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This photo shows the same gun embrasure that the woman on a ladder is standing before in Part IV. The legend on the back of that photo tells us she entered the fort through this opening. It is located at the lower level of the southwest bastion, facing north into the moat. Photo by the author.

 Following Fort Blunder...

Fort Montgomery
Rouses Point,
New York
 

-Part VI e-
Conclusion
A Tour of the Ruins

By James P. Millard

 

Entering Bastion C

In many ways, Bastion C is the most interesting part of the ruins. Largely intact, it faces not only the lake but the western, or landward, side across what was the moat. Here, what is left of the fort's southern wall joins with the largely demolished gorge section.

Within this bastion, we could almost imagine the fort as being whole. Yes, the stone flooring was gone, since only the sub-floor remained the semi-circular traverse circles for the massive gun carriages were missing. But we did find largely intact walls and embrasures. One of the embrasures, designed for a 32 pounder or a 10" Rodman, still had the massive iron bands from the newer type of masonry embrasures intact.

Here was located one of the beautiful (and marvelously designed) spiral staircases. All have deteriorated badly, the one in the best condition is located near the Bastion D. It appears the steps were simply cut off just beyond where they entered the wall. Here, also, was located a powder magazine, and the fort's ovens.

     
Above: the ovens at Fort Montgomery

The ovens still retain some of the firebrick that lined their interior, although it is obvious that much of it has been carted off over the years. Each is filled with trash and debris. It is doubtful these massive ovens ever held a fire.

Click on the thumbnails to see a full-size image.

         
Above: views within Bastion C. The large, roofless room with the curious, stepped beam
is the first room in the west wall, adjoining the bastion. The gun emplacements in these photos were
for 24-pounder flank howitzers.

Our hopes of finding an intact spiral staircase were dashed early on. Here, in the best-preserved section of the fort was one of the remaining stairwells. Alas, it was barely recognizable as a stairway. The long stone steps had been either pulled out of the wall or cut off. Grass grew from dirt collected in piles atop those pieces that remained. Vandals had left their unsightly graffiti along the curved walls.

The spiral staircase and Bastion C exterior
 


A spiral staircase. These beautifully designed structures proved an easy mark for the demolition crews.


Top, photos by Roger Harwood and the author. Above left: Photo courtesy of Ralph Gilpin.

Above: views of the western side of the SW bastion.
This is the side that faced the moat. Three photos by the author.

As we returned to the gorge section, we were again reminded that the bulk of this once-mighty fort is no more. The intact bastion empties into a large, roofless room, the southernmost end of the gorge section. Again we were faced with the devastation wrought during the 1930's demolition work. This room has mostly intact lower walls, but the entire top story has been removed. A curious, ladder-shaped beam has been propped up against a north wall.

Entering once again the open arches of what was the west wall, we were nearing the end of our tour. Details we had missed earlier became apparent. A huge nest of sticks, home to an osprey or maybe even an eagle, sits in one of the second story fireplaces. We were fascinated by the lathe work hanging from the arches above. Large chunks of plaster clung precariously in several places. We were reminded that this desolate area used to house a large number of rooms intended for the quartering of Officers.

Our tour of this fascinating edifice had ended.

Did you enjoy this material? For more information and some wonderful vintage photos of Fort Montgomery, we highly recommend you visit Charles Barney's Fort Montgomery Collection page here on America's Historic Lakes!


Click here to go back to Part VId  Click here to go back to Part I 


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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