Quick Links

When in Rome, visit Fort Stanwix. Fort Stanwix is a reconstructed colonial fort in Upstate New York, never Rome, NY. It served an important role in blocking British attempts to conquer the northern colonies. It is a great destination for families and those with interest in history to go back in time and learn how America was born.

Many of the battles of the War of Independence were fought in New York. Another must-see Revolutionary fort in Upstate New York is Fort Ticonderoga - it is one of New York's most famous Revolutionary landmarks. Perhaps the most famous East Coast American fort to discover is Fort McHenry - the site of the famous Star-Spangled Banner of the War of 1812.


Fort Stanwix In Two Colonial Wars

Fort Stanwix was first built by the British in 1758 under the preview of British General John Stanwix. It was completed in 1762 and was intended to guard a portage known as the Oneida Carry during the French and Indian Wars.

For centuries the Oneida Carry Place has been a vital link for those traveling from the Great Lakes to the ocean by water. It is a six-mile portage that connects the Mohawk River and Wood Creek. An ancient trail connected the Mohawk River and Wood Creek for thousands of years, long before the arrival of the Europeans.

During the War of Independence, it was captured and rebuilt by Continental forces. It was then successfully defended by American troops in 1777. The British troops came down from Canada via Lake Ontario and hoped to reach the Hudson River.

Fort Stanwix is known as the "fort that never surrendered" and was commanded by Col. Peter Gansevoort during the prolonged siege of 1777. The British army was composed of British, German, Loyalist, Canadian, and American Indian troops and warriors and was commanded by British Gen. Barry St. Leger.

The defeat of the British there had a knock-on effect and helped the Americans defeat the larger British army in the Saratoga campaign. After the British follow-on defeats at the battles at Oriskany, Bennington, and Saratoga, the British were forced to abandon their efforts to take the northern colonies.

  • Built: Between 1758 and 1762
  • Wars: French And Indian Wars & War Of Independence

The fort was finally abandoned in 1781.

Related: Visit Japan's UNESCO-Listed, Most Popular, And Largest Castle (With Nine Lives)

As A National Monument And Reconstruction

The legislation enabling the creation of the national monument was created by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935. In the 60s, the city leaders of Rome lobbied for the fort to be reconstructed (they hoped it would help revitalize downtown Rome). Eventually, the NPS was reluctantly persuaded to rebuild the fort.

The plan for the fort was completed in 1967, archeological research was carried out in the early 1970s, and the work on rebuilding the fort began in 1974 and finished in 1976. It was opened to the public just in time for the United States Bicentennial celebration in 1976.

  • Reconstructed: Between 1974 and 1976

The fort is constructed out of earth-and-timber-clad reinforced concrete. It has three freestanding buildings within it. The new visitor center was added in 2005.

Related: Is Fort du Saint-Eynard The Most Impressive French Alpine Fort?

Planning A Visit To The Fort Stanwix National Monument

Today visitors can tour the Fort Stanwix National Monument, which has been rebuilt by the National Park Service. Much of the park is self-guided, but the NPS does hold regular special events and programs (so plan one's visit around their calendar).

Outside the monument are three short trails encircling the fort for visitors to explore. The Marinus Willett Collections Management and Education Center preserves the monument's 485,000 artifacts and documents.

  • Address: 100 North James St. Rome, NY 13440
  • Entry Fee: Free

The fort's visitor center is also only open seasonally. It is closed on Sundays and Mondays in the fall and fully closed in the winter. The grounds are open from dawn to dusk daily and are accessible for guided and self-guided programs. In the winter months, the fort is only accessible through ranger-led programs.

  • Summer Hours: 9:30 AM–4:30 PM (Daily)
  • Fall Hours: 9:30 AM–4:30 PM (Tue-Sat) September 24 to December 17
  • Winter Closure: December 18 to April 15

Take time to browse the exhibits, artifacts, and park films at the fort. There are several videos at the visitor center that detail the history of the American Revolution in the Mohawk Valley. They also have a new exhibit entitled "Women & the Military: What is Service?"