Fort Zumwalt (1812-1817) - A log cabin fortification enlarged and stockaded in 1812 by Jacob Zumwalt. Not used as a fort after 1817.
Jacob Zumwalt and Christopher Zumwalt moved their immediate families to the O'Fallon, Missouri, area in 1798. They took up Spanish land grants and Jacob built the first hewn log cabin north of the Missouri River. The small cabin was located on a small hill with a running spring at the base of the hill. Zumwalt added a large two-story, four-room structure to the initial cabin. The combined structures created one of the larger buildings in the area and it became a home fort that could offer shelter to as many as ten local families. With the start of the War of 1812 the fort was further strengthened by cutting gun ports into the walls and by adding a large stockade around the fort. With the end of the war and the subsequent Indian treaties, the threat from both the British and the Indians ended and the need for the fortification went away.
The present-day O'Fallon, Missouri area became too crowded for Jacob and he moved in 1817 to Pike County Illinois after selling his "plantation" to Nathan and Rebecca Heald. Capt. Nathan Heald had been the Commandant of Fort Dearborn (3) when the Fort Dearborn Massacre occurred. Both Nathan and Rebecca were seriously wounded in the massacre but survived to be later ransomed. They first lived in the home that Jacob Zumwalt had built but later built their own home which survives today and is open to the public.
Fort Zumwalt Park became a Missouri State Park in 1937. The State found it impractical to monitor and maintain the park and sold the 45-acre site to the City of O'Fallon in August 1978 for one dollar.
The central fireplace of the large structure was restored during the State's operation of the site. The current restoration efforts began in 2004 and the smaller cabin appears to be almost complete. The site is being prepared to build a larger structure around the central fireplace. The spring at the base of the hill now feeds a small lake.
A small wood fenced area contains grave markers for Jacob Zumwalt and his wife. The house that Nathan and Rebecca Heald built remains intact and open to the public by appointment.
Visited: 26 Jun 2010