Fallen Timbers Battlefield

Toledo Time Travels  |  By Tedd Long  |  08/14/2019 9:00 am

On August 20, 1794, near what is now Maumee, a major event in American history took place: the Battle of Fallen Timbers. Here, American forces commanded by General Anthony Wayne, defeated a confederacy of American Indians, ending British territorial claims and sealing the fate of the Northwest Territory. Fortunately, our community has invested wisely in preserving its military history and we can still explore the 225-year old story of Fallen Timbers in the 21st century.

To fully experience the Fallen Timbers narrative, plan to set aside a few hours to visit three very unique sites in Northwest Ohio: The historic Fallen Timbers Battlefield off Jerome Road, the impressive Fallen Timbers Monument, overlooking the mighty Maumee off of US 24, and the site of Fort Miamis, a British fortification that played a key role in both the Battle of Fallen Timbers and the 1813 siege of Fort Meigs.

You'll probably want to start with the battlefield (located north of U.S. 24 west of I-475) to put things into context. You could start in Defiance and work your way down the Maumee to take a deeper dive into this important historical era but that's for another day. The battlefield site consists of 185 acres of woods and open fields but the highlight is an amazing 1.5-mile path called the Northwest Territory Trail that loops through a wooded area and over a ravine where the 1794 battle took place. Along the way, you will encounter some really cool interpretive areas providing information about the conflict.

On the other side of U.S. 24, just south of the battlefield, is the Fallen Timbers Monument. A bike/pedestrian bridge connects the two sites. This handsome monument, which honors Wayne, the Kentucky Militia and the American Indian Confederacy, sits on a 9-acre site on a bluff overlooking the Maumee River. For 70 years it was believed to be the site of the battle of Fallen Timbers but a 1995 archaeological study confirmed the battle took place a quarter mile west. The beautiful park surrounding the Fallen Timbers monument is quiet and restful. In addition to the monument, the park includes a small boulder said to be used by the Ottawa Chief Turkey Foot to rally his warriors at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. When the fighting had ended the wounded Chief was returned to the rock where he died. Generations of the Ottawa Nation have made pilgrimages to this ground honoring their Chief, leaving behind their gift of tobacco upon the rock. 

The third part of the Fallen Timbers trilogy is Fort Miamis, located approximately 5 miles east of the battlefield at Michigan and River Road in Maumee. This was the site of a British fort where the Native Americans fled following the battle, only to be shut out by the British. Remnants of the actual fort’s earthworks are still visible; the south side of the fort falls off steeply to the Maumee River. 

So how important was the Battle of Fallen Timbers? The Library of Congress website, "Local Legacies" puts it this way: "The Battle of Fallen Timbers...is among the most historic conflicts fought on American soil. Some historians say that only the Revolutionary War's Battle of Lexington, Virginia, and Civil War's Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, outrank Fallen Timbers in significance." No doubt about it, the Battle of Fallen Timbers trilogy should be on everyone's local history itinerary. 

More information for planning your visit is available at www.metroparks.com or visit the Fallen Timbers Battlefield Preservation Commission's site.

Plan Your Visit

What: Fallen Timbers Battlefield & Fort Miamis

Where: 4949 Jerome Road; Maumee, OH 43537; 419-360-9187

Hours: Open 7 a.m. until dark every day.

For the Kids: The kids will enjoy the walking trail. It is a great way to explore the story of Fallen Timbers.  

Cost: Free.

Parking: Parking is free and located close to the site.

For more local history, check out my history blog at www.holytoledohistory.com.