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Fort Niagara State Park


Fort Niagara State Park

Fort Niagara State Park

Fort Niagara State Park is located in the Town of Porter in Niagara County, New York, USA. Historic Fort Niagara is located within the park. The park is northwest of Youngstown, New York near the northern terminus of the Robert Moses State Parkway and is in the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area.


  • History 1
  • Amenities 2
  • 1872 Lighthouse 3
  • Recent events 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


A brief history of the area now known as Fort Niagara State Park.[1]

  • 1678 - Fort Conti is built by French explorers (which burned to the ground less than a year later)
  • 1687 - Fort Denonville on the former site of Fort Conti
  • 1726 - The French built the two story “Maison a Machicoulis” (referred to today as the “French Castle”).
  • 1893 - A US Coast Guard Station was established on the bank of the Niagara below the Fort which is still in service today
  • 1938 - The Officer’s Club building opens, replacing the original structure that was destroyed by fire. The design is inspired by the French Castle in the Old Fort
  • 1940-1943 - The 28th Infantry Regiment was moved south to train and Fort Niagara then served as a reception center for new recruits
  • 1941 - The Fort was granted from the State of New York to the United States.
  • 1944-1946 - Fort Niagara served as a camp for German prisoners of war
  • 1965-1966 - The garrison buildings were demolished and in 1965, the development to a State Park started. Of the 100 buildings on the base, most were demolished. The State of New York took over the demilitarized site and Fort Niagara State Park was created.


The park offers picnic tables and pavilions, hiking, a playground and 18 soccer fields, a pool, recreation programs, a nature trail, tennis, sledding, snowshoe trails, cross-country skiing, waterfowl hunting in season, fishing and a food concession. There are two boat launches on the lower Niagara River. The park includes the Old Fort Niagara Historic Site. Tom Loftin Johnson painted five murals at The Officer's Club which commemorate the history of the 28th regiment from its founding in 1905.[2]

During the summer, a state park naturalist provides nature programs, trail hikes and manages the natural history exhibits in the park's nature center.[3]

The skyline of Toronto, 30 miles (48 km) to the north, is visible across Lake Ontario from the park on reasonably clear days. The tops of the CN Tower and other skyscrapers can be seen, though the Canadian shore itself is hidden below the horizon at that location.[4]

1872 Lighthouse

The current lighthouse in Fort Niagara State Park, constructed in 1872, is actually the 3rd built at Fort Niagara. It was constructed by the United States government after the previous wooden one was damaged by a tornado. It is an octagonal limestone tower featuring a storage room at the base, that used to hold oil. The Fresnel lens from the old tower was used and the tower was lit for the first time on June 10, 1872.[1]

In 1900 the tower was raised an additional 11 ft. A watch room was added between the lamp and the limestone tower. Lifting the lamp the extra feet extended the reach of the light to 25 miles. Adjacent to the lighthouse is the keeper’s quarters which is a colonial-style home that now serves as a private residence.[1]

The U.S. Coast Guard ran the light until 1993, when nearby tree overgrowth began to inhibit the light’s visibility from the Niagara River and Lake Ontario. A modern steel beacon tower was erected near the Coast Guard station and the Old Fort Niagara Association runs the 1872 tower as a museum and gift shop. The original Fresnel lens is now on display in the Fort’s museum.[1]

Recent events

In 2015, as part of Governor Cuomo and New York State's plan to invest $72 million in their state parks, $2,500,000 has been pledged to modernize the bathhouses at Fort Niagara's swimming areas. Addtionally, Fort Niagara will share $600,000 across Artpark, Four Mile Creek State Park, Golden Hill State Park and Wilson-Tuscarora State Park for fishing docks and related fishing access projects.[5]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Fort Niagara Historical Timeline". Retrieved 30 October 2015. 
  2. ^ The Officers Club, at Fort Niagara State Park, accessed December 2011
  3. ^ Fort Niagara State Park Nature Center
  4. ^ Lund, Ken. "Toronto Skyline (Tough to See Today), Fort Niagara State Park, New York". Niagara County, New York [photo album]. Flickr. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  5. ^ "NY parks to get $72M in upgrades". WGRZ. April 21, 2015. Retrieved 30 October 2015. 

External links

  • New York State Parks: Fort Niagara State Park
  • Virtual Tour of Fort Niagara State Park
  • , December 1934, pp.867-869Popular Mechanics"The FORT of FOUR Nations"

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