‘Christmas at the Fort’

Wendy Mania, left, of Gemsewns of Ephratah and her grandaughter, Kimberly Kirby of Fort Plain, place quilts on display at their booth for sale during the annual Fort Plain Christmas at the Fort at the Fort Plain Museum in Fort Plain on Saturday. (The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan)

FORT PLAIN — Joanne Buyce of  Scotia was excited about Fort Plain Museum’s annual Christmas open house  Saturday because it’s a way to learn “what I didn’t learn in school.”

Buyce said she was turned on to history by a teacher at the former Mont Pleasant High School in Schenectady and loves genealogy. She laments what she said is a lack of interest and understanding of  history among the young.

Uphill from the museum are remnants of earthworks and trenches of  Fort Plain from the Revolutionary War, according to Norman Bollen, who was in charge of the event. He said Fort Plain was caught in the middle of the battles around Canajoharie. Fort Plain continued to be used as a storage building by the federal government until at least 1800, Bollen said.

The museum features revolutionary, colonial and Erie Canal history.

“Heritage tourism is a really big thing in this area,” Bollen said, who added that more than 150 people came to the event.

“We’re right up the street, and I brought my granddaughter here to see history,” said Steve Heiser.

His granddaughter, Grace McFee of Fort Plain, said she liked the colonial doll houses and the cookies.

“I think [the museum] overlooked,” said McFee. “I think people don’t know about it. This is an awesome little museum.”

McFee, a Minden town councilman, said the Minden tries to help the museum financially.

The museum is filled with early American furniture and artifacts, such as cannonballs, bayonets, farming implements, arrowheads, dolls, ceramics and potsherds.

James Richmond came to the event to sign his book, “War on the Middleline: The Founding of a Community In the Kayaderosseras Patent In the Midst of the American Revolution.” The book recounts the loyalist and Iroquois Indian attacks in the Mohawk Valley after the Battle of Saratoga.

By Patricia Older

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