Dressed in cozy warm, modern gore-tex, fleece and synthetic clothing, it seemed a little funny venturing into Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown, New York.
A place that epitomizes history and originally used by Native American for hunting and fishing, the site has had it’s fair share of violence over the past few hundred years! The French and British both occupied this area at times and today is nicely restored, helping to showcase what life was like during the War of 1812, the American Revolution and before.
Before visiting the actual fort, you need to pay at the Visitor Center, which also happens to have a gift shop and museum, with many old artefacts. It serves as a great introduction to what you are about to see when you head over to the fort itself.
Located along the Niagara River and Lake Ontario, the most impressive building here is the French Castle. Built back in the 1750s, this is the original building of the fort and was purposefully built to look like a trading post, instead of a military building, so that the Iroquois Indians wouldn’t get too suspicious.
Walking around the rooms inside the French Castle at Fort Niagara, you can envision soldiers mulling about, cooking, sleeping and guarding the fort. As I visited during winter, it seemed to give it an even more authentic feeling, with the desolation and quietness of the complex helping to let the history of the place sink in.
Of course, my visit had to include a rifle firing demonstration too!
Apparently the fort often hosts class trips, not just for day visits but for overnight experiences as well. I thought that would have been a fun experience, to eat, sleep and live in a fort like soldiers did hundreds of years ago.