Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Site preserves the time-worn earthen remains of Fort Kaskaskia, constructed by the French ca. 1759 to defend the town of Kaskaskia. Founded in 1703, the town was for more than a century the region’s principal commercial center, also serving from 1818 to 1820 as the first capital of Illinois. The small fort, containing only a three-room barrack and a kitchen, was apparently never fully completed. The fort was periodically occupied by French or U.S. troops until 1807 and sheltered local settlers during Indian scares rising from the War of 1812. A scenic overlook offers views of the Mississippi and Kaskaskia Rivers, and of Old Kaskaskia.