America's Best History Spotlight
On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.
Fort Niagara, New York
The French had been battling the British for supremacy in the fur trade, plus settlement in the northeast, in wars for who would control the area along what is today's Canada border. In 1720, they would build Fort Niagara on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, not knowing when it might see battle, but it would. Thirty-nine years later, the French and Indian War would come to its doorstep, and end with the British in control. That wasn't what they had been thinking upon its construction, or use. But, that's what history brought. Today, you can visit this awesome site, now a New York State Historic site, and walk the ramparts, tour the French Castle, and even see distant views of Toronto across the lake. You'll be transported back in time, a time of the fur trade, war with the British, and more. Image above: Old Fort Niagara, 1900, Detroit Photographic Company. Courtesy Library of Congress.
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Info, What's There Now, History Nearby
Fort Niagara, New York
Fort Niagara was built to keep the British at bay. Now, it welcomes the British, American, Canadian, and other public, over 750,000 tourists per year, to witness the walls that tell stories which began all the way back in the 1720's. So that history is three hundred years old, with the importance of the strategic site along the Niagara River and Lake Ontario understood by Native Americans, French traders, and New France.
They even understood the location's importance prior to construction, and completion, of Fort Niagara in 1726. In 1678, Fort Conti had been built by French explorers under the command of Rene'-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle; it was replaced by Fort Denonville, built under orders of the Marquis de Denonville, Governor of New France, on the same site in 1687. He posted one hundred soldiers there that winter; only twelve survived, so they tore the fort down the next September.
Image above: Fort Niagara looking over Lake Ontario, 2007, Adithyavr. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons. Below: Wife of a Soldier, 1860, T.Walker, published by Virtue, Emmins, and Company. Courtesy Library of Congress.
Where Is It
Fort Niagara is located at 102 Morrow Plaza, Youngstown, New York, 14174. The fort is off I-190 Exit 25B. That's just under seven hours from New York City; nearly five hours from Albany; three hours from Syracuse; forty minutes from Buffalo; and fourteen miles and twenty-four minutes from Niagara Falls proper. In the area of Niagara Falls from May to October, you can hop on the Discover Niagara Shuttle and be transported to Fort Niagara and other sites. For many, that's a good way to get there. And it's free.
What is There Now
There's so much here, including a sixteeen minute orientation film, the French Castle, living history, gift shop, spectacular views of Lake Ontario, original buildings from the fur trade and Indian history, redoubts, cannons, and more. There's also the Log Cabin Eatery where you can get some food. Old Fort Niagara is part of Fort Niagara State Park, which includes five hundred acres and the historic 1872 Lighthouse and other history points of interest.
When Open and How Much
A day pass is $15.00 for adults and $10.00 for children 6-12. Five and under are free. The fort is open year round, closed on major holidays, and may be closed certain days of the week. Call ahead for the current schedule. The Discover Niagara Shuttle is free.
Fees subject to change.
Old Fort Niagara
Fort Niagara State Park
Discover Niagara Shuttle
Well, it's understood that if you're in this area of New York, you're likely visiting the pleasures of Niagara Falls. On your way from the larger cities south, there's much to visit as well; think Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site in Buffalo, the national sites of Women's Rights and Harriet Tubman, Saratoga, Cooperstown, the unique Mohonk Mountain House, plus Fort Ticonderoga, if you're fort centric, and the Erie Canalway Heritage Corridor, if you're canal centric.
Great Book for the History Fan with Fifty Short Essays Telling the Story of American History.