Veterans can get free look at Old Fort Niagara’s history this weekend

YOUNGSTOWN, N.Y. (WIVB) — The French castle at Old Fort Niagara was built back in 1726. It was used to control access to the upper Great Lakes, and this weekend the history there is in the spotlight.

Old Fort Niagara played a role in Colonial Wars in North America and history dating back more than 300 years ago.

“A British solider was expected to fire their musket 4 times in a minute. So that’s something that they would exercise, when we say exercise back in that period it means to drill,” said Elliott.

“There’s been military activity here since 1678,” said Scott Elliott, Old Fort Niagara Military Interpreter.

“We’re highlighting the somewhat later history of the Fort on Veterans day, World War 1. A lot of people don’t know much about World War 1 or Fort Niagara’s role in that conflict,” said Bob Emerson, Old Fort Niagara Executive Director.

Around the time when the U.S. declared war on Germany in 1917, Old Fort Niagara was used as a place to train ROTC candidates.

“There was a prisoner war camp here in 1944 and 1945. There was an induction center in fact a lot of recruits that entered the army from Western New York would come here through Fort Niagara,” said Emerson.

Each part of the French castle like the trade room, tells a story.

“When the French built this building it was designed to house about 40 soldiers. And one of the things that was important to the French on the Great Lakes was the fur trade,” said Emerson.

“It’s just a gem of a place we have in Western New York that most people should come and see,” said Elliott.

The U.S. Coast Guard is now the only military presence at Old Fort Niagara.

For more information about a history event happening on Saturday that is free for Veterans, go to the following link: https://www.oldfortniagara.org/calendar/list/current_page,1/per_page,10

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