Sullivan, Clinton and Broadhead Trail 1779
Day 18: September 20th, 2000 Buffalo (Old Fort Niagara)
I will have breakfast at Denny’s again. Then I drive to the local post office to mail my postcards to Germany, which I wrote yesterday evening. The stamps are self-adhesive — our German post office could learn a lesson here.
Sign Old Fort Niagara, NY
I pass Niagara Falls and drive on to the north end where I reach Old Fort Niagara. The first fort was build in 1769 at this location. The French had their first outpost here called Fort Conti. In 1726 the “French Castle” has been built.
Haunted Well, French Castle, Old Fort Niagara, NY
This building still stands today. In the middle is a well which has its own story: It is said that a French nobleman had been beheaded and his body has been thrown into the well. Now at every full moon his body climbs out of the well to search for his head. Until today it is unknown if there is any truth in this story.
Draw Bridge, Old Fort Niagara, NY
French Castle, Old Fort Niagara, NY
During the French–Indian War in 1759 the British captured the fort after a 19 day siege. They also kept the fort during the whole American Revolution. But due to the peace treaty they had to surrender the fort in 1796 to the Americans. In 1813 the British captured the fort again. But in 1815 they had to surrender it for the second time to the Americans. This was also the last time that there has been a battle at this fort. From this time on it was only used as peaceful trading post. During both world wars the American soldiers have been trained here. The last army left the fort in 1963. Today the U.S. Coast Guard is the only military presence in this area. To remember the three nations who owned this fort once the three flags of these nations are now at the parade ground.
Warehouse, Old Fort Niagara, NY
It is best to follow the brochure if you want to visit the fort. It is available at the entrance. All buildings have numbers and you just have to follow the numbers. The tour starts with the warehouse, which has been built in 1762 by the British. Originally this building was two stories tall and was used as warehouse and later as stable and as accomodation. Today you can watch an interesting movie about the history of this fort.
Powder Magazine, Old Fort Niagara, NY
The next stop is the powder magazine, which has been erected by the French in 1757. Today this building exhibits old utilities and shows a description of the fort’s history.
Original Entrance, Old Fort Niagara, NY
I hike on to the gate of the five nations. This was the main entrance of the fort from 1756 to 1805. It was named by the French after the five Indian Nations of the Iroquis’ confederation. The gate had a protection by a draw bridge with an interesting mechanic to see. Additionally it has been protected by five cannons.
Redoubt, Old Fort Niagara, NY
The British built also a redoubt in 1770. It should give shelter to cannons and a guard–room for 20 soldiers. I hike on to the 18–Pounder–Battery and from their to the caved earthwalls of the fort.
Cannons at Redoubt, Old Fort Niagara, NY
On my way to the north redoubt I pass the parade ground with the flags of the three nations. The north redoubt built in 1771 shows the typical way how they were built at this time. Today you can climb up to the roof on stairs inside. From there you have great views of the lake and the entire fort.
After I reach the ground again I pass Millet Cross. It remembers of the harsh winter of 1687–1688 where only 12 out of 100 soldiers survived!
Rush Bagot Memorial, Old Fort Niagara, NY
To remember the army treaty between the British and the US the Rush–Bagot–Memorial has been erected in 1934. They were the main negotiater to achieve the open 400 mile border between the US and Canada.
Boulangerie, Old Fort Niagara, NY
French Castle, Old Fort Niagara, NY
From the memorial I walk to the French Castle, which I already mentioned at the beginning. In 1762 the British erected a bakery next to it. It replaced the one from the French which has been destroyed by a fire in 1761. The bakery was baking bread for the soldiers until 1870.
Reenactor, Old Fort Niagara, NY
Now I reach the last building on the tour, the block house. It was built in 1932 at the very same spot where the French have built one in 1757. Today the gift shop can be found inside. Near the block house is the daily musket demonstration. The narrator is again dressed in traditional clothing of this time. But at this location he has to do the whole job by himself. But it is the best I have seen so far. The narrator is easy going and always has some cool sayings. I really recommend to visit this demonstration.
Parade Ground, Three Flags, Old Fort Niagara, NY
All in all this visit has taken so much time that it doesn’t make sense to drive a long distance today. Therefore I decide to take a slightly different way back to Buffalo and stay again at my Motel 6. I drive a little bit to the east along the shore of Lake Ontario before I turn south to reach Buffalo again.
I arrive at the motel around half past six. I check in and put all my stuff again up to my room. As I want to have dinner at a different restaurant, I start my search again. This time I will try the Bennigan. I have already seen it the last days and now I have the chance to also give it a try. I also have a great dinner again, like in the other restaurants. Unfortuantely the price is also as high as in the other restaurants. But that’s the extra dollar for being in a tourist area. I drive back to my motel around half past eight.
- Old Fort Niagara
- Breakfast: Denny’s, Buffalo
- Dinner: Bennigan, Buffalo
- Motel: Motel 6, Buffalo
- Distance: 78 miles