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This aerial photo, taken in the spring of 2002, clearly shows the difference between the north and south sections of the fort. Contractors demolished the entire north and east walls for construction materials to be used on the New York-Vermont bridge in 1936 and 1937. What little remains of the north face is buried under tons of fill and debris.

  Following Fort Blunder...

Fort Montgomery
Rouses Point, New York

-Part VIc-
A Tour of the Ruins, continued

By James P. Millard

Little remains of Fronts I, IV and V

There wasn't much to see along the northern end. The entire wall had been removed by the Weston Company crews in the '30's. This area was used as a dumping ground for tons of unwanted fill, nature has largely reclaimed much of this area, there are large trees and much thick brush. We took a few photos and walked across the parade to where the curtain V and bastion A (east) used to stand.

Left: Views of the gorge from the area where the north face used to stand. What little remains in this area is covered with thick overgrowth. There are some large trees that must have sprouted shortly after demolition stopped in the 1930's. Click on the thumbnails to see a full-size image.    

The footings for curtain V (northeast) are buried under demolition debris. Just before the ruins of Bastion A however, one can find what is left of this curtain. It was fascinating to see four and five rows of stone, neatly cropped at the top. What was even more interesting was the sight of an occasional gun embrasure with its top arch just below our feet. Many of these embrasures were faced with red brick, they stand out clearly in the stone and undergrowth.

We then approached the location where demolition had begun in earnest back in 1936. Here, at the north end of the Bastion B, the wall abruptly begins again. Here, ironically, is the very spot where the long dock had been built to accommodate barges bringing stone for construction. Here, also was the only other entrance to the fort, a large door to the lake. It was against this wall that Weston Company barges were docked and loaded with crushed stone for the bridge.

Note: the photos of Fort Montgomery ruins were taken during an escorted tour courtesy of the property owners. A liability waiver was required and we toured the ruins at our own risk.
Trespassing on the property is strictly forbidden.

Curtain I and Bastion B
(Click on the thumbnails to see a large image. Note: some graffiti-laden images have been slightly retouched.)

       
Above: left to right, Two views of gun embrasures almost at ground level. View along the lake south. Along the east wall, SE bastion in the distance. Powertex employees Ann Thurber, George Bombardier and Calvin Hilliker explore the area around the east curtain with Roger Harwood. Click on the thumbnails to see a full-size image.

       
Above: left to right, View along truncated east curtain toward east bastion. Ann Thurber, George Bombardier, and Roger Harwood at the east curtain. Center: View of east bastion location from the top of the SE bastion. Collapsed ceiling near the SE bastion. View inside the lower section of the SE bastion. Graffiti is very common in this area.

         
Above: left to right, another view of the SE bastion from along the east wall. This is the spot where Weston Company barges would dock to be loaded with crushed limestone. Demolition began here and moved northwest. Two views from within the SE bastion. One shows the flank howitzer embrasure on the bottom level, the other was built to house a 32 pounder. View north from the top of the SE bastion. Click on the thumbnails to see a full-size image.

       
Above: left to right, the SE bastion. View from within the lower level of the SE bastion. The end (or beginning) of wall demolition. A Totten casemate within the SE bastion. Click on the thumbnails to see a full-size image.

We were entering the best-preserved section of the aging fort. Calvin Hilliker showed us how to climb the narrow pathway into Bastion B. Immediately, we were struck by the abundance of graffiti. It covered most flat spaces on the walls. It was discouraging to find so much of it, yet it did not dampen our enthusiasm. We were finally seeing some semblance of what this great edifice really looked like when it stood as a defensive bulwark to invasion.

Continued here...
Click here to go back to Part VIb  Click here to return to Part I  Click here to continue on to Part VId
-Part VId-
A Tour of the Ruins, continued


Note: Fort Montgomery is privately-owned.
The Fort grounds are posted and trespassing is strictly prohibited.
Please do not trespass on the ruins of the fort.
 

Sources/Notes:

The author is grateful to the Clinton County Historical Association, Powertex, Inc., Feinberg Library and the late Ralph Gilpin for permission to publish images from their collections.
 

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