Living History at Fort Niagara Reenactments

Every year thousand os school children arrive home after the first week of school bemoaning the fact that they have to take a history class. The main reason for all of this complaining is because they feel that history and having to memorize all those laws and dates is boring.

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But history can be made interesting, informative, and fun. Each year thousands of volunteers and merchants participate in historical reenactments where they live, work, and fight as the French, British, Colonists and American did many years ago.

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On June 3 and 4 over 200 volunteers met at Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown, New York – where the Niagara River metes Lake Ontario – to recreate the days of the American Revolution.

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Originally built in 1726 by the French, the Fort has been occupied by a number of different countries throughout its history – France, England, and the United States. During the days of the Revolutionary War the Fort was occupied by the British.

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Some 200 Colonists and their families camped outside of the Fort on the State Park ground while the British camped inside the Fort. And while Fort Niagara never saw a conflict on its grounds in the fight for American Independence, American and British forces gathered on the ground outside the Fort walls for a pitched battle to demonstrate to the gathered crowd upon the rampart what it would have been like to fight during the days of George Washington, Paul Revere, and the ball and musket.

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Along with the battle were artillery demonstrations illustrating how the muskets were loaded and fired, a geographer (cartographer) was present to demonstrate map making, and there were merchants were on had to sell useful and souvenir items from the colonial period that included a tent with all the materials required to sew a period costume that included a tailor who was making a British officer’s uniform by hand – a task he said would take him about three weeks to complete.

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The next reenactment at Fort Niagara will take place during the Independence Day weekend – July 1-3 – for the French and Indian War when the grounds inside the Fort will be filled with French, British, and Colonial reenactors.

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