What's The Story
Louis XIV, the King of France, granted LaSalle a five-year patent to explore the western part of New France. LaSalle chose to base his enterprise along the Illinois River because it was the most direct route from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico.
After meeting with the Illinois at their winter village in present-day Peoria, LaSalle decided to build Fort Crèvecoeur about 1.5 miles downstream on the east side of the river, close enough to the Illinois village to cultivate a much-needed alliance.
The following months brought much hardship. In February, LaSalle left to determine the fate of his supply ship, the Griffon. Meanwhile, laborers at the fort were running short of supplies to build a boat to transport goods. While his trusted assistant Henri Tonti assessed the possibility of building another fort at Le Rocher (now Starved Rock), most of the men building Fort Crèvecoeur deserted and took what remained of critical supplies with them. In April 1680, the fort was destroyed and abandoned.
To learn more:
Ross, Ryan. The Controversy over the Location of Fort Crevecoeur, 1846-1923. Journal of Illinois History. 14:4 (Winter 2011), pp. 277-92.