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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

Fort Massac State Park is Illinois' oldest, having been dedicated in 1908. However, its history actually began much earlier with the construction of a French military fort  in 1757, its rebuilding in 1756-1760, and its burning in 1763.

Today's Fort Massac is a wooden reproduction of a number of buildings within its fortification walls representing what stood on that exact spot in 1794. Reconstruction began in 1971 with a significant improvement slated for completion this year.

Of interest are the mix of modern and period materials including the setting of the exterior outer defense palisades into deeply buried concrete. Key questions: 

(1) Were longevity and future replacement problems considered when this cement decision was taken? 

(2) What were the other concessions to modern building techniques?

Fort_Massac-1.jpg (33329 bytes)


Fort_Massac-2.jpg (33247 bytes)


Fort_Massac-3.jpg (26522 bytes)

Fort Massac 
under construction


Palisades under 


Palisades set 
in cement

An e-mail will be sent shortly to see if  Fort Massac can provide answers. The reply will be posted here when it is received. 


To whom it may concern [Department of Natural Resources, Office of Public Services]:

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 an 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  [later 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 visited Fort Massac State Park which is presently under reconstruction. Of interest are the mix of modern and period materials including the setting of the exterior outer defense palisades into deeply buried concrete. Key questions: 



With limited funds along with health and safety issues one has to use concessions to finish historic reconstruction. Budget for a project also limits some decisions that have to be made. Longevity and maintenance issues add to the list of things that can alter historic
reconstruction as well.


Hi Terry:

Thanks for the prompt reply. I quite understand your problems as they are no different than those which the Fortress of Louisbourg has struggled with over the years. I was on the Structural Design Team at Louisbourg from 1972-1997 and so am quite sympathetic.

To see what I mean, our minutes for the Fortress Design Team process are on the net for all to see at our web site: Web  
[Later  Web ]

There will be spelling errors, etc. since these were hand-inputted but they are being corrected. Also, you must use a relatively up-to-date browser since the database uses java, and be sure to click on the id to see the complete record.

While your reply was quite to the point, I was actually looking for a bit more detail. For example "What were the other concessions to modern building techniques" (besides the palisades), and do you have any studies that actually show that your concessions will increase longevity and future replacement problems? My experience has been that often the "old way" and the "new way" had about the same result in these said two areas, but cost was decreased by the "new way". Often too, I have wondered whether the cost benefits were really all that significant when compared to the "authenticity" level that was lost.

Two authenticity reports (Fortress of Louisbourg specific) you might find interesting are located on our site at:
Web  [Later ]
Web  [Later ]



We are in the process of trying to finish this project before our annual
encampment 0ct. 18 & 19.    The encampment is one of two major events we
have coming up in the next few weeks so at this time we are very busy.  
It is to my understanding that a document is being prepared at this time
to explain how and why things were done on this project.   I hope to be
able to get back with you with further information as soon as I possibly

A reply was sent but unfortunately it was not saved for publication. Summary: Thanks, and I will await the arrival of the document. Pointed out our re-enactments of 1995 and 1999, and directed him to our re-enactment site: Web  [Later ]