Fort Folle Avoine Historical Park has been a cherished part of our area and history where people have traveled both near and far to experience the life-like events of our past along the Yellow River. Growing up, my family visited Fort Folle Avoine as well as been a part of their productions and events portraying this area’s intriguing history. I’ve experienced the wonderful productions Fort Folle Avoine puts on, where it feels as if you’ve traveled back in time during the 1800’s. You can sit in an Indian’s wigwam around the fire or walk into the trading post as if you were living during the time. Not only can you experience the real life involvement, but get a taste of fry bread and wild rice pancakes while walking through history.
Over 200 years ago, the North West Company and the XY Company traveled along the Yellow River where they built fur trading posts, now known as Fort Folle Avoine. When the North West Company first arrived, they built a trading post where the Indian population and the French explorers bartered for furs, primarily beaver fur which was incredibly cherished among the European market. Fur traders traveled hundreds of miles and portaged in every direction anticipating the rendezvous, also known as a meeting place where trading and bartering took place. After furs and other products, were traded, the furs were then carried along the Yellow River onto Montreal and then eventually to Europe. At the end of the 1805 trading season, the fur traders loaded their canoes, traveled along the Yellow River and never returned to Fort Folle Avoine. What sets Fort Folle Avoine apart or makes this place so unique is that during the 1800’s the French explorers stayed in this area around two years, where most trading posts were built and lived in for about a year and then abandoned and moved on down the river.
Archeologists from the Wisconsin State Historical Society studied and retrieved artifacts during 1970-1980 along the Yellow River where they had discovered a journal left by the company clerk who had lived there long ago. Through these journal entries, the archeologists were able to study and find hints that were left about the Fort Folle Avoine locations. Around the 1980’s the Burnett County Historical Society then completed and reconstructed the Fort Folle Avoine Historical Park which was then opened to the public in 1989.
Today, Fort Folle Avoine puts on events and gives tours that re-enact the life and time of the Northwest Company and XY Company fur trade history along the Yellow River with an Indian Village portraying early Ojibwe life and culture and the 1800’s fur trading post.
For more information check out Fort Folle Avoine on their website at www.theforts.org and come experience firsthand one of their many events or receive a tour from Wednesday through Sunday starting at 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. ~ Billie Ingalls