Rendezvous Days History

Beginning of the Annual Rendezvous

 In the year 1977, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Fort Atkinson community, with permission of the Iowa State Preserves Advisory Board, organized a frontier rendezvous to re-enact life as it was in the 1840s. Participants, dressed in authentic costumes worn in the 1840s, recreated the time period in regards to general military life at the Fort as well as when hunters, trappers, & traders displayed their furs & supplies for barter and trade at a frontier rendezvous as existed further west in the Rocky Mountains. Re-creation of the frontier rendezvous and the 1840s military life at Fort Atkinson has continued every year since. The annual Fort Atkinson rendezvous occurs during the last full weekend in the month of September, with"school day" the previous Friday.

Indian Tribes of Northeast Iowa

This information was written by Al Becker, a member of the Fort Atkinson Historic Commission.

The Fort Preserve

The Military Post of Fort Atkinson

Historic Site: 13WH57

Fort Atkinson ‘Self-Guided Walking Tour Brochure

In the year 2008, the Fort Atkinson Historic Preservation Commission was awarded a $5505 grant from the Winneshiek County Gaming Revenue Committee for development of a 'self-guided-walking-tour-brochure' to be available to visitors to the military post grounds and for development of two 'teaching trunks' of historic Fort Akinson materials/artifact replicas/military elements/Winnebago/Ho-Chunk Indian cultural items that could be check out by schools and other organizations.

The project was conducted by personnel from the Office of the State Archaeologist in Iowa City with assistance from the Fort Atkinson Historic Preservation Commission members. OSA staff that developed the brochure included Lynn Alex, Cherie Haury-Artz, and Angela R. Collins.
Since the current military post grounds are not staffed during the week and the State Museum on the post grounds is only open weekend afternoons during the summer, visitors to the grounds can now have access to the historical aspects of the fort by picking up a copy of the Walking Tour Brochure when they enter the fort.

The brochure gives a history of the 1840s military post and specific information on over fifteen stopping points on the grounds.
One side of the brochure contains a large water color painting by Deanne Wortman showing the layout of the fort buildings in its heyday. Numbered stops guide visitors to the location of reconstructed structures such as blockhouses, the North Barracks (now the museum) and the stockade.

Images on the brochure such as dominoes, a jaw harp, buttons and artifacts found by archaeologists on the post grounds help create a sense of the Fort's residents and their everyday lives.

The teaching trunks contain replicas of period artifacts and educational resources that can be utilized in the elementary grades of regional schools. The lessons and activities are excellent sources for use in social studies and history units on the 1840s military post of Fort Atkinson and the Winnebago/H-Chunk Indian history in the 'neutral ground'.

Visitors to the fort are encouraged to pick up a copy of the brochure to get a detailed story of the military post and the current sites on the grounds.

  Self Guided Walking Tour Brochure of the Fort Atkinson Fort