Fort Niagara in Winter


If one keeps going following the Niagara River, you end up at Lake Ontario.  And right at this point what would you expect to find? A fort! It is Fort Niagara with The French Castle, the oldest building in North America’s Great Lakes Region.


A lot of fighting went on here, having a critical role in the French and Indian War. Its history includes occupation by the British, French and American forces. The strategic Great Lakes location was why it was built here.

The American Revolution and War of 1812 also had battles fought here and the English were very reluctant to give up this very important military and trade route location.

Musket-FiringBritish Soldier


The fort was restored to its pre-1755 appearance and is operated by The Old Fort Niagara Association Inc., a not-for-profit. It is open to the public. I will take you on a tour of the buildings in this post, then we go inside the Castle next post. Above is one of the entrances.


The lighthouse is outside the fort in the parking lot. Why this is so, it sat atop the French Castle in 1782, but was later removed to make more room for the French officers quarters. I wonder how it looked back then on that massive building?


The French Castle as seen from outside the fort.


These buildings, above and below, are the North and South Redoubts. They are essentially a fort within a fort. The British constructed these buildings to incorporate architecture that was popular at the time, the classical Roman arch (on the South Redoubt below), and the thick stone walls topped with Chinese style roofs. The South Redoubt was constructed before the Revolutionary War to protect the main gate. It had a place for a cannon to fire on oncoming revolutionaries.



The Powder Magazine, constructed by the French, has an arched ceiling under a thick layer of packed earth up to the gable roof. The guide said this building has four-foot thick stone walls to protect the kegs of gun powder from mortar shells during wartime.


The Blacksmith shed is not original and was constructed in 2010. It is a working forge, producing ironwork for the fort.

Come back for the interior of the Castle. It most likely became know as the Castle when American officers were housed there in 1830’s. I did not shoot much of the interior in previous posts. There are really interesting spaces throughout the Castle.

More Fort pictures and history:

Old Fort Niagara Photo Shoot

Old Fort Niagara Part 2

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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19 Responses to Fort Niagara in Winter

  1. Funny to see it without people milling about. So desolate. Margie

  2. Julie says:

    Hi Donna, some very beautiful and atmospheric photos, its lovely to see historic buildings cared for so well.

  3. Great post, great photos. At least one place looks good in winter 🙂

  4. I didn’t know the lighthouse was moved. I always learn something from your posts.

  5. Donna- I have never been to the actual Fort at Fort Niagara. Now I will have to put it on my list of things to see around the area. What photo group did you join? Would love to go out shooting with you sometime. I am have been in the Science Museum Camera Club just over a year and always looking for new places and things to shoot and learn from more experienced shooters. Busy kid schedule limits my time, but my husband is pretty understanding when I say I’ve got to get out and take some pictures. Let me know if I can go out with you…flexible on any subject matter!

    I didn’t say at the beginning….love the photos on the different views of Fort Niagara!

  6. I always like to see your photos of this fort—very picturesque.

  7. Sherrie says:

    This is a gorgeous entry for your blog. We are holidaying in London England right now reading it on line. Makes me realize how wonderful it is at home. you are an inspiration to us all !

  8. acuriousgal says:

    Wonderful, Donna…thanks for taking me along on this wonderful history tour!!

  9. Hope says:

    That place is a photographer’s dream! I could spend hours there.

  10. Very nice pictures, Donna. The fort looks so stark in the winter. Very interesting history. Growing up in Niagara Falls, in elementary school each year one of the classes had a tour of the Fort.
    I love the lighthouse. I have a lot of pictures of it myself.

  11. Interesting how the various architectural styles were blended in the buildings. I knew very little about Fort Niagara (even though I’ve heard about it), until I read this post. Thanks. Great photos!

  12. mariekeates says:

    Interesting post and I like the fort.

  13. A.M.B. says:

    What an interesting piece of history. The pictures are spectacular.

  14. Thank you for reminding me of yet another local gem that I must visit again.

  15. This looks like the kind of place I would enjoy visiting. Reminds me a bit of Louisburg, the restored fort in Nova Scotia.

  16. Alain says:

    Thank you for these wonderful pictures. I have visited Niagara scores of times but always on the Canadian side. Obviously there are more historic buildings on the American side. The fort alone is worth a special trip (preferably in summer!).

  17. Karen says:

    What a good post and I loved the photos. I find it interesting that it is open during the winter. So many sights like this aren’t open all year, at least in our area.

  18. I love history and would love to visit this fort…we visited many when I was growing up. I remember your other posts about the fort and look forward to many more.

  19. One more amusing memory. See the pine tree to the right of the French Castle? And there’s a sort of memorial thing set of to the right of that, with stone steps and a plaque? It used to be a tradition that the Ft. Ti boys would go and shine the nose of that plaque every summer. It’s probably still quite a bit shinier than the rest of the plaque.

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