I Have Visited a Castle!

Well….not “really”…but, close!

Those clever French built this impressive building in 1726….the building was made to resemble a “house” so as to pacify the Iroquois Indians. The structure, however, was built to withstand any attack from the natives. It wasn’t actually termed “castle” until the 1800’s.

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Upon entering the “castle” which was the first structure built at Fort Niagara, one sees this 25′ deep well. In the 1800’s, it was filled in and its use was discontinued. However, it was rediscovered in the 1900’s and brought back to life when the building was restored to its 1700’s appearance.

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The building offered a trading post….not too hard to comprehend, since our animated Redcoat (the young man mentioned two posts ago) revealed to us that officers were allowed to have their wives accompany them here. We all know how women love to shop, right?

There was a downside to officers’ wives living here. In the event that the officer died from battle or even perhaps illness, the wife was given two weeks….yes, two *weeks*….to remarry another officer, or she was turned out of the fort to find her own way! Rather scary…

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Known as the boulangerie, this was the French military kitchen…

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Being a very strategic location, the British (even more clever than the French in that they befriended the Iroquois and then used their help to defeat the French!) fought the French and took over the fort in 1759….

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This crest is found on every building in the fort. (why did the British use French to state “God and my right”?)

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I took this photo, as Mark was so amazed at the structure of this building….the walls are so prefect and perfectly straight. It seems hard to imagine in a building nearly 300 years old!

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On the second floor, there is a Jesuit Chapel. This, I read, was the earliest church established in the nation.

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This would be the quarters of the commanding officer. He was provided with a rather comfortable room, comparatively speaking. He was also surrounded by more “creature comforts” than the other men…

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Commanding officer’s dining room….

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Officer’s room…

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On the top floor of the “castle” is a plaque in memory of Fanny Doyle. She was the wife of an officer who, during “tremendous cannoning” during the War of 1812,(America versus the British) worked alongside the troops, loading cannons.  She is considered a heroine of the war.

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The expansive third floor of the “castle”….

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Complete with keyhole-shaped windows that were just the right size to allow a muskat to fit through….

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In descending down to the second floor, we came across a room where troops slept….

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It is really so impressive to take this step back in time and see such key “building blocks” in the history of America.  The fort also has a gift shop and wonderfully informative museum on its premises. Ben and Mark went in and watched a movie about the history of Fort Niagara.  As they were watching the movie, “troops” began moving in! This, however, was a Boy Scout troop! The fort does “educational” services, including allowing this Boy Scout troop to spend a night in the castle! How cool would THAT be?

The downside to this excursion was that although the temperatures were not exceedingly hot, the humidity was astronomical!

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No filters on that photo…just 100% “Yankee” humidity! It is a strange contrast to visit such an old historical sight and see modern day watercraft passing by!

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