Niles uncovering history

Published 9:46 am Monday, June 15, 2015

As you read this, Fort St. Joseph is filled with students working to uncover the next big thing at one of Niles’ greatest historic areas.

Dr. Michael Nassaney, of Western Michigan University, has been conducting the archaeological dig with students for the past 12 years in partnership with the City of Niles.

They spend several weeks at the site, which is located along the banks of the St. Joseph River south of Riverfront Park.

They are doing important work and, fortunately, we all will have a chance to see what they are up to.

On June 27 and June 28, an open house will take place at the site where the public can view excavations and ask questions of students and staff there.

It is an exciting and informative event that should not be missed.

Fort St. Joseph is an important part of the Niles area’s history.

Although it does not remain standing today, Fort St. Joseph was a mission, garrison and trading post that was occupied from 1691 to 1781 by the French and then the British.

Students and staff spend hours excavating the remains of the fort using a small trowel and brush. It is slow and steady work that takes patience and persistence.

They’ve found many things this year, including a clay pipe stem, a piece of flintlock from the side of a gun and a colonial French seal.

Who knows what else they will uncover?

We encourage everyone to visit the site during the open house and learn about an important piece of their history.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.