Fort Ontario


Fort Ontario will be open to the public from May 1 to October 31, Tuesday – Sunday, from 10:00 – 4:30 PM. Sensible shoes and attire are recommended.

canon.jpgDuring the American Civil War, 1861 – 1865, Fort Ontario guarded the northern frontier of the United States from potential British interference on the side of the Confederacy from Canada. Early in the war, the 81st New York Infantry Regiment was formed and trained at the fort. Other volunteer units briefly assembled at Fort Ontario before being shipped to training facilities or the front. Regular army troops or local militia garrisoned the fort for much of the Civil War, and, from 1863-64 it was used as a depot to process hundreds of recruits. Beginning in 1863, and lasting until 1872 when Congress cut off funding, a program to replace the sloped timber faced outer walls of the fort with vertical stone masonry was conducted.

Fort Ontario State Historic Site is one of six historic sites and 18 parks in the central region administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Carol Ash – Commissioner. The fort is located off Route 104 at the north end of East 4th Street in Oswego. For more information on NYS Parks visit the agency website at, Friends of Fort Ontario website at, or call Paul Lear at (315) 343-4711.