The Ouiatenon Preserve
The Ouiatenon Preserve: A Roy Whistler Foundation Project
Fort Ouiatenon (1717-1791) was the first European settlement and the first of three forts built by the French in the 18th Century in what would later become Indiana. It was constructed across the river from the principal Ouiatenon (Wea) Native American village and existed during many of the pivotal periods of early American history including the European colonization of North America, the French and Indiana War, the American Revolution and the subsequent birth of the United States of America and the Northwest Territory Wars. Fort Ouiatenon is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in Indiana and is one of the only preserved sites of its type in our country.
The Ouiatenon Preserve is located west of the Fort Ouiatenon Historical Park along South River Road and the Wabash River. It contains the site of the original 1700s era Fort Ouiatenon and nearly 200 acres of land surrounding it. The Ouiatenon Preserve is a Roy Whistler Foundation Project and an Archaeological Conservancy Research Preserve. The property will be co-owned and operated by the Tippecanoe County Historical Association and the Archaeological Conservancy and managed by the Ouiatenon Preserve Inc. A significant portion of funding was awarded under the Indiana Bicentennial Nature Trust and the Indiana Heritage Trust with matching contributions provided by the Roy Whistler Foundation and The Archaeological Conservancy. The purpose of this effort is to protect these unique, important and nationally significant archaeological sites while simultaneously creating a nature preserve that will improve the environmental and ecological health along the Wabash River.
Plans are underway to protect this site for future generations to research and learn from and create a wonderful place in our community to enjoy nature and celebrate our incredibly rich and unique Native American and early European history while improving the health of our environment and river.
On January 13, 2021 the United States Secretary of the Interior designated the Ouiatenon Preserve a National Historic Landmark. The Ouiatenon Preserve becomes the 43rd National Historic Landmark in the state of Indiana, joining two others in Tippecanoe County; the Tippecanoe Battlefield and Samara House.