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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...
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.
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.
Curtain I and Bastion B
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.
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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