French Heritage Corridor
For General Information
about FHC

Lisa Kahn, Director
French Heritage Corridor Initiative
[email protected]

The 7 FHC Ambassadors

(IA) Ceil Miller-Bouchet
[email protected]

(IL) James Paul
[email protected]

(IN) J.Colby Bartlett
[email protected]

(MI) Michael Nassaney
[email protected]

(MN) Rob Mann
[email protected]

(MO) Tandy Thompson
[email protected]

(WI) Mary Elise Antoine
[email protected]

Leadership Team

Dr. Charles Balesi
Author and Historian

Amy Fienga
FHS Paris affiliate and Co-Chair of the Student Exchange Program

Sylvette Niccolini
Chairman FHC and FHS Chicago Advisory Panel

Marc Rosier
Author and Historian

Logan York
Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma

Honorary Committee

The Honorable Yannick Tagand
Consul Général de France in the Midwest

Princesse Marie Sol de La Tour d’Auvergne

Baronesse Isabelle de Laroullière

Madame Jeanne Lamy-Belzil
Public & Governmental Affairs Officer, Délégation du Québec à Chicago

Randa Duvick
FHC Module Developer

Diane Hunter
Myaamia Heritage Preservation Specialist

Julie Kemper Foyer
William T. Kemper Foundation

Perri Irmer
President & CEO, DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center: A Smithsonian Affiliate

Jeanne Gang
Architect and Founding Principal and Partner of Studio Gang

Andrew Nussbaum
Wisconsin Department of Tourism

Our Mission

The French Heritage Corridor initiative comprises seven states in the Midwest (Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin). This network, joined by waterways connecting with the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes, transcends borders to recreate in the Midwest what was once la Nouvelle France.

While French history and heritage of eastern Canada and of Louisiana is typically well known and understood by the general public, the region comprising the French Heritage Corridor which lies between them is not as universally appreciated.

The French Heritage Corridor (FHC) is an initiative of FHS Chicago-Midwest chapter dedicated to developing synergy and raising the collective awareness about the rich French history and heritage that has, since the 17th century, melded with the vibrant multicultural landscape in what is today the Midwestern United States.

French Heritage Society is an American non-profit organization created in 1982 that includes 10 chapters in the US and one in France.

Through various activities and our educational program, we are dedicated to preservation, restoration and promotion of the beautiful French heritage throughout the United States and France.

The central mission of French Heritage Society is to ensure that the treasures of our shared French architectural and cultural heritage survive to inspire future generations to build, dream, and create by:

  • Preserving the rich French architectural and cultural heritage throughout France and in the US by raising funds for restoration, preservation and cultural grants.
  • Transmitting and safeguarding the skills, knowledge and love of the heritage through transatlantic educational programs for students, architects, artisans, art connoisseurs and collectors.
  • Fostering Franco-American friendship and cross-cultural exchange through select tours in France and the U.S., lectures, conferences, galas and other events on both sides of the Atlantic.

Discover French Heritage Sites in the Midwest

  • All Locations
  • Overview (8)
  • Historic Sites (57)
  • Museums (24)
  • Parks / Preserves (30)
  • Corridor / Trail (2)
  • Historical Societies (25)
  • Native American / French (13)
  • Cultural Immersion (6)
  • Historic Markers (9)

French Heritage Corridor Events

French Heritage Corridor Initiatives

Conferences

Click here to discover our First Annual Conference, “A Midwest Renaissance”, held in May 2021 in Prairie du Rocher, IL.

Click here to discover our Second Annual Conference, “Making our Dream a Reality”, held in May 2022 in Lafayette and West Lafayette, IN.

Click here to discover our Third Annual Conference, “We’re All In This Together!”, held in June 2023 in Prairie du Chien, WI.

History Module

Click on the links below to see our module presenting a suite of information on the history of the French Heritage Corridor, including the arrival of the French, introductions to state-by-state French heritage, teaching materials, and more.

Module d’histoire en français

Pour voir la suite de pages qui présentent l’histoire du Corridor en français, cliquez ici.

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Bienvenue!

The French Heritage Corridor invites you to discover this region’s rich history and culture. The resources presented here–written materials, maps, images, and more–will help you get to know this distinct heritage.

Whether we’re residents or visitors, our first hint that this region has a French past often comes through an encounter with its many place names of French origin: Prairie du Chien, Detroit, Joliet, Vincennes, Des Moines, Dubuque, Mille Lacs, Portage, La Crosse, Bourbonnais, Ste. Genevieve, St. Louis, Sault Ste. Marie, Marquette—the list goes on and on!

How did there come to be so many places reflecting a past with French connections? The materials here help to answer that question, and many more.

Trader’s bales and barrels at Colonial Michilimackinac (Photo: R. Duvick)

A section introducing the French colonial presence in the French Heritage Corridor.

Bailly Homestead, Indiana Dunes National Park (Photo: D. Grosnick)

Here, you can explore history more in depth about IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, MO and WI and access additional resources such as teaching tools, suggested tours and connect to active groups.

Beaver pelt (Photo: R. Duvick)

A section that describes the workings of the fur trade. It underlines theimportant relationship between the French and their Native trading partners.

JB Franquelin Map of N America 1688

A section that introduces seventeenth-and eighteenth-century French maps and invites you to think about what and who the French explorers encountered as they moved westward and southward in this region.

Bailly Page

A section presenting the account books of one French-speaking fur trader who worked in this region.

Place Royale

A section for learners or speakers of French that offers French-language information about the region’s French heritage. The texts are appropriate for high school or college language learners, and are accompanied by pedagogical activities that can be adapted by teachers.