George along the river wall of Old Fort Niagara. October 25, 2008.
In 2002, when Betsy and I went to Niagara Falls the first time, we stayed on the Canadian side of the river. One day we drove the length of the river from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario and stopped at the Fort George historical site. From Fort George we could see Old Fort Niagara on the American side of the river.
When we visited Kelly and Chuck last month we had a chance to visit Old Fort Niagara. Actually we learned that there are two forts sharing the same site. Old Fort Niagara, the historic site, dates back to 1726. During the Civil War the garrison expanded beyond the walls of the fort and became the “New” Fort Niagara. The last army units were withdrawn from “New” Fort Niagara in 1963.
The French were the first to occupy the site of Old Fort Niagara, starting in 1679. Their first two posts were short-lived, but in 1726 they erected a permanent fortification. The fortification, the “French Castle”, was designed to resemble a large trading house and is the oldest structure at Fort Niagara.
The British gained control of Fort Niagara in 1759, during the French and Indian War, after a nineteen-day siege. The British held Fort Niagara throughout the American Revolution but were forced, by treaty, to yield it to the United States in 1796. Fort Niagara was recaptured by the British in 1813, but was ceded to the United States a second time in 1815 at the end of the War of 1812.
The War of 1812 was Fort Niagara’s last armed conflict — it served as a border post after that time. The fort was restored between 1926 and 1934 and is now open to the public.
To see more of our visit to Old Fort Niagara click HERE.