Monday, December 13, 2010

French Castle, part 1/ My World

The French Castle, Fort Niagara, New York

This building - the oldest in North America between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River - has guarded the entrance to the Niagara River (between Lakes Erie and Ontario) for more than 280 years. It was built by the French in 1726-27 to withstand Iroquois and British attacks. But it was more than a fort, it was also a trading post.

Canada is on the other side of the river.

Blue (and striped blue/pink) shows territory once held by France in North America

Even though I "learned" it in school, I have recently come to realize how much of North America France had claimed before 1763. NONE of Canada was held by the British before 1713.

On the ground floor, part of the stone arch that strengthens the building and helps support the stone floors above

Here you can see stairs that lead to the second floor. Climb the stairs to find...

Stone walls and floor on first floor (which I would call the second floor)

a storage chest, a table and two chairs in front of a window and...

Officer's quarter

various rooms, including this officer's quarter. The room was chilly in November when we were there, and I could only shiver as I imagined what it would be like to sleep in this room in January and February. AH! The good old days, eh?



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41 comments:

see you there! said...

Interesting castle although it does indeed look cold. I really enjoyed reading the history and looking at the map.

Darla

Cezar and Léia said...

Amazing and huge castle!
I loved this reportage, it's perfect, thanks so much!
Imagine how cold people in that time could feel during the hard winter!
I loved that bench with the stone wall and the stair!
Léia

Jacob said...

Fantastic post, EG. Being an historian, I find this absolutely fascinating. And it's a marvel of architectural engineering...

Quite beautiful, too. But cold and dank, I'll bet. Not a comfortable place to life.

Your photo is outstanding!

Viola said...

Oh so interesting, what a very old castle, and still "in use" someway.. I like it very much!! From the 1700 century, wow!! Incredible!! =)

I also like the macro in your previous post, what a shot! :)

Have a nice Luciaday! :)

Small City Scenes said...

Wow this is amazing. I love the look indoors and yes I bet it was freezing in winter.
I agree about history--I love it now, specially local history. I think we needed teachers to make it more interesting but then again we were teen agers and this would have been ancient history and teens are all about RIGHT NOW!.
Thanks for the history lesson.

By the way--wreath making with a wreath machine is easily learned--well to most people. As you can see in the second picture there is part of the frame showing and you put in a bundle of greens and whatever and then the machine will crimp the metal around the stems. FUN!!! MB

Luna Miranda said...

this is the first time that i've seen this castle in the blogs i visited. amazing find and interesting piece of history. the stone walls are beautiful.

Martha Z said...

It sure was built to last. I think you would have a hard time finding wood for those massive beams today.
Some of my ancestors in Massachusetts were carried off to Canada by the Native allies of the French. Some of the group stayed in Canada when my ancestors were ransomed.

cieldequimper said...

The French and French Canadians were everywhere. There are lots of traces of them in the PNW for instance, probably well before Lewis and Clark got there but hush... I'm being very unpolitically correct :-)

This is a very interesting post. The architecture and stones make it very French indeed, you would see similar buildings on the English Channel coast here, in and around Saint-Malo, buildings which are called Malouinières. Except the stone on this side of the big pond is granite.

Judie said...

I LOVE this post! The castle is fabulous, but I'll bet it was pretty cold in the winter time!!

George said...

Betsy and I visited Old Fort Niagara three years ago and toured the French Castle. We were there in October, and those upper rooms were chilly then! Thanks for the memories.

lisaschaos said...

I love exploring old pieces of history like this and can just imagine living there - it seems so grand but I bet in reality the times were cold and difficult.

Farmchick said...

Nice post with some history.

Sylvia K said...

Fantastic post and I love the castle and it's history! Your photos are superb as always. Thanks for sharing this part of your world! I love it!!

Sylvia

Joe Todd said...

I've driven past several times but never stopped. I won't miss it next time. Thanks

Birgitta - foto CHIP said...

I feel the history from your photos - this must have been a very important place.
Happy MW!

http://fotochip.blogspot.com/2010/12/my-world.html

Gary said...

Gosh I haven't seen this place in ages. Your excellent tour brought back memories. Boom & Gary of The Vermilon River.

Marie said...

A lovely psot with interesting information. Thanks for sharing.

Lucka said...

Great post. I love the interiors. Thanks for sharing it.

Arija said...

From the outside it already looked rather cheerless and as though the windows were blind. Your inside shots are so lovely that they make the place look romantic yet frugal, They must have bred them tough to withstand living there in the winter probably with one blanket and the cold seeping through the straw pallet. Their feet too most likely had chillblains from the cold stone floors. Even in summer the place must have been as cold as vharity.

Marie said...

Hi again EG. The pretty face is my daughter. Do I need to tell you I´m proud :-) We had a lovely day in the cold. Though the sun was shining I got beautiful reflection and light. I just love portraits.

Randi said...

Terrific captures! The interior is amazing. Love the walls.

Titania said...

Interesting history. Yes, I think it must have been be very cold in winter for the people who lived there. Perhaps they have been a tougher breed! It is well preserved and build beautifully.

Shirley said...

How interesting! Thanks for the history lesson. It is a beautiful rustic building but I wouldn't want to sleep there, especially this time of year. Are there no wood burning stoves or fireplaces?

Photo Cache said...

Looks well built and guessing will last for centuries more.

I enjoyed this post a lot and will tune in for part two.

Mine is here

aka Penelope said...

Interesting! The fort looks sparse, bare and chilly but also as strong and impenetrable as it needed to be in those “good old days”.

Lesley said...

That is a fascinating looking structure! I have never been inside there before, now I think I must visit it for myself.

mirage2g said...

They make everything indestructible back in those days...but our now is much cozier :D Great photos, thanks for the tour!

Kathy said...

Love this! I would love to visit.

Rose said...

I would dearly love to see this place...it does look cold and lonely though!

Randy said...

Wow that is so amazing. I could only imagine what it would be like to live there.

Jack said...

It looks VERY cold and stark there. But, of course, this week where isn't it cold and stark?

Tammie Lee said...

such a grand old place, thanks for sharing some of it's details!

ladyfi said...

OH gosh - what a lovely lovely building. Great photos of all that stonework inside.

Nattsyrran said...

Amazing and "scary" castle. Thanks for sharing this=)

NatureFootstep said...

It looks so lonely. I am glad it is not needed anymore.

Reader Wil said...

Thank you for this interesting piece of history! I know so little about the history of both Canada and the USA. This castle looks strong, grim and bleak. My first thought was also what would it be like to live there in winter. The people living there must have been very tough and hardened. It stands there lonely on a hill without any vegetation.
I wish you a warm and merry Christmas and a great and happy New Year!

Francisca said...

Oh, I like your world today, EG. I did not get my primary grade schooling in Canada, so I don't think I ever knew France had such a large chunk of NA. Now they barely have, culturally speaking, Quebec, non? Quite the fort/trading post, and I agree the architecture make good photos, but not a place I'd want to live.

Sara Chapman said...

What an interesting look into a historical era and an architectural technique. Fascinating. And cold.

Coralie Cederna Johnson said...

Fabulous photos all! I just had to join your blog to follow you! (Thanks for the visit so I could come find you!)
Coralie

Ann said...

Won't you like to marry a prince and live happily ever after in a castle like this?

No me, it must be so cold. brrrr

Evelyn said...

That bed is not very inviting! Nice casle though.

Merry Christmas!

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East Gwillimbury is a rural town less than an hour north of Toronto, Canada's largest city. My family calls me CameraGirl because I take my camera with me wherever I go.