Fort St. Joseph

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WMUK

What was life like in a colonial fort in southwest Michigan 300 years ago? Archaeologists from Western Michigan University are trying to find out. They and local volunteers have been digging at the site of Fort Saint Joseph in Niles since 2002.

Andrew Robins / WMUK

What was life like in a colonial fort in southwest Michigan 300 years ago? Archaeologists from Western Michigan University are trying to find out. They and local volunteers have been digging at the site of Fort Saint Joseph in Niles since 2002.


Andy Robins / WMUK

The exact location of Fort Saint Joseph in Niles was lost for more than a century. The French built the fur trading post in the 1680’s as one of the first European settlements in the western Great Lakes. But people forgot about it soon after the fort was abandoned in the 1790’s. It remained that way until archeologists from Western Michigan University rediscovered the fort in 1998. Since then they've been learning how people lived there more than 300 years ago.


Andy Robins, WMUK

For nearly 20 years, faculty and students from Western Michigan University have been digging at the site of Fort Saint Joseph in Niles. After 250 years, nothing of the fort is left standing above ground. 


John Cardinal

More than a hundred years after the once-thriving trade in North American fur wound down, Western Michigan University Professor says we’re still learning about the people who carried it out.