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Fort Ontario – Oswego NY

Fort Ontario is a historic fort situated by the city of Oswego, NY. It is owned by the State of New York and operated as a museum known as Fort Ontario State Historic Site. It covers 36 acres and opened in 1839.

Visitors to Fort Ontario State Historic Site today will see the star-shaped fort dating to the early 1840’s with 1863 to 1872 improvements. The fort is currently open to the public and undergoing renovations to its two officer’s quarters, one is unfurnished but there is a video showing the rooms as they appeared with furniture. There are two Guardhouses, a Powder Magazine, Storehouse, Enlisted Men’s Barracks, and windswept ramparts featuring magnificent views of Lake Ontario and underground store casemates and galleries to tour.

The fourth and current Fort Ontario is built on the ruins of three earlier fortifications dating to the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War and War of 1812. It was occupied by the U.S. Army throughout World War II. From 1944 to 1946 the fort served as the only refugee camp in the United States for mostly Jewish victims from the Nazi Holocaust under an Executive Order from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. A post cemetery containing the graves of 77 officers, soldiers, women, and children who served at Fort Ontario in war and peace is situated on the grounds that are open year round from dawn to dusk.

In 1946 Fort Ontario was transferred to the State of New York and housed World War II veterans and their families until 1953. It opened as a state historic site in 1953.

Friends of Fort Ontario: The Friends of Fort Ontario is a not-for-profit organization that was formed in 1989 to encourage community participation in the programs, assist in the preservation and enhancement of the collection of artifacts and documents, develop and conduct educational programs, services and activities which will broaden the experience of a visitor, sponsor fundraising events which will lead to improvements and engage in other activities which are in harmony with the operation of the Fort Ontario State Historic Site. The Friends are an all-volunteer organization and strongly supports Fort Ontario visitation ...more>>

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