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The Old Stone Fort was originally built in 1772 and was a Reformed High Dutch (German) Church. If its intention was to be a house of worship, it was destined to also have another very different role. It was fortified during the American Revolutionary War and briefly fought off a British attack. Today it is the main attraction of the Old Stone Fort Museum complex and a place where one can learn about the transition of the USA from colonial to modern history.

Another place to learn about the important role of New York during the Revolutionary War is at Fort Ticonderoga which is today one of the most famous landmarks of the war. Ticonderoga is worth visiting not only for history buffs but also for sci-fi nerds. While in Ticonderoga, travelers can visit everything from the detailed Star Trek: Original Series state set replica to a Fort that made history.

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From Place Of Worship To Revolutionary Fort

The Old Stone Fort was built by the congregation of the Palatine German settlement of Fuchs Dorf (Fox Town) as a church. Visitors can still see parishioners' names chiseled into the stones and descendants of the early settlers continue to live in the valley today.

Fun Fact: German Was Not Nearly Made The Official Language Of The United States

The Old Stone Fort is located in Schoharie, a village in Schoharie County in Upstate New York. It was fortified with a barricade in 1777 and was initially garrisoned by the 5th NY Continental Regiment.

  • Built: 1772
  • Affiliation: Reformed High Dutch (German) Church

It was one of three forts in along the Schoharie River. Around half an acre was enclosed by the stockade, and it has blockhouses mounting cannons at two corners.

Related: Fort Delaware Is One Of New Castle's Most Notorious Historical Haunts, And It's Open To Visitors

The Old Stone Fort's Role In The Revolutionary War

Students of the American War of Independence will note that Mel Gibson's 2000 movie The Patriot greatly underplays the size and role of loyalists and Native Americans during the war (as well as countless other historical failings in the movie).

In 1780, the Old Stone Fort was attacked by a force of around 800 loyalists and Native Americans led by Sir John Johnson and Mohawk Capt. Joseph Brant. They briefly attacked the church-fort before continuing north to the Mohawk Valley.

Learn about much more decisive engagements at the Saratoga National Historic Park not far away from the Old Stone Fort. Then take a closer look at the church and one can still see a cannonball hole in the cornice at the rear of the church.

Related: Historic Tours: Before NYC Was English, It Was Dutch

After the war, the stockade was removed in 1785, and it returned to its intended function of being a church. It was used as a church until 1844 and was sold to the state in 1857.

During the Civil War and until 1873, it was used as an armory. In 1888, it was transformed into a museum.

Visiting The Old Stone Fort Museum Complex Today

Today it is the central attraction of the Old Stone Fort Museum complex. The Complex also includes the William Badgely Museum and carriage house, the Warner house, the Greek Revival home, the Jackson law office, a one-room schoolhouse, and the Shaeffer-Ingold Dutch barn (not all of these are associated with the Revolutionary War).

For the last 125 years, it has taught the history of the first Dutch and German settlers in the valley as well as the native Americans.

Take time to browse the many exhibits dating back to the 1700s. One of the more exciting exhibits is a British cannonball that was recovered from a roof beam during renovations in the 1830s.

Another highlight is a double-barreled rifle that has been attributed to the marksman Timothy Murphy was stationed at the fort.

  • Opening Hours: 10.00 am to 4.00 pm (Weekends Noon to 5.00 pm)
  • Admission Fee 2022: Free (By Donation)
  • Admission Fee 2023: Adults $10, Children $3 (ages 5-17)

Finally, a research library is there and is available to historians and genealogists interested in the history of the county. Come on Tuesdays and there is even a genealogist on site to help with in-person research, although it is advised to make an appointment.

Admission to the research library is $25 (it also includes access to the museum itself). The library hours are subject to volunteer and staff availability.