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Photographer's Note

As the Niagara River works its way toward Lake Ontario and out of the gorge it completely changes character. After it passes the Niagara escarpment, it broadens a bit and becomes more placid. Right where it empties into Lake Ontario is Fort Niagara.

The history of Fort Niagara spans more than 300 years. French, British, and American flags have flown over this post. The fort itself is a military masterpiece for its times. Bordered on two sides by water (the Niagara River and Lake Ontario) and from land-approach by moats, and fortified firepower, it was indeed difficult to gain entry here unless the front door (pictured here) was open.

The first outpost was established at this site by the French in 1679 and was known as Fort Conti. It was destroyed by fire a few years later. The French had rebuilt the fort by the end of the 1600’s and it was renamed Fort Denonville. During this time the French built more permanent facilities there including the still-standing “French Castle”. In these early days the fort's main purpose was to protect settlers from Indian attacks, a mission it continued to provide even when the British took over in 1759 after a 19-day siege during the French And Indian War.

The British held the fort throughout the American Revolution, finally giving it up to the United States by treaty in 1796. During the War of 1812 it was recaptured by the British and ceded back to the United States in 1815. The War of 1812 was the fort's last armed conflict but it was an active military installation up through 1963. In fact, the United States Coast Guard still has a busy station here on the eastern shore of the Niagara River.

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Additional Photos by Linda Richters (richtersl) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 992 W: 583 N: 849] (3546)
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