The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 8, 2013

Dedication of Fort Augusta model set for 3 p.m. Sunday


The Daily Item

— SUNBURY — The Northumberland County Historical Society will dedicate its new scale model of Fort Augusta during a ceremony at 3 p.m. Sunday just in front of the Hunter House along North Front Street.

Workers late last month completed construction of the outdoor model, which occupies the site of the 1756 fort built along the Susquehanna River by Pennsylvania soldiers during the French & Indian War.

The historically accurate model, which is 32 feet wide, is one-sixth the size of the original fort.

An elevated platform has been constructed so that visitors can see inside the fort. The platform is accessible to people with disabilities.

The society is conducting a fund drive to pay for the model.

“A minimum of $125,000 must be raised,” said Scott A. Heintzelman, the society’s president.

The 3 p.m. ceremony will be held outdoors. Members of the Augusta Regiment, re-enactors who portray the 18th century soldiers who built and garrisoned the fort, will march onto the site and take part in the dedication.

Speakers will include Heintzelman, who will give a welcoming address. Lynn Otto of Tremont, president of the Augusta Regiment, will discuss the history of Fort Augusta during the French & Indian War. John L. Moore, the Northumberland writer, will tell about the fort’s role during the American Revolutionary War.

The Sunbury City Band will also perform.

The ceremony is open to the public. Refreshments will be served afterwards.

In 1939, the federal Work Projects Administration erected a scale model of the fort, but the model was demolished by the state in 1983 following years of neglect.

Working from old plans and diagrams of the fort, Baer Wolfe Architects of Sunbury designed the model. Zartman Construction Inc. built the model of the fort. The firm of Preston G. Ross & Son Inc. restored the buildings that had been part of the WPA model.

Fort Augusta was the largest fort built by Pennsylvania’s colonial government during the French & Indian War. Originally built to defend Pennsylvania settlers against the raids by French and Indians from the Ohio Valley, during the American Revolution it protected settlers of the upper Susquehanna Valley against attacks by Indian allied with the British.

Artifacts found during archaeological excavations at the fort site are displayed in the society’s museum inside the Hunter House.

The historical society has adopted “Get Fort-ified” as a fund-raising slogan, and has begun selling T-shirts, sweatshirts and other fort-related memorabilia to raise money. The society will also accept financial contributions.

 “We have received a matching grant from the Degenstein Foundation so that every dollar contributed will be matched,” Heintzelman said.

The project is “the largest financial undertaking in the 85-year history of the historical society,” he said.