Legislators recently introduced bills to establish the Prairie du Rocher French Colonial National Historic Park to recognize the importance of Prairie du Rocher and the French Colonial Historic District as a nationally significant architectural village that embodies the cultural heritage of the United States. Founded by French colonists in 1722, this city played a pivotal role in the development of the United States and remains an important part of Illinois’s history.
This National Historical Park would serve as the focus of interpretive and educational programs relating to the history of the French Colonial Historic District and assist in the preservation of historic sites within the French Colonial Historic District. The park would include sites in Prairie du Rocher, Kaskaskia, and Fort de Chartres.
“Illinois has a rich and storied history that I hope that residents and visitors alike will get to appreciate. This year, we celebrate the city of Prairie du Rocher on its 300th anniversary,” U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said, as a part of the bill he and fellow U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) brought to the Senate. “With this legislation, I hope to see the Prairie du Rocher French area receive well-earned recognition as the French Colonial Historic District to both preserve our history and educate visitors.”
“This past weekend, the city of Prairie du Rocher in Illinois—one of the oldest cities in our entire nation—celebrated its 300th anniversary,” said Duckworth. “To mark this milestone anniversary, I was proud to author and introduce this legislation that would establish the Prairie du Rocher French Colonial National Historical Park.”
“We are very excited to see this legislation introduced. The Prairie du Rocher French Colonial Historic District once served as the western boundary of the United States,” noted Christopher Martin, Director of Economic Development, Randolph County.
“There is amazing history here in Randolph County. Our sincere appreciation to Senator Tammy Duckworth and her staff for helping us at every step,” Martin added.
U.S. Representative Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) brought the bill to the House, noting, “Southern Illinois is blessed to have a rich history that began long before the founding of our nation. Founded in 1722 as a French settlement, Prairie du Rocher once represented the western boundary of the United States. Today, its many sites still stand as some of the best examples of French Colonial architecture and culture in the United States. As we celebrate 300 years of Prairie du Rocher, it is vitally important that we preserve this piece of our history for years to come.”
Photo courtesy kfvs12.com