Heritage Hill State Park is a living history state park devoted to the preservation of buildings and artifacts and the interpretation of the history of Northeastern Wisconsin and its people from 1672 to 1940.
One area in the park commemorates the fur trade. Its strategic location between the Mississippi and the Saint Lawrence Rivers made “LaBaye” a logical place for a trader to settle. By the 1720’s bands of voyageur canoes set out each spring from Quebec, the capital of New France, bound for the Northwest with a cargo of French trade goods. The French fur traders were reliant on the native groups for food, a trade route, hunting grounds, pelts, and companionship. Out of this companionship grew the Meétis culture, a mingling of French fur traders and the Indian culture.
Bark chapels were built until a more permanent structure could be built. The Jesuit priests would use these structures as a place of worship as well as for their dwelling. Original structures were constructed of sapling framework with elm bark. The Bark Chapel at Heritage Hill is a replica, built in 1982. The architecture of the building reflects the Iroquois long house structure.
The Maple Sugaring House was reproduced in 1981. Maple syrup was used to sweeten foods as brown or white sugar was expensive and harder to obtain.
The court house log building was used as a granary in Door County and was moved to Heritage Hill in 1976. The furnishings were reconstructed from an 1824 Work Order. The famous Trial of Chief Oshkosh took place very near the site of this building.
As Americans after the war of 1812 pushed westward to take over the fur trade, the United States government built a chain of forts in the western Great Lakes to protect and defend the great river routes into the interior. Each protected a strategic point along the waterways connecting the interior with the settled east.
The first school recorded at Fort Howard was in 1824 when Colonel McNeill, commander at the Fort, organized a school for the children of officer’s and children in the area. A building that was already erected served as this school. The construction and architecture of the school is unknown, but it can be assumed that it would have been similar to other fort buildings following in the federal style of architecture. The building at Heritage Hill is a replica, constructed in 1982.
Fort Howard Officer’s Quarters is a replica of an 1830’s surgeon’s quarters built in 1982. The architecture is of the Federal style, built with a frame construction with dormer windows.
From 1850 to the end of the century, numerous small communities were expanding in Wisconsin due to the influx of immigrants.
The replica print shop, dating to 1976, demonstrates the fine art of printing the local news. It is modelled after the original De Pere News that was started in De Pere in 1871. All of the equipment is original to the latter half of the 19th century.
The replica Victorian Bandstand was built and donated in 1982 by Frederick and Patricia Baer. It often is used for weddings and Music on the Green Events.
Text source: heritagehillgb.org