Mission of the Old Fort Niagara Association
The Old Fort Niagara Assocation functions under a formal "Statement of Purpose" which provides the rationale for all decisions relating to the historic site and its museum. The stated purposes of the Association are:
Preservation Function: To preserve, restore and maintain the historic site and structures of Old Fort Niagara. The site comprises roughly 23 acres of land and Lake Ontario bottom land at the mouth of the Niagara River. Included in this area are fortifications, outworks, six 18th century buildings, significant archaeological remains, and the early post cemetery.
Education Function: To foster, encourage and promote a deeper understanding of Old Fort Niagara and its significance to the history of the Niagara Frontier, the State of New York, the United States, and Canada. This shall be accomplished by means of research, archaeology, exhibits, programs, publications, and any other appropriate educational techniques.
Collection Function: To establish and maintain collections of objects, books, documents and illustrations relating to the history of the site of Old Fort Niagara and associated historic sites along the Niagara Frontier.
Old Fort Niagara Association Board of Directors
- David Caldwell, President
- David Rogers, Vice President
- Elizabeth Diachun, Secretary
- James Sexton, III, Treasurer
- Michael Blenk
- Jeanette Brooks
- Michael Brummer
- Harry DeBan
- Thomas Faith
- Robert Irwin
- Stephen Jackson
- Craig Maefs
- Arthur Mazenauer
- David McMullen
- Ginger McNally
- Bruce Newton
- Thomas O'Donnell
- Thomas Palmer
- Alvin Parker
- Paul Reid
- Patricia Rice
- Richard Shick
- Thomas Simpson
- Arthur Werner
History of the Old Fort Niagara Association
Old Fort Niagara is one of about three dozen historic site properties owned by the State of New York. It is also one of only a few which is not managed directly by the State. Old Fort Niagara is operated by the Old Fort Niagara Association, Inc., in cooperation with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreations and Historic Preservation. This responsibility is confirmed and regulated by a license between the Office of Parks and the Association. Under this agreement, the Old Fort Niagara Associaiton is responsible for raising all money used to operate the Fort. No funds from the budget of the Office of Parks are used for this purpose. The money used to operate Old Fort Niagara is obtained from visitor admission fees, museum shop sales, Old Fort Niagara Association membership dues, grants, and donations.
The Old Fort Niagara Association, Inc., is a private, not-for-profit organization. It may best be compared to a historical society. The Association is a membership organization of about 1,000 people interested in the history and preservation of the site.
The Old Fort Niagara Association was founded in 1927 in response to fears among local citizens that the historic structures of the Old Fort would be allowed to fall into ruin. The members and leadership were able to convince the United States Army (which then owned the Old Fort) that Federal funds should be used ot restore the historic buildings and walls. The Association also raised money from among the citizens of the Niagara Frontier and used it to match Federal appropriations. Between 1927 and 1934, the Army and the Association obtained the money necessary to restore Old Fort Niagara to the condition in which it appears today.
As restoration neared its end, the Army began looking for the best way to operate the restored fort as a museum. As agreement was reached with the Association, and, in 1931, the first official license to operate the Old Fort was issued to the Association. When thr Army transferred the Fort Niahra reserve to the State of New York, in 1948, the Association continued to operate and maintain the Fort under a State license. This arrangement continues today.
The Old Fort Niagara Association's license covers a large area adjacent to Fort Niagara State Park, and includes:
- the entire fortfied area (the "Old Fort")
- the Visitor's Center ("Building 102")
- the parking lot,
- the Fort Niagara Lighthouse,
- most of the riverbank property between the Cemetery and the Fort,
- the "1812 Cemetery,"
- the Fort Niagara Officer's Club ("Building 48")
- the Archaeology and Collections Care Center ("Building 42")
- the Maintenance Facility ("Building 97")
- most of the lake bank behind Building 97.
In all, the property licensed to the Old Fort Niagra Association totals about 23 acres.