(5) Kaskaskia Bell



Dear Mr. Krause:

I have at hand your research request of 28 September 2003.

I would be happy to send you some of the unpublished historic structures
reports we have on hand regarding the sites mentioned in your email.
Please forward me a mailing address and I will have those copied for you.

Also, several of these sites are listed on the Historic American Buildings
Survey which can be found on the Library of Congress Website. The site
includes photos and drawings. With regard to French architecture, I can
recommend to you any book by Charles Peterson, who specializes in Cahokia
and St. Louis architecture, Carl Ekberg has written a very detailed account
on the Bolduc house at Ste. Genevieve and Jay Edwards is an expert in the
field of French architecture. He has published extensively on the subject.

As for the dimensions of the bell, I am unable to put my hands on a report
we had done a few years ago. I will keep looking for it and see what I can

I hope this helps you in your research.


Erin I. Bishop, Ph.D.
Sites Division
Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
313 South Sixth Street
Springfield, IL 62701

Hello Dr. Erin:

Thanks for the prompt and informative reply. The unpublished reports are more than appreciated, and after I read through them, I will deposit them with the extensive holdings of the Fortress of Louisbourg Library. Should you ever wish to consult their holdings, they, and other research materials, are available on the research site of the Fortress of Louisbourg which is maintained by the Louisbourg Institute at:

Looking forward to the Bell dimensions as well, if and when, you can locate them. No rush of course.

My mailing address is:

Eric Krause
62 Woodill Street,
Sydney, Nova Scotia,
B1P 4N9