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Editorial: Support The Old Stone Fort

Written By Editor on 7/1/13 | 7/1/13

July 1st, 2013
Timothy Knight

With dark clouds looming in the distance, as is the case with most of our late spring/early summer days thus far this year, me and my girlfriend decided to take a nice drive and visit Schoharie's Old Stone Fort as part of Howe Cavern's neighbor-to-neighbor program, where employees can visit other tourist locations in the county for free.

We stepped out of the twenty first century confines of her car and into a pillar of early Schoharie County and American history from the late eighteenth century, when our home was besieged in brutal fighting between Patriots, Loyalists, Indians and German mercenaries during the American Revolution.
 And right in the middle of it all was what we call today the Old Stone Fort and two hundred thirty years ago was known as the lower of three forts constructed in Schoharie County to defend settlers from loyalist and Indian raids, and when not in use as a militia outpost, a house of worship for the Dutch Reformed.
 As we approached the entrance a kindly gentlemen who volunteers his time when the Fort has no one else to keep shop greeted us and led us through the giant wooden door that stands between the outside world and the county's finest collection of 18th and 19th century war, tool and historical memorabilia.
 And immediately I was impressed by a new display showcasing rarely seen memorabilia from the 134th New York Regiment, which was trained and housed at the Fort during the Civil War. Apparently the regiment was routed in their campaigns and few artifacts survived their trials, but a Southern gentlemen rediscovered a collection of what remained in garage stores across Florida and donated them to the Fort.
 Completing a one-hundred fifty year journey, I'm sure, for some of the artifacts from date of use until their long delayed return to home.
 We didn't traverse to the outer buildings, as the kindly gentlemen already closed them down for the day as storm clouds were fast approaching and the likelihood of more visitors was low, so we talked with him for a while about different tourist locations and about the Fort itself, and in that I found the inspiration for this, and I apologize, long editorial.
 Apparently the Old Stone Fort is suffering from a lack of funding and is having a hard time affording even basic help, relying almost entirely on volunteers to staff the museum in their spare time for what few guests are making the journey, which is an absolute shame and something must be done about this within our county.
 The history and heritage of the Fort doesn't belong just to the men and women of the late seventeenth and early eighteen centuries who helped build and defend this county, but to all of us. Every Schoharie County resident has a stake in the pride of that Fort that stood strong against the British forces and trained Union soldiers.
 We all have a piece of that can do colonial spirit in our bones, and if not for those who came before us, we would not be who we are today. And seeing as such, we need to do our part in preserving our heritage and supporting our Fort.
 So with that in mind, if you're looking for something to do Independence Day with the kids, or any other day for that matter, where you will learn about your past and take a fascinating journey in time, head on down to our Fort which proudly stands just off of Route 30 in beautiful Schoharie.
 There are always kind individuals keeping the Fort open every day for interested individuals and our history is just waiting to be explored and enjoyed, and with every dime going towards a good cause, why not contribute to the up keeping of Schoharie County's finest historical treasure.
 Head on down to the Fort today! History is just a short drive away...
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