Visitors to Fort Ontario State Historic Site where a list of battles have taken place throughout the history of Oswego. Today visitors will see the star-shaped fort.
Underground artillery case-mates and rifle galleries, Powder Magazine, East and West Guardhouses, Storehouse, and ramparts, featuring magnificent views of Lake Ontario, are available for touring. The fourth and current Fort Ontario was built on the ruins of three earlier fortifications dating to the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, and War of 1812; it was occupied by the U.S. Army through World War II.
From 1944 – 1946 Fort Ontario served as the only refugee camp in the United States for victims of the Holocaust under the special order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. A post cemetery containing the graves of 77 officers, soldiers, women, and children who served at Fort Ontario in war and peace is also situated on the East end of the grounds and the graves can be seen to this day. Local residents of Oswego say that there have been endless reports of supernatural behavior in this area for many years.
In 1946 Fort Ontario was transferred to the State of New York and housed World War II veterans and their families until 1953; it opened as a state historic site in 1949.
Here is a Summarized Time Line of the forts of Oswego
1755– Fort George was built on west side and the first Fort Ontario began on east side of river.
1756–French commander, the Marquis de Montcalm, leads his troops to the destruction of all three British forts in Oswego.
1759–British rebuild Fort Ontario; unsuccessful French attack on Fort Ontario.
1760–British commander, General Amherst, leads successful force from Fort Ontario against Montreal.
1766–Indian Chief Pontiac and Sir William Johnson hold peace conference to end Pontiac’s Rebellion.
1775–Anglo-Iroquois war conference held; Joseph Brant, Mohawk chief pledges Mohawk support to British.
1777–St. Leger wing of British campaign to divide New York and isolate New England launched from Fort Ontario; British abandon fort after his failure to do so.
1776–Continental troops from Fort Stanwix burn the abandoned Fort Ontario.
1782–British troops rebuild and re garrison Fort Ontario under Major John Ross.
1783–Continental General Willett fails in his attempt to attack Fort Ontario as the last official order by General Washington.
1796– British evacuate Fort Ontario and turn it over to the Untied States of America.
1812–U.S. re-garrison Fort Ontario to protect supply line to Sackets Harbor naval base.
1813–Unsuccessful British attack on Fort Ontario.
1814–British capture and destroy post.
1839–Fourth Fort Ontario begun in response to border crisis with Canada; work continues until 1844.
1863–Defensive improvements begun and continue until 1872.
1903–Conversion to modern battalion-sized Army post; completed 1905.
1917–General Hospital No. 5 opens as one of the Army’s biggest hospitals in Northeast.
1941–Fort Ontario was used as an Army training camp in World War 2.
1944- Fort Ontario became an “Emergency Refugee Shelter” established to house 982 European refugees for 18 months as “guest” of the president. This was the only such camp in America.
1946–The Fort was deactivated by the U.S. Army.
1949–New York State begins to develop Fort Ontario as a historical site.