Masonry Expert To Explain Fort Ontario’s Construction and the History of Masonry

OSWEGO – Masonry fort historian and expert John R. Weaver II will lead a technical tour of Fort Ontario, identifying and interpreting key elements in the fort’s design and construction, at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 28.

“Fort Ontario Details of Detached Scarp and Flank Casemates. June 10, 1863” – Between 1863 and 1871, plans to improve and modify Fort Ontario changed three times. Masonry expert John Weaver II will present a tour and lecture on American masonry forts that were built to guard the Canadian border Aug. 28 at Fort Ontario. Graphic provided by the National Archives.

The tour is free and open to the public and begins at the rock monument just outside the old stone fort.

Later, Weaver returns to discuss the anatomy of American masonry forts built from 1816 to 1867 on the border with Canada – referred to by the military as the Northern Frontier.

The illustrated lecture begins at 7 p.m. in the Enlisted Men’s Barracks inside the old stone fort.

It is free and open to the public.

“Northern frontier forts, constructed using designs similar to American Third System Seacoast Forts, protected our northern border in the aftermath of the War of 1812, and through various troubles with incursions into Canada and British responses to them,” said Fort Ontario Historic Site Manager Paul Lear. “Weaver provides a wonderful look at fort architecture and defensive designs of the period. He also discusses how and why Fort Ontario is a shining example of these formidable structures.”

Weaver is a nationally-known expert on masonry coastal defenses and is the author of the highly-acclaimed book, “A Legacy in Brick and Stone: Coastal Defense Forts of the American Third System, 1816 – 1867.”

He is an active member and former chair of the Coast Defense Study Group, a member of the Council on America’s Military Past, and Treasurer of the Camp Tippecanoe Civil War Roundtable.

John R. Weaver II – a nationally-known expert on masonry coastal defenses, Weaver leads a tour at 1:30 p.m. and lecture at 7 p.m. Aug. 28 at Fort Ontario. Both programs are free and open to the public.

In addition to “Legacy,” Weaver has authored three book chapters, numerous technical articles and conference presentations, including three keynote presentations, and technical tours of 19th century fortifications.

He has provided technical support for two major fort-restoration projects and several interpretive displays.

He consults for the National Park Service and several state park organizations, providing training for park leadership, interpretive rangers, and volunteers.

Currently, Weaver is providing technical support and on-camera presence for three television documentaries.

For details about the tour and program, contact Lear at 315-343-4711 or [email protected]

For more information on Fort Ontario State Historic Site, visit

For more Oswego County history and visitor information, go to or call 315-349-8322.