Niagara Gazette

November 10, 2013

GLYNN: Early birds will witness fort assault as War of 1812 springs to life in Youngstown

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Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — If you’re really interested in getting an accurate glimpse of local history, mark the calendar for about 4 a.m. Dec. 19.

The British troops (reenactors) will once again assault Fort Niagara at 5 a.m., precisely 200 years after they seized the vital post in 1813. The public is invited to the free event, a fort spokesman said, but spectators must arrive between 4:30 a.m. and 4:45 a.m.  

After the fort is captured, the soldiers will recreate the burning of Youngstown during a ceremony at 7:15 a.m. in Faulkner Park. Flares lit in the park will symbolize the destruction of the small village two centuries ago. (Earlier, the Americans troops had wreaked havoc on Newark.)

Robert Emerson, executive director of the Old Fort Niagara Association, says the committee is planning a community breakfast that will begin a 7:30 p.m. at restaurants in the village. Two presentations are scheduled at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Main Street. At 8:15 a.m., Anne Marie Linnaberry of the Niagara County Historical Society will provide a power point talk on the War of 1812 and “Niagara on Fire,” a short film focusing on the burning of Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake) will be shown at 9 a.m.

That same morning students from Lewiston-Porter, Wilson, Tuscarora Elementary and Stella Niagara will arrive at the fort for an interpretive program about the 1813 attack. Later, they will go into the village to one of four sites where they’ll learn about civilian life in those days and the impact of the war on the local residents.

That night, people will gather for the “Flames through Lewiston” reenactment and the unveiling of the Tuscarora Heroes monument at Center Street and Portage Road, Lewiston. More details to come.

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A KEY POST: It’s nice to see Ray Wigle, a veteran of Niagara area tourism, back in the local hospitality industry. He was the communications director of the former Niagara Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau and later operations director at Old Fort Niagara. Wigle now serves as director of development at the Niagara County History Center for the Erie Canal Discovery Center, Lockport.

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TIME TO REFLECT: Albert McFadyen, who has portrayed Franklin D. Roosevelt in countless events across the U.S., will bring his unique act to the History Center of Niagara on Dec. 7. The program “FDR Remembers Pearl Harbor Day” is set for 3 p.m. at the center, 215 Niagara St., Lockport. In addition to recreating the speech that Roosevelt presented to Congress on Dec. 8, 1941, McFayden will provide stories and anecdotes about FDR’s life and presidency.

Admission is free but donations are always accepted to help assure quality programs throughout the year. Additional information is available  at 434-7433 or visiting the web at www.niagarahistory.org.

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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: “Roaming the Niagara Frontier,” an exhibit by James Neiss, the Niagara Gazette’s award-winning photographer, is set to begin Nov. 19 at the Conference Center Niagara Falls. The opening night reception will be from 6 to 8 p.m. During nearly 25 years of service at the newspaper Neiss has captured memorable photos of high-profile newsmakers, ordinary people who contribute daily to the community in countless ways, and major events in the Niagara area.

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TRIVIA QUIZ: (Answer to Thursday question): Lloyd Bentsen of Texas was the running mate of Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential election.

Contact reporter Don Glynn at 282-2311, ext. 2246.