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Among my favorite childhood memories are my family's visits to a place we knew as The French Fort.

My family's visits began in the mid-1930s. Photos on this page might have been taken during their very first visit to the fort, located on Onondaga Lake Parkway in Liverpool .

The French Fort would remain a favorite family place for about 50 years. It was later redone as a living museum tended by men and women in colonial costumes who expected visitors to speak as though it were the 18th century. Thus it was not as entertaining as when visitors could wander as they pleased and let their imaginations run wild without facing a pop quiz from one of the guides.

The revamped French Fort, called Sainte Marie Among the Iroquois, lasted about ten years before it was undone by budget cuts. (That name was a change from the original, Fort Ste. Marie de Gannentaha, built by Jesuits in 1656 to protect a small French settlement.)

Apparently it is now operated as a museum devoted to the history of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois). For information, visit this website:
www.skanonhcenter.org

— JACK MAJOR

Keep going for a unique view of the French Fort as it looked back in the 1930s and '40s. Many thanks to Richard Langdon who built the incredible model and provided the photos.

August 22, 2020

Hi, Jack,

I really identified with your article and am so sorry things changed so drastically.  I too visited the fort as a child and was so impressed and full of awe that I built a model out of burned wooden match sticks. Sounds like that fort was replaced back in 1988, so it no longer exists!  

My mother died in February of this year at 107 and five months of age, and I have been going through her belongings. There I found the model (about 65 years old) still intact and was thinking of offering to the museum as an artifact and important piece of history that a young boy experienced like no other.

Thanks for the trip back in time.
Richard Tufts Langdon
Essex, Connecticut

 
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