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.
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.