DoNorth

Fort Blunder

During the Revolutionary War, the British invaded the United States, and during The War of 1812 they invaded New York. President Monroe decided New York needed defense. In response, Fort Montgomery was constructed in 1816 to strengthen the country’s military capabilities and to ensure the British would never launch another invasion on the United States again. President Madison’s administration named Fort Montgomery in honor of General Richard Montgomery, an American Revolutionary War hero. Fort Montgomery was placed on Island Point, a small peninsula protruding out into the northernmost end of Lake Champlain. When finished, the fort would be shaped like an…

During the Revolutionary War, the British invaded the United States, and during The War of 1812 they invaded New York. President Monroe decided New York needed defense.

In response, Fort Montgomery was constructed in 1816 to strengthen the country’s military capabilities and to ensure the British would never launch another invasion on the United States again.

President Madison’s administration named Fort Montgomery in honor of General Richard Montgomery, an American Revolutionary War hero.

Fort Montgomery was placed on Island Point, a small peninsula protruding out into the northernmost end of Lake Champlain. When finished, the fort would be shaped like an octagon and have 30-foot tall stone walls holding 125 cannons. No British ship could sail past without being bombarded under intense firepower.

There was one problem with the fort: it was accidentally built half a mile north of the Canadian border.

That’s how Fort Montgomery was dubbed “Fort Blunder.”

The 1783 Treaty of Paris declared that the border between New York and Quebéc was the 45th parallel. But, there was a misunderstanding about the location of the latitude line.

Once the U.S. government realized this mistake, it ceased construction and abandoned the site. The border issue was resolved in 1842 with the passing of the Webster-Ashburton Treaty.

Construction resumed in 1844, but the site was auctioned in 1926.  Over the years, the fort’s bricks and stones were used by local laborers to build other structures.

The property had a number of private owners before it was sold in 1983 to Canadian businessman Victor Podd, who utilized part of land for his family business, Powertex Corporation.

During the 1980s, Podd tried to sell the fort and its accompanying land to New York State. To no avail, the land still remains posted for sale currently at $2.95 million.

For visitors crossing the Lake Champlain Bridge or traveling on water, Fort Montgomery remains an iconic part of upstate New Yorks history.

— by Kiana Myers and Safire R. Sostre

Issue 10 : Winter/Spring 2018

0 comments Show discussion Hide discussion

Add a comment

More in Blog