As it is seen today, Fort Ontario reflects almost 250 years of construction and evolution. The earthworks of the fort date back to 1759, and the five main buildings were erected from 1842-44. The abrupt cancellation of the fort rehab project in 1872 marked the end of major construction, but several additions and alterations were made well into the 1940’s.
This picture, taken from a watercolor done by Post Commander Lt. Colonel Robert Kilpatrick, shows the fort as it appeared in 1869. Although several anachronistic vestiges remain from later construction, Fort Ontario looks very much today as it did in the Colonel’s painting.
Built between 1842 and 1844. “OQ1” contained two six-room apartments for officers and thier families and servants. The apartments were seperated by a common hall with a central stairway.
Interpreters demonstrate how kegs were stored in the Powder Magazine (left).
Built in 1842, the Enlisted Men’s Barracks housed the majority of the Fort’s garrison. The first floor contained a large kitchen, a workshop, and the NCO’s and enlisted men’s mess halls. The second floor housed 50 to 70 men in two barracks rooms.
5 – Storehouse
The Storehouse, also built between 1842 and 1844, contained several storerooms, two guardrooms, and the fort jail, comprised of four cells. The two-story structure to the right of the building was a 20th century addition. At the left of the photo the West Guardhouse can be seen, with its slit-like rifle embrasures.
6 – Officer’s Quarters #2
Built Between 1842-44, “OQ2” normally housed two officers in an arrangement similar to OQ1. However, from May 1868 to April 1869, two of the first floor rooms were used as the Post Headquarters, while other rooms were used as offices for various departments.