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Article Archive >> Spring Tourism

Maryland's Frontier Defense

Maryland's Frontier Defense

Fort Frederick State Park is the site of Maryland's frontier defense during the French and Indian War (1754-1763). The Fort's stonewall and two barracks have been restored to their 1758 appearance. Historic displays are in the Fort, barracks, and Visitor Center.
The park annually holds military reenactments and other special events. Park lands adjoin the Potomac River and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal passes through park acreage. Tours are available by request. Daily Living History programming is available from Memorial Day through Labor Day and on weekends in the spring and fall.
The stone fort, named in honor of Maryland's Lord Proprietor, Frederick Calvert, Sixth Lord Baltimore, was erected by Governor Horatio Sharpe in 1756 to protect English settlers from the French and their Indian allies. Fort Frederick was unique because of its large size and strong stonewall. Most other forts of the period were built of wood and earth. The fort served as an important supply base for English campaigns. During 1763, an Ottawa Indian chief named Pontiac forged a massive Indian uprising. Several hundred settlers and militia force sought protection within the fort during this brief uprising.
Fort Frederick saw service again during the American Revolution as a prison for Hessian (German) and British soldiers. In 1791, the State of Maryland sold the fort. For the next 131 years, the fort and surrounding lands were farmed. During the Civil War, Union troops were often stationed around the fort to guard the C & O Canal.
In 1922, the State of Maryland re-purchased the fort. Throughout the 1920's, the State began development of Maryland's first state park. During the Great Depression of the 1930's, a company of the Civilian Conservation Corps was assigned to the park to reconstruct the dilapidated stonewall, perform archaeology and locate the foundations of the original interior buildings. Restoration continued in 1975. Future plans include reconstruction of the Officer's Quarters and other defensive works. Pick up a map of the park.

Source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources, www.dnr.state.md.us

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