History, Historic Furnishing, and Historic Structure Reports
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Historic Structure Report

On January 22-24, 1973, representatives from the Denver Service Center, the Northeast Regional Office, the New York District Office and the Harpers Ferry Center met in Rome, New York, to formulate plans for the interpretation of Fort Stanwix.

It was generally agreed that the guidelines to be used in the reconstruction of the fort structures would be as follows:

(1) The major theme of the interpretive program at Fort Stanwix would center about the siege of the fort and the repulse of the British forces commanded by St. Leger. This would encompass a short period of time on each side of August 2-22, 1777, when the siege took place, or from May through December 1777.

(2) Fort Stanwix should be totally reconstructed on the exterior with all visible construction adhering to the historic scene. In other words, there should be no deviation on the exterior from the building details and dimensions as found in the historic period of 1758-1781.

(3) All structures found within the fort area related to the historic period should be reconstructed either for visitor interpretation or use by management.

A tentative plan was developed for the utilization of the structures proposed in the forthcoming reconstruction of Fort Stanwix. The following recommendations for building use were proposed:

(1) Totally reconstructed areas would be as follows:

a. Glacis, covered way, picket line, ditch, and log ramparts.

b. Ravelin, ravelin gates, picket gates and bridge over the covered way.

c. Main bridge, draw span, and main gates.

d. Elevated necessary with connecting bridge.

e. Restore the stream bed on the east side of the fort.

f. Sally port (covered communication, redoubt and gate.)

g. Parade ground with whipping post, gun platform, and wells.

h. Guardhouse (used in the winter months for interpretative station).

i. East barracks with four officers' rooms and two soldier's rooms.

j. Headquarters building with a Commandant's room, combination dining room and headquarters, and two staff officer's rooms.

k. Bakehouse and passageway in southeast bastion.

l. Southwest bombproof and passage way. Used during the siege as a hospital and for the safekeeping of valuable papers (Colbraith Diary).

m. Northwest bombproof and passage way. May have been used for a powder magazine during the siege.

n. Northeast bombproof and passage way. Not to be exhibited unless visitation requires an additional underground exhibit.

o. All bastions to be restored with ramps, gun platforms, banquettes, parapets, and embrasures.

p. The flagstaff on the southwest bastion.

q. Sentry boxes.

r. Southeast casemate to be shown as a soldier's barracks.

s. All exterior surfaces of the casemates, the storehouse and west barracks to be restored to plans.

(2) Partially restored areas and/or adaptive use areas for management should be utilized as follows:

a. The storehouse is to be used for a visitor comfort station.

b. The west barracks is to be adapted for use as an audio-visual station. A heating plant could be located in this building.

c. The southwest casemate, all or in part, could be used for a cooperative association sales area.

d. The west casemate should have the north room restored as a soldier's barracks and the south two-thirds of the casemate adapted as office space for management.

e. The east casemate should be adapted for use by the park staff and should contain an eating-lounge area; change room, and storage area in the south half of the casemate, Storage of the artifacts excavated from the fort site could be placed in this space.

f. The north casemate should have two west end rooms restored as officer's quarters. The remaining area should not be used immediately.

(3) Lighting: A minimum of exterior lighting is planned for the fort, It was recommended that we floodlight the exterior of the bastions at night for protection purposes. Also, it is possible that lighting of the flagstaff will be required. One recommendation was made that portable lighting devices be used whenever evening activities occurred.

(4) Proposed utilities:

a. Electrical service should be placed underground into the fort area and underground service or a conduit should be laid to all fort structures.

b. Telephone service should be placed underground into the fort area, sales area, management and staff areas.

c. Fire and smoke detection systems should be placed throughout the fort and connected to underground telephone wires relayed to the Fire Department.

d. Burglar detection system. A possible combination of audio and silent alarm systems could be connected by underground telephone wires to the local police station.

e. Water system. Underground water pipes should be connected to existing city water lines and extended into the fort area. A fire fighting-water hose and stand pipe system could possibly be placed on the parade ground utilizing the rain barrels as points of concealment.

f. Sewer lines should be connected to the city system. City-owned storm sewer lines can be used if needed.

g. Heating. There should be one centrally located heating plant consisting of a boiler and one standby plant for use within the fort area. Hot water would be circulated in underground pipes to the various areas that we propose to heat. It is recommended that the following restored exhibit areas not be heated east barracks, headquarters building, elevated necessary, sally port, guardhouse (only one room to be heated), the three bombproofs, bakehouse, southeast case mate, north room of west casemate, west two rooms of north casemate, (remaining part of north casemate not to be heated), north half of east casemate, the sentry boxes and ravelin.

(5) Maintenance. It is recommended that a small maintenance area be set aside within the fort area for storing supplies, cleaning equipment and small tools. A room in one of the casemates as well as one or more of the lean-tos belonging to the storehouse would be suitable for this purpose. Heavy equipment should be kept outside the fort area and be brought in only when needed.

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Last Updated: 26-Dec-2008