Apple River Fort State Historic Site

Elizabeth, Illinois  USA

open hours & special Events


May to October

Wednesday through Sunday
9 am - 5 pm

November to April

Friday, Saturday & Sunday

9 am - 4 pm

Admission is free, but donations are always appreciated.

2019 Events Calendar

April 21 - Easter Sunrise Service - 7 am

Celebrate Easter with a special service given during sunrise in the Apple River Fort! On the 1830's frontier, many settlers, regardless of denomination, relied on traveling circuit clergy for their religious and spiritual needs. The service at the Fort will be presented by the United Methodist Church in Elizabeth, IL, and will be followed by a breakfast in the church basement. All faiths are welcome and everyone is encouraged to dress warmly. In case of inclement weather, a change of venue or cancellation is possible. 

April 26-27 - US Grant Pilgrimage (Boy Scout Weekend)

The Fort will have camping facilities for Boy Scout troops this weekend. Space is limited. Please contact the site to reserve your troop's spot or for more information.

May 1 - Summer Hours Begin

Beginning on Wednesday, May 1st, the site will begin its summer hours. The site will be open to the public from 9 am to 5 pm on Wednesdays, Thursday, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Summer hours will run through the end of October 2019.

May 3 - Education Day

In partnership with the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation (JDCF), the Fort will host a day filled with programming designed for local fifth and sixth grade classes. At the Fort, students will experience 1830's chores, skills, and past times. The site is open to the public on this day, however programming is open only to students of participating schools. 

June 1 - To Have and To Hold - 10 am to 3 pm

As part of the Spring Fling in Elizabeth, IL, the Fort will have an 1830's-style wedding. Festivities will include a period wedding ceremony, dancing, games, food, and more! After the Black Hawk War, Thomas Jefferson Clark and Jane Josephine Murdock, both of whom were in the Fort during the battle, were married in the Fort. 

June 23 - 187th Anniversary of the Battle of the Apple River Fort - 10 am to 3 pm

June 24th marks the 187th anniversary of the Battle of the Apple River Fort, unfortunately the site will be closed on that day. Instead, join us the Sunday before to mark this important anniversary of our site's history. Interpreters will reminisce about the battle and the war, cook a period meal, and give musket firing demonstrations.

July 4 - Fourth at the Fort - 10 am to 3 pm

Looking for something to fill the day before the fireworks start? Then come celebrate the Fourth of July at the Apple River Fort! Enjoy period games and dancing, listen to speeches, toasts, and petitions, try Election Cake, and more! Bring your own blankets and picnic lunch. Water, lemonade, and desserts will be available courtesy of the Fort. 

July 26 - Meet the Author: Janet Smith Post - 1 pm

Based on true events, Janet Smith Post's new book "Where Two Rivers Meet: The Story of Black Hawk and Larkin G. Carter" tells the story of a fateful encounter between Black Hawk and Larkin Carter. Filled with adventure, struggle, and hope, this wonderful new book also inspires an understanding and appreciation of two different cultures.

You can meet author Janet Smith Post at the Interpretive Center. Learn about the family history that inspired the book, pick up a copy for yourself, and even have it signed!

August 10 - Garlick Fest at the Fort - 10 am to 3 pm

Sneak away from Garlic Fest to experience an 1830's Garlick Fest at the Fort! Join us for period recipes, health and beauty cures, and other weird and wonderful uses for this kitchen staple.

September 6 - Goin' Down the Road: Folk Songs of Illinois, 1818-1960 - 6 pm

Enjoy an evening of music presented by folk musician Bucky Halker! Songs range from ballads recounting floods, tornadoes, murders, and other disasters to the protest anthems of miners and mill workers and the hymns, tunes, and dances of every ethnic group in Illinois. Event will take place in the Interpretive Center. Doors open at 5:30 pm.

Event made possible by the Illinois Humanities Road Scholars program.

Illinois Humanities is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Illinois General Assembly [through the Illinois Arts Council Agency], as well as by contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporations. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed by speakers, program participants, or audiences do not necessarily reflect those of the NEH, Illinois Humanities, our partnering organizations, or our funders.

November 1 - Winter Hours Begin

Beginning on Friday, November 1st, the site will begin its winter hours. The site will be open to the public from 9 am to 4 pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Winter hours will run through the end of April 2020.

December 7 - Christmas at the Fort - 10 am to 3 pm

Join us at the Fort for an 1832 style Christmas! Learn about the "strange" German Christmas tradition—a decorated fir tree inside the house. Enjoy historic toys, treats, and songs and try your hand at haggling at the local trading post. Also, be sure to stop by the interpretive center for Christmas crafts for kids and special holiday items in our gift shop.

*Check back regularly for updates about current and upcoming events!