It still looks imposing even to this day. Just a shadow of its former self, it lies silently along the Lake Champlain. People who see it want to know why it is there in the first place.
The fascinating tale of the infamous fort is about politics and war. It tells the story of a great nation committing a great mistake. Welcome to the ruins of Fort Blunder.
It was 1818 when America decided to build the fort.
They suffered heavy casualties during the British invasion in the American Revolution and the War of 1812. The most affected area was that of Lake Champlain.
To prevent history from repeating itself, President Madison ordered a fort to be built in the area.
The state of New York offered help and gave some 400 acres of land and Island Point as the site for the military fortification. All is set.
So what went wrong?
The plans were ambitious. The modern octagonal structure would be 30 foot tall and armed with 125 cannons.
British ships would surely sink with that kind of artillery. The construction of the mighty fort began and two years later, they found a “little” problem.
The fort was constructed on the wrong side of the border.
The 1783 Treaty of Paris identified the 45th parallel as the border of Quebec, Canada.
The builders actually knew of the parallel line, they just didn’t know where it ran.
They didn’t just miss it by a few meters, they built the fort half a mile on the wrong side of the border. The very fort that America constructed to protect them from Canada was in… Canada.
The US fixed the blunder not by moving the fort, but by moving the border.
In 1842, the US signed a treaty with Britain and moved the boundary line so that the fort would be under the US border. The fort resumed its construction and was named Fort Montgomery.
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