Fort Montgomery on Lake Champlain is the second of two American forts built at the northernmost point of the American part of the lake: a first, unnamed fort built on the same site in 1816 and Fort Montgomery built in 1844.
The current massive stone fortification, the second fort, was built between 1844 and 1871 at the Canada–US border of Lake Champlain at Island Point in the village of Rouses Point, New York. Fort Montgomery, New York, was named after General Richard Montgomery, a Revolutionary War hero who was killed during the 1775 invasion of Canada at Quebec City.
History of Fort Montgomery
Construction on the island fortification started in 1844 and continued for more than two decades until 1870. During this period of almost constant construction and fortification, money was not spared. This fortification was considered to be of the utmost importance, and its construction employed the most advanced, cutting edge military technology and materials of the time.
According to War Department records, in 1886 when Fort Montgomery was most heavily armed, it mounted 74 guns of its full 125 gun capacity, including 8 inches (200 mm) and 10 inches (250 mm) Rodman cannon. Most of these guns were mounted training northward towards Canada. Although never placed in position, two massive 15 inches (380 mm) Rodmans were present at the site for years sitting on the parade ground waiting to be mounted atop the wall.
The last decade of the 19th century slowly saw the removal of the old fort’s guns, now long obsolete. By 1900, 37 guns were still present and by 1901, that number had decreased to 20. Purportedly the last of the larger guns were removed and taken down the lake by barge around 1909.
After being loaded onto railroad cars at Plattsburgh, many of the iron cannon met their end being melted down for their scrap value in Philadelphia. Following this period the now empty fort was watched over by a caretaker, usually a retired soldier who lived in a nearby house and patrolled the grounds.
In 1926 the United States Government sold Fort Montgomery along with its adjacent Military Reservation at public auction. During the period of disuse which followed, as had also happened with the abandoned 1816 fortification, many locals visited the fort, carting off untold amounts of lumber, bricks, windows, and doors for use in their homes and other buildings. Ultimately most of the fort, aside from the gutted westward facing officer’s quarters, a small portion of the southern wall and three bastions (two of which remain today), was demolished in 1936–1937
The property had a number of private owners before it was sold in 1983 to Victor Podd, Sr. who constructed the headquarters of the Powertex Corporation on the adjacent “Commons” to the west of the fort. Island Point, the actual fort site, was left untouched.
During the mid-1980s Podd worked with local historical societies to have the State of New York purchase the property with a view toward possible restoration of the site. Despite being offered the fort at no cost, negotiations were unsuccessful and the State declined to accept the property. Since May 2006, Podds’ heirs have attempted to sell the fort on eBay. The first auction ended on June 5, 2006, with a winning bid of $5,000,310. However, the sale was not completed, and as of 2019 the fort and lands surrounding it remain for sale.
In 2008, the Preservation League of New York State added Fort Montgomery to its list named “Seven to Save.” This was a list of seven important properties that the League planned to renovate, revitalize, and save from decay.
However, this list didn’t change the future of Fort Montgomery, and it is still falling apart day by day. The latest news is that the fortress and its estate (being the island it was built on) can be bought for 2,950,000 American dollars.
Photos of Fort Montgomery Island
How To Get To Fort Montgomery
Fort Montgomery, address: Rouses Point, NY 12979, United States
Latitude 41.324532 Longitude -73.988701
Fort Montgomery was the scene of a fierce Revolutionary War battle for control of the Hudson River. Visitors today can tour the remains of the 14-acre fortification, perched on a cliff overlooking the magnificent Hudson.
Fort Montgomery on Google Maps
Know Before You Go To Fort Montgomery
Know before you go. Before you come and spend time at Fort Montgomery there are tips and advice for exploring abandoned places. We want to ensure that you enjoy your time there.
Know the Dangers When visiting Fort Montgomery, the most obvious hazard is falling through rotten floorboards — but there are often much more sinister invisible dangers.
Wear proper clothing and equipment
If you’re going to be exploring, wear clothes that you wouldn’t mind ruining. Choose your footwear carefully too. Besides a camera and any photography props you might need, you’ll also want to bring a flashlight.
Don’t steal souvenirs from Fort Montgomery
The artifacts left near Fort Montgomery once belonged to somebody, even if they haven’t been there for years. At best, you’re diluting the experience for other urban explorers; at worst, you’re stealing and desecrating a historic site.
Expert on Urban Planning and Abandoned Places
|Mr. Gregory H. is a highly experienced expert on Urban Planning and Abandoned Spaces. Mr. Gregory Hooqe has been focusing on Urban Development and Abandoned Locations since 2000 and has written extensively on the subject.|
He was awarded the 2009 Korea Foundation Professional Award for his research on Asian Abandoned Places, as well as the 2016 Korea Development Institute, Global Ambassador Award.