Warof1812 In partnership with the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, Tourism Windsor-Essex-Pelee Island, and the National Park Service, MotorCities National Heritage Area and River Raisin National Battlefield Park have launched the “Route 1812 Driving Tour.”
According to a company release, this “mesmerizing historical road trip” features a behind-the-wheel commemorative quest that takes you through parts of Michigan, Ohio and southern Ontario to explore the people, politics, and biggest battles that defined a war that threatened the existence of Canada and divided the U.S. so deeply that the nation almost broke apart.
Throughout the tour, see forts that were surrendered, monuments and memorials later erected, and the actual battlefields where American and British soldiers experienced great victory and defeat.
There are 11 stops on the tour located in Michigan. Ohio has four stops while Ontario has six.
1. Kentucky Monument
126 South Monroe Street, Monroe, MI 48161
The Battle of the River Raisin was one of the most significant battles of the War of 1812. Out of 934 American soldiers, only 33 escaped. The Kentuckian soldiers who supported the Northwest Territories and lost their lives are commemorated at this memorial and park.
2. Navarre-Anderson Trading Post
3775 North Custer Road Monroe, MI 48162
The oldest wooden residential structure in the state, the post was built in 1789. During the war, the post was used as a hospital. The site is part of the Old Village Historic District on the Monroe County Historical Society’s campus and is the backdrop for many musters and other special events related to the War of 1812.
3. River Raisin National Battlefield Park
1403 East Elm Avenue, Monroe, MI 48162
During January 1813, two bloody battles raged at Frenchtown (now Monroe). In an attempt to move north, Americans were stopped by British and First Nation forces, including those from Chippewa, Creek, Delaware, Fox, Miami, Potawatomi, Ottawa, Saulk, Shawnee, Wyandot Nation and Winnebago tribes. Since so many Americans lost their lives, this battle became a rallying cry of the United States, “Remember the Raisin!”
4. Brownstown Battlefield
Lake Erie Metropark, 32481 West Jefferson, Brownstown, MI 48173
In August 1812, Americans led by Major Thomas Van Horne attempted to advance towards River Raisin to gain supplies for Fort Detroit. Aiming to fight against the First Nations who were in alliance with the British, the militia forces scattered and retreated once faced with battle.
5. Monguagon Battlefield
3873 West Jefferson, Elizabeth Park, Trenton, MI 48183
U.S. troops attempted to replenish supplies to Fort Detroit with Lieutenant Colonel James Miller leading 600 through the First Nations village of Monguagon en route to Frenchtown. While there
were many dead, this is the only victory for the U.S. in Michigan for the War of 1812, as Hull surrendered Detroit very soon after.
6. Fort Wayne
6325 Jefferson, Detroit, MI 48209
While the present-day fort was built in 1845, Fort Wayne was near the location of the Treaty of Springwells in 1815. This treaty was intended to restore peace between Chippewa, Ottawa and Pottawatomie tribes and the U.S. The fort and park are open to the public on weekends and 1812 special events can be found on Fort Wayne’s website.
7. Victims of Epidemic Dec. 1, 1813
Washington Boulevard and Michigan Avenue, Detroit, MI 48226
During the winter of 1813-1814 in Detroit, 700 soldiers died of a cholera-like disease and other wounds. Remains were deposited into a mass grave after all the coffins were filled.
8. Fort Shelby
Fort and Shelby Streets, Detroit, MI 48226 (AKA Ft. Lernoult, Ft. Detroit)
Through the pressures of British and First Nation forces, General William Hull (above) surrendered Fort Detroit in 1812 to save the public housed in the fort and to prevent injury to the remaining U.S. forces. In later years, General William Henry Harrison gained control and the fort was recovered and renamed during the years of 1813-1814.
9. Dossin Great Lakes Museum
100 Strand Drive, Belle Isle, Detroit, MI 48207
The Straits of Detroit were key elements in battle during the War of 1812 due to the proximity of strongholds on either side of the water. The Dossin Great Lakes Museum hosts exhibits and events that bring maritime history to life.
10. Fort Gratiot Lighthouse
2802 Omar Street, Port Huron, MI 48060
At a significant juncture in the waterway, Fort Gratiot was established in 1814 to safeguard the American territory. Fort Gratiot’s light station was built after the construction of the fort. At posted times, climb up the lighthouse and peer over the waterways that were fought over during the
War of 1812.
11. Mackinac Island Battlefield
7127 Huron Road, Mackinac Island, MI 49757
Originally a trading post settled by Americans, Michilimackinac had already seen multiple battles before the War of 1812. Fort Mackinac was surrendered by the Americans to the British, but was turned over to the Americans by the end of the war.
12. Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial
93 Delaware Avenue, Put-in-Bay, OH 43456
View beautiful Put-In-Bay from one of the highest monuments in the U.S. and look over the windy waters of Lake Erie; the watery battlefield where American Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry and Royal Navy Commander Robert Heriot Barclay faced off in September 1813. Perry led the American troops to victory, but the monument is a testament to the lasting peace between Canada and the United States.
13. Fort Meigs
29100 West River Road, Perrysburg, OH 43551
In 1813, under the leadership of Major-General William Henry Harrison, the Americans at Fort Meigs stood their ground against several British and First Nations attacks. Today, the fort hosts many interactive events and exhibits on its grounds which includes a museum, battery and blockhouses.
14. Fort Miamis State Memorial
River Road, south of U.S. Route 24 Maumee, OH 43537
A British stronghold from 1794 until the end of the War of 1812, Fort Miamis was a strategic arm
preventing movement towards Detroit. Fort Miamis looks over the Maumee River and one can see the
bastions, the earthen walls that protected the fort.
15. Fallen Timbers State Memorial Toledo Metro Parks Visitors Center
5100 West Central Avenue, Toledo, OH 43615
Near the Maumee River, this memorial stands to commemorate General Anthony Wayne in the Battle of Fallen Timbers and the struggle to control the Northwest Territories’ waterways and trade.
16. Francois Baby House Windsor’s Community Museum
254 Pitt Street West Windsor, ON, N9A 5L5, Canada
Francois and Frances Baby were members of influential French and British families of the Detroit
River region. Construction of their house began at the outbreak of the War of 1812, when it was occupied first by American forces and subsequently retaken by the British. The museum explores the individuals, cultures and events that contributed to the development of Windsor.
17. Olde Sandwich Towne
Between Sandwich Street and the University of WindsorWindsor, ON, N9A 5L5, Canada
Founded in 1797, Olde Sandwich Towne is one of the oldest, most historically significant
settlements in Ontario. Many historic buildings remain such as Mackenzie Hall (pick up information here for walking tour), Duff-Baby House, the St. John’s Anglican Church and the McGregor-Cowan House.
18. The Park House Museum
214 Dalhousie, Amherstburg, ON, N9V 1W4, Canada
Tradition tells us that this early example of a French frame log house was originally constructed in 1796. During the War of 1812, the building was run as a store and living quarters by the firm of Leith, Shepherd and Duff. Today, the house derives its name and presentation from its fourth owners, the Park family, who occupied it in the 1850s.
19. The Duff-Baby House (with Interpretive Centre)
221 Mill Street, Windsor, ON N9A 5L5, Canada
When the Americans invaded Canada, General Hull took over the home of James (Jacques) baby, a prominent French Canadian in the Sandwich area and colonel in the militia. One of the more prominent houses in the area, the "Baby Mansion" was badly damaged, first when the Americans left in AUgust 1812, and later when General Harrison took it for his headquarters after the British defeat at the Battle of the Thames.
20. Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada
100 Laird Avenue South, Amherstburg, ON, N9V LW4, Canada
A key British defensive post during the War of 1812 and Rebellion of 1837, Fort Malden commemorates a period when the destiny of Canada was determined by military action. Today, this beautiful 12-acre riverfront site includes original defensive earthworks, a restored barrack building, fine exhibits and audio visual presentations.
21. John R. Park Homestead
915 County Road 50 East RR 1, Harrow, ON, N0R 1GO, Canada
Step into the 19th century at the John R. Park Homestead. Here, on the shores of Lake Erie, you can look out over Perry’s Victory Monument, where locals would have stood on the banks of the lake and watched the American troops take control of the waterways in the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie.