On June 24, 1832, a small company of Illinois militia and their families successfully defended a small civilian-built fort against a superior force of warriors led by the great Sac tribal leader known as Black Hawk.
Today Apple River Fort State Historic Site, a Black Hawk War landmark, includes an interpretive visitor center and a reconstruction of the long-vanished fort modeled upon findings of a 1995 archaeological dig. Because of its archaeological and historic significance, the site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Apple River Fort is a family-friendly historic site, open year-round. The site's visitor center features knowledgeable staff, a variety of exhibits, and showings of a brief dramatic video depicting the attack on Apple River Fort and other events of the 1832 Black Hawk War. The fort itself is open concurrently for self-guided tours.
On Special Event Days the fort comes to life through living history activities that present stories both of the settlers within its walls and of the attacking Sac and Meskwaki without. Through demonstrations, hands-on activities, and conversation, interpreters garbed in 1830s-style dress create a visitor experience that is historically accurate, engaging, educational, entertaining, and most of all, memorable.
Today the Apple River Fort is owned and operated by the State of Illinois, managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Sites.