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      Holding down the Fort

      Visitors to Fort Madison got a look at living history Saturday afternoon.

      In the days of the original Fort Madison from 1808 to 1813 the sound of gunfire was not uncommon.

      "The main purpose of this place then was to protect our trading post that sits where our gift shop is now. Relations were pretty good up until about 1812, early 1812 before the war of 1812 actually started," Eugene Watkins, the site manager for the old fort explained.

      In order to memorialize the history of the Old Fort for Memorial Day weekend, this 1980s recreation will be filled with re-enactments of what life would have been like in 1800s.

      "I am drenched, obviously we don't have air conditioning here," Cheryl Ford, a reenactor at the Fort said.

      Besides getting a taste of home cooked meals from the era, visitors could experience military drills, a blacksmith, and tours.

      One dad took his kids because he wanted to give his two sons a vacation they would remember.

      "Kids growing up they can see it on TV but to actually get out and see it first hand, and put their hands on stuff it's a little bit better of an experience and it sticks with them a little more," James Middleton, a visitor to the Old Fort said.

      "As a little girl growing up I always loved history and we came here for a field trip one and I thought it was really cool," Maya Lozano-Dominguez said. She was helping with the re-enactment by braving the heat of a fire in 90 degree heat to cook the traditional way.

      "For all historical sites, I think it's very important to have them so people can remember where they came from and the sacrifices made by our forefathers that have allowed us to be here today," Watkins said.

      Monday at 1 p.m. there will be a memorial service at the Fort to honor the soldiers who gave their lives to protect Fort Madison.