Series: Curious Collections of Fort Stanwix, The 19th & 20th Centuries

The collection at Fort Stanwix National Monument contains nearly 500,000 objects. These include objects, archives, and artifacts from at least 300 years of history! Learn about some of the more unusual and unique ones in this series of “Curious Collections.” These particular objects date to the post-Fort Schuyler era, and include objects from the canals and items left behind by early residents of what would become Rome, NY

  • Fort Stanwix National Monument

    Article 1: Peter Gansevoort Portrait

    An older man in a neat Continental soldier's uniform stands posed with his hand on his hip.

    Gansevoort was the commanding officer at Fort Stanwix during the August 1777 siege who famously wrote that he would “defend this fort and garrison to the last extremity.” The portrait was painted by Cuyler Ten Eyck, a man descended from another prominent Dutch family in New York, and donated to the park by descendants of both men in 2013. Read more

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    Article 2: Room Keys from the Stanwix Hall Hotel

    A close up of a

    In 2003, the site of the Stanwix Hall Hotel was investigated for archeological resources. The hotel building itself had been destroyed in the 1970s in advance of the reconstruction of Fort Stanwix. The rear courtyard or work area was preserved and was the focus of the archeological study. The most important find at the Stanwix Hall Hotel site was the intact hotel privy. The privy was the dumping place for the contents of chamber pots, and for some of the hotel refuse. Read more

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    Article 3: Captain Basil Hall Chamber Pot

    A large bowl with a handle. It has a decorative edge and a portrait of a man on the interior.

    If you were unpopular in the past, chances are your face would end up at the wrong end of your neighbor's business. In the following article, find out just who Basil Hall was and why his image ended up in the toilet, literally! Read more

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    Article 4: “Frozen Charlotte”

    A close-up of a white ceramic figurine inside of a clear glass ball.

    The collections at Fort Stanwix National Monument contains nearly 500,000 objects! The bottled “Frozen Charlotte” doll is a fascinating object to look at but also brings up questions that we have yet to answer. Read more

  • Fort Stanwix National Monument

    Article 5: Children's Toys

    Four small and colorful glass sphere, about the size of a walnut.

    Many residential homes from the 19th and 20th Centuries sat on top of the remains of the historic Fort Stanwix. With in the yards and privies, toys of all kinds were discovered during archeological excavations. These are just a few. Read more

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    Article 6: Gothic Pickle Bottle

    A cloudy glass bottle with cracks and a few pieces missing.

    The collections at Fort Stanwix National Monument contains nearly 500,000 objects! Pictured here is a mid-19th century pickle bottle discovered during archeological excavations at the fort in the 1970s. Its side panels feature a gothic style “cathedral” design. Its top features a wide opening designed for retrieving its content with ease. Read more

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    Article 7: Proverb Plate

    A close up of a painted ceramic image. It says

    The proverb on this plate first appeared in Benjamin Franklin’s popular Poor Richard’s Almanack. These objects were designed for children and were given as gifts for good behavior or reminders for mischief-makers. In both cases, the gifts were meant to teach a lesson. Read more

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    Article 8: Imported Ink Bottle

    A close-up of a matte clay bottle with various information imprinted on it.

    The collections at Fort Stanwix National Monument contains nearly 500,000 objects! This imported ink bottle is just one of them. Historically, many different kinds of goods were transported in bottles just like this. Read more

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    Article 9: Phoenix Bitters Bottle

    A dark glass bottle with

    This bottle was found by archeologists while excavating a privy that was used between 1825 and 1851. A privy is an outhouse, or bathroom, which also served as a garbage pit. In 1851, this privy served the needs of those in three nearby commercial and residential structures. Read more

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    Article 10: Staffordshire Napoleon Figurine

    Tiny ceramic man. His hat is triangular, his right hand is stuck in his jacket near his chest.

    The collections at Fort Stanwix National Monument contains nearly 500,000 objects! This tiny statue is just one of them. The nineteenth century was a time of great energy and industrial expansion in both England and America. Consumers began to collect material goods and became eager consumers of knick-knacks and other decorative objects such as pottery. Read more

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    Article 11: German Porcelain Candy Dish

    A faded seal painted carefully on a piece of porcelain.

    This 20th century porcelain, spade-shaped candy dish was made some time between 1900 and 1912. It was recovered by NPS archeologists during excavations in the yard area of a business called J.G. and Company. Read more

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    Article 12: Dr. Kilmer's Medicine Bottle

    Large medicine bottle, rectangular with embossed sides.

    This bottle was found during archeological excavations at Fort Stanwix. Its front features the words “THE GREAT DR. KILMER'S SWAMP-ROOT KIDNEY LIVER & BLADDER REMEDY” inside of an embossed image of a kidney. While this bottle may seem mundane and unassuming, it tells the story of a company whose founder’s vision was corrupted and exploited by his very own family. Read more

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    Article 13: Cold Cream Jar

    A ceramic object with “MODJESKA COLD CREAM, BUFFALO, NY” and “LARKING SOAP CO” embossed on it.

    The artifact collection at Fort Stanwix National Monument contains nearly 500,000 objects! Would you believe that this plain, white cold cream jar found in Rome, NY has ties to Frank Lloyd Wright, the Wizard of Oz, and the RMS Lusitania? Read about it and other Interesting Artifacts here. Read more

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    Article 14: Embossed Cornucopia Flask

    A thick glass flask with a triangular chip on each side. Embossed in the middle is a cornucopia.

    This flask from the Fort Stanwix National Monument collection features a cornucopia overflowing with vegetables and other plants embossed on its dark green glass. The bottle was found in a privy in the Northwest Bastion of the fort. Read more

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    Article 15: "Curiosities" & Natural History Objects

    A pentagon shaped crystal object about an inch across.

    The museum collection at Fort Stanwix National Monument contains nearly 500,000 objects! The geologic objects uncovered by NPS archeologists can be grouped into three categories of curiosities, building materials, and sediments. The following describes two of the more interesting and uncommon curiosities. Read more