Scenic USA - New York

Old Fort Niagara

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Old Fort Niagara State Park - Youngstown, New York

Photos by Gerri Jones
Gerri Jones Photography

     With more maneuverable sailing ships, compasses, astrolabes, and a strong desire for economic growth, 15th century Europeans began to explore the world. As news of a new world spread across Europe, these seafaring nations all scrambled to explore the Americas. After many attempts to establish New World colonies, Samuel de Champlain recognized the advantages of good relations the Hurons, creating an alliance against the Iroquois Confederacy in the area of today's New York State. Overcoming many challenges with settlements and a competing fur trade in the northeast, the foreign population of New France reached 700 by the mid 1600s.
      As King Williamís War and Queen Anne's War spread to America, Native Americans were drawn into decades of fighting. One of the oldest reminders of the French Colonial Period is found at the mouth of the Niagara River. Resting on a bluff overlooking Lake Ontario, Old Fort Niagara was built on a 1679 French outpost, taking shape in 1726. Built to appear as a trading post in hopes to quell Iroquois suspicions, the fort was actually a well designed citadel. Old Fort Niagara at Sunset Illustrating the struggles to control this section of the country, Fort Niagara was occupied by French, Great Britain and United States troops over its 300 year history.
     Today, visitors may tour Fort Niagara, often referred to as The Castle. Restored to its 1727 appearance, the fort is operated by the not-for-profit Old Fort Niagara Association. Here at this New York State Historic site, visitors may enjoy living history events, the Fort's historic exhibits and educational programs. Relying on admission fees, gift shop sales, grants and donations, Old Fort Niagara is nearly self-sustaining and has become one of the most popular attractions in the area.

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