In June of 2019, we traveled to Farmington, PA for a Bigfoot conference, and one of the stops we made on that trip was at the Fort Necessity National Battlefield along the National Pike Highway or The National Road.
This was the second time we were in this area, but the first time we actually stopped at the fort. The park is run by the National Park Service and is also related to the General Braddock Grave Site and the Mount Washington Tavern that we stopped at during this same trip. You can find out more about the park times and operation information on the National Park Service website for Fort Necessity. The fort address is 1 Washington Parkway Farmington, PA 15437.
The National Road
Just a side note about The National Road which we found interesting.
The National Road was the first highway built entirely with federal funds. The road was authorized by Congress in 1806 during the Jefferson Administration. Construction began in Cumberland, Maryland in 1811. The route closely paralleled the military road opened by George Washington and General Braddock in 1754-55.
By 1818, the road had been completed to the Ohio River at Wheeling, which was then in Virginia. Eventually the road was pushed through central Ohio and Indiana reaching Vandalia, Illinois in the 1830's where construction ceased due to a lack of funds. The National Road opened the Ohio River Valley and the Midwest for settlement and commerce.
Today, we consider this to be Interstate 70 (I-70) which approximately traces the path of U.S. Route 40, the old National Road east of the Rocky Mountains.
The Visitor's Center
When you arrive at the fort, you enter through the Interpretive and Education center for the fort and battlefield. As with most National Park Service facilities, this building and museum is very nice and houses some interesting artifacts that will tell you the story about the location.
We spent some time walking around the museum and learning about the battle and the fort. The museum displays are among some of the best we have seen.
One of the artifacts that caught Marianne's attention was a cornerstone block. This was originally placed to make the 100th Anniversary and it contains a time capsule fill with local newspapers, historic documents, a commemorative coin, and a picture of George Washington. Unfortunately, a larger monument was not constructed using this stone due to funding issues.
Another interesting artifact is the "Bill of Sale" showing the purchase of the land and battlefield by George Washington. This document proves what we talked about in the Mount Washington Tavern blog and video about George Washington once owning the property. Later on in Washington's life, after his retirement, he journeyed back to this property
To The Fort
When we were finished in the visitor center, we headed outside to take the path back to the fort. I remember that we needed to do the visitor center first since it closed at 4 p.m.; however, the fort was open until dusk. That is why we visited those areas in that order, just in case you run into arriving to the site later in the day.
If you watch our video below, we recorded walking down the path towards the fort. It was a nice little stroll through the woods to get back there. When you reach the end of the path it opens up into the "Great Meadows", with the reconstructed Fort sitting in the middle.
About the Battle
Now, historically, why is this location so important? Well, the battle at Fort Necessity in the summer of 1754 was the opening action of the French and Indian War. This war was a clash of British, French and American Indian cultures. It ended with the removal of French power from North America. The stage was set for the American Revolution.
The story behind the fort and how this battlefield relates to George Washington is quite fascinating. We did not produce a video about the story (yet), but you can find out more information on the National Park Service website here.
Just another side note: If you noticed throughout our photos and video of the fort, there was pretty much nobody else around when we were there. Towards the end a park ranger showed up (you can see this in the video), but how did we get the photograph we used for the intro? It took a few tries with the timer on the camera, you can see the "failed" attempts below.
If you would like to enjoy the tour (and mini investigation) we had at the fort, please check out our video about Fort Necessity below.
Have you visited the Fort Necessity National Battlefield site? Please share with us your experiences down in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you.
Find out more about Shawn and Marianne Donley on our About Page.