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Happy Birthday, Fort Stanwix!

Oh, how we love Fort Stanwix!

We're Here

Fort Stanwix Scenery

Entre

Fort Stanwix, in Rome, NY, was built during the French and Indian War, to provide protection for “The Carry.” The Carry was a trail on dry ground between the popular waterways, Wood Creek and the Mohawk River. It was so named because settlers and traders had to hop out of their boats when they reached the end of one waterway and carry their boat and goods to the next waterway. The fort was built by the British, back when we were a British colony. It was named after British General John Stanwix. Americans renamed it Fort Schuyler, after the popular General Phillip Schuyler (who was Alexander Hamilton’s father-in-law, by the way). General Schuyler already had a number of forts named after him (including one in Utica), so the name was dropped and everyone called the place Fort Stanwix.

Legend has it that the first real flag of the United States of America was flown here.

Marching

Flag at Fort Stanwix

Salute to Flag

Fort Stanwix was one of the targets of the British “three pronged attack” during the Revolutionary War. The British planned to invade and conquer Albany, NY, our state capital. In doing so, the British would slit the 13 Colonies in half: the plan was a brilliantly devised one of divide and conquer.

NY Three Pronged Attack 1777

Through the hand of Divine Providence, the British plans went awry. The British army led by General St. Leger coming from the west were stifled at Fort Stanwix. The British army led by General Burgoyne was sabatoged and captured in Saratoga, NY. And the British army led by General Howe that was supposed to come up from Philadelphia from the south never even got started. New York proved much more resistant than the British thought– after this event, the French joined the Americans and the British scampered down to the Southern Colonies to try to conquer there. You can read more about the three-pronged attack in what is considered the “bloodiest battle of the American Revolution” here.

After the war, the fort was abandoned. It fell into disrepair, and the city of Rome was built over it. A revival of interest in our historic heritage spurned the interest of people in the city. The Fort was declared a national historic park in 1935. The site was excavated and rebuilt in 1976, America’s Bicentennial Year.

This weekend, Fort Stanwix is celebrating her 75th birthday, with parades, reenactments, music, and more. This is one of the BEST national parks we have ever visited. We try to go every year or so. Unfortunately, I will miss my visit this year; we are renovating our home and are on a tight deadline. If you want to visit, see the official Fort Stanwix website at www.nps.gov/fost, or call 315-338-7730.

Happy birthday, Fort Stanwix! You are an example of the tenacity and faith of our golden founding era.

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About the Author

I've been traveling throughout New York State since I got the travel bug after touring the Herkimer Home on a school field trip as a youngster. We've been blogging about our travels since 2006 and have visited over half of New York's 62 counties so far.

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