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Bill Thayer

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Historic Old Fort Niagara
The Story of an Ancient Gateway to the West
by Claud H. Hulzén, Sr.

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Pouchot's "Gate of the Five Nations"

This 62‑page booklet, titled on its cover

Historic Old Fort Niagara

but on its title page

The Story of An Ancient Gateway to the West
Old Fort Niagara

was produced in 1939 by the Old Fort Niagara Association, a consortium of civic groups, to serve as a guide to the fort and to mark the history of its recent restoration. The unnumbered chapters are indicated only by slightly larger headings in the text, and there is no Table of Contents; I provide my own here:

In the Beginning 7
Bearers of the Cross 11
Soldiers or Craftsmen 15
The Stone House 29
Three Flags 32
"The Harvest of Their Vision" 45


The booklet is profusely illustrated, with three types of images: 12 large illustrations, the originals of which I think must have been pencil (and/or maybe charcoal) and wash, signed CR 1932 or 1933; 22 small and somewhat schematic drawings, each one accompanying the corresponding stop of the 22 in the itinerary given in the Guide; and a number of very small uncaptioned decorative vignettes of objects from daily life, not related to the text or referred to in it. These last I haven't reproduced. In addition, a good color foldout map of the fort is inserted in a special pocket in the back cover. For most of us, it will probably be the most useful of the illustrations.

The booklet has no Table of Illustrations. I supply one below for the larger items, which I've moved to more appropriate places in the text; the page numbers here, however, are those of their original locations.

Pouchot's "Gate of the Five Nations" Frontispiece
Across the Ancient Parade p9
De Lery's "Castle" 10
The Forge, Artificer's Cabin 14
Grim Ramparts that Served Three Nations 18
Site of Fort Denonville 23
Sir William Johnson's Council Chamber 26
Artificer's Cabin 31
Jesuit Chapel, the "Castle" 35
Officer's Deck, the "Castle" 39
"Castle" Vestibule with Haunted Well 42
"Boulangerie," French Military Kitchen 44
Historic Old Fort Niagara map
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Technical Details

Edition Used

The edition transcribed here was the original 1939 edition, printed by the Holling Press Inc., Buffalo, NY. It is in the public domain because the copyright was not renewed at the appropriate time under the law then in effect, which would have been in 1966 or 1967: details here on the copyright law involved.


As almost always, I retyped the text by hand rather than scanning it — not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise which I heartily recommend: Qui scribit, bis legit. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if success­ful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

This transcription has been minutely proofread. In the table of contents above, the sections are shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the text of them to be completely errorfree. As elsewhere onsite, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme.

The edition I followed was averagely proofread, mistakes occurring mostly in foreign words and proper names; they are all essentially trivial and are therefore marked by a dotted underscore like this: as elsewhere on my site, glide your cursor over the bullet or the underscored words to read the variant. Similarly, bullets before measurements provide conversions to metric, e.g., 10 miles.

A small number of odd spellings, curious turns of phrase, etc. have been marked <!‑‑ sic  in the sourcecode, just to confirm that they were checked.

Any other mistakes, please drop me a line, of course: especially if you have a copy of the printed book in front of you.

Pagination and Local Links

For citation and indexing purposes, the pagination is shown in the right margin of the text at the page turns (like at the end of this line); p57  these are also local anchors. Sticklers for total accuracy will of course find the anchor at its exact place in the sourcecode.

In addition, I've inserted a number of other local anchors: whatever links might be required to accommodate the author's own cross-references, as well as a few others for my own purposes. If in turn you have a website and would like to target a link to some specific passage of the text, please let me know: I'll be glad to insert a local anchor there as well.

Quick Fix

A good summary history of the fort, with several color photos, is provided at FortWiki.

[image ALT: A vertical rectangular plaque with an inscription, surrounded by four human figures: standing, a man in an 18c military uniform to our left, and another in 17c dress, with a drawn sword, to our right; kneeling, a trapper in buckskin clothes to our left, facing a kneeling savage wearing not much at all. It is the title vignette of the foldout map in the book 'Historic Old Fort Niagara' by Claud H. Hulzén, Sr., and the icon used on this site for my transcription of it.]

The icon I use to indicate this subsite is the title vignette of the book's only color illustration, the foldout plan of the fort.

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Page updated: 15 Oct 13