Fort Niagara State Park
Directions to the field
Fort Niagara State Park is at the mouth of the Niagara River
Bear right from customs at the
Queenston Lewiston Bridge. Exit
at first right to Robert Moses
Parkway north. Stay on R. M.
Parkway through Lewiston to
route 93 (Youngstown). Turn left
(west) onto route 93(
=Youngstown Lockport Rd). Ends
at Niagara River. Turn right
(north) onto Main Street to Fort
Niagara State Park entrance. No
entrance fees if before 10am.
The coursing field is behind a large
man-made sledding hill on your
FROM NIAGARA FALLS, NY – 190
North to Rte 265 north for a
short distance to Rte 104 north
=Robert Moses Parkway. Follow
Fort Niagara -- Latitude 43.263283 Longitude -79.053886
The coursing field is in the center of the park
Other features of the park
The park offers picnic tables and pavilions, hiking, a playground and 18 soccer fields, a pool, recreation programs, a nature trail, tennis, sledding, snowshoe trails, cross-country skiing, waterfowl hunting in season, fishing and a food concession. There are two boat launches on the lower Niagara River. The park includes the Old Fort Niagara Historic Site. Tom Loftin Johnson painted five murals at The Officer’s Club which commemorate the history of the 28th regiment from its founding in 1905.
During the summer, a state park naturalist provides nature programs, trail hikes and manages the natural history exhibits in the park’s nature center.
The skyline of Toronto, 30 miles (48 km) to the north, is visible across Lake Ontario from the park on reasonably clear days. The tops of the CN Tower and other skyscrapers can be seen, though the Canadian shore itself is hidden below the horizon at that location.
The current lighthouse in Fort Niagara State Park, constructed in 1872, is the third to be built at Fort Niagara. It was constructed by the United States government after the previous wooden one was damaged by a tornado. It is an octagonal limestone tower featuring a storage room at the base, that used to hold oil. The Fresnel lens from the old tower was used and the tower was lit for the first time on June 10, 1872.
In 1900 the tower was raised an additional 11 feet (3.4 m) when a watch room was added between the lamp and the limestone tower. Lifting the lamp extended the reach of the light to 25 miles (40 km). Adjacent to the lighthouse is the keeper’s quarters which is a colonial-style home that now serves as a private residence.
The U.S. Coast Guard ran the light until 1993, when nearby tree overgrowth began to inhibit the light’s visibility from the Niagara River and Lake Ontario. A modern steel beacon tower was erected near the Coast Guard station and the Old Fort Niagara Association runs the 1872 tower as a museum and gift shop. The original Fresnel lens is now on display in the Fort’s museum.
The history of Old Fort Niagara spans more than 300 years. During the colonial wars in North America a fort at the mouth of the Niagara River was vital, for it controlled access to the Great Lakes and the westward route to the heartland of the continent. With the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, however, the strategic value of Fort Niagara diminished. It nonetheless remained an active military post well into the 20th century.
The three flags flown daily above the parade ground symbolize the nations which have held Fort Niagara. Each competed for the support of a fouth nation: the powerful Iroquois Confederacy. The French established the first post here, Fort Conti, in 1679. Its successor, Fort Denonville (1687-88) was equally short lived. In 1726 France finally erected a permanent fortification with the construction of the impressive “French Castle.” Britain gained control of Fort Niagara in 1759, during the French & Indian War, after a nineteen-day seige. The British held the post throughout the American Revolution but were forced, by treaty, to yield it to the United States in 1796. Fort Niagara was recaptured by the British in 1813. It was ceded to the United States a second time in 1815 at the end of the War of 1812.
This was Fort Niagara’s last armed conflict, and it thereafter served as a peaceful border post. The garrison expanded beyond the walls following the Civil War. Fort Niagara was a barracks and training station for American soldiers throughout both World Wars. The last army units were withdrawn in 1963. Today, the U.S. Coast Guard represents the only military presence on the site.