Historic Sites and Buildings
The log walls of Fort Augusta, constructed in 1756-57 at the confluence of the North and West Branches of the Susquehanna, helped protect the Pennsylvania frontier against French invasion. During the War for Independence the fort was a base for men and supplies, headquarters of American forces in the upper Susquehanna Valley. Afterward, its usefulness ended, it fell into ruins, except for the commanding officer's quarters where the former commander, Col. Samuel Hunter, continued to reside after obtaining title to the property. This structure burned in 1852 and was replaced by the colonel's grandson with the present Hunter Mansion. In 1920 the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania acquired land, including the well and powder magazine, the only surviving features of the original fort. Eleven years later the tract was expanded to include the Hunter Mansion, which serves now as a museum. A carefully researched one-sixth scale model of the fort has been placed in front of the mansion.
Fort Mifflin preserves much of its character as an example of 18th-century military engineering, despite modifications over the years. It was begun by the British, just below the mouth of the Schuylkill River, in 1772, to defend river approaches to Philadelphia, and completed by Maj. Gen. Thomas Mifflin after the War for Independence started. After the British captured Philadelphia in September 1777 their water transportation was blocked by Forts Mifflin and Mercer (see p. 208) and a series of obstructions of the Delaware River. The forts were attacked in October and November and defended stubbornly. Mifflin was evacuated and destroyed by the Americans on November 16, Mercer (at Red Bank, N.J.) a few days later. A new Fort Mifflin was started in the 1790's, of stone faced with brick and banked with earth. Further construction and repairs were carried out during the War of 1812, during the 1830's and 1840's, during the Civil War, and during the 1930's. It was used for military storage in World War II. Its transfer to the City of Philadelphia as authorized by Congress in 1956 was pending when this was written.
NHL Designation: 08/29/70
Continental Congress was forced to flee from Philadelphia in September 1777 when the city fell to the British. York, west of the Susquehanna River, became the temporary seat of government, its courthouse the Capitol through the autumn and winter of 1777-78. This building has been lost, but the Golden Plough Tavern and the Gates House are being restored to preserve the story of formative and crucial years of York's past. The former, built probably about 1750, is a Germanic half-timber structure of great architectural interest, possibly the only surviving example of a form of construction once common in this area. The latter is identified as the quarters of Gen. Horatio Gates, who came to York as the victor of Saratoga and President of the Board of War in October 1777. A local organization, Historic York County, is carrying on the restorative work. Both buildings will be considered further in the study of architecture.
Last Updated: 09-Jan-2005