Fort Brewerton Introduction: (Excerpt from the Fort Brewerton Historical Society Web site)
The fort was built in 1759, the location being chosen by General Abercrombie, the English Commander, as a point of defense along the all important water route and was the trail between the Great Lakes and Albany. From its location all travel up and down the Oneida River was always under observation. The site is a sloping plain on the northerly bank some 300 feet from the River’s edge, about 300 feet across the embankment. Formerly a moat surrounded it and the earthworks inside were surmounted by loophole palisades 14 feet high. About 100 feet east of the fort an underground powder magazine was connected with the fort by a tunnel.
The fort was named in honor of Major George Brewerton, Jr. an estimable officer of the English Army, who is believed by many to have had charge of the construction of the fort; however as the records are silent on this point it is a matter of conjecture.
Information about the Oliver Stevens Blockhouse:
The Oliver Stevens Blockhouse is a replica of the first settlement in Brewerton. Oliver Stevens and his family were the first settlers of the area who came over on the Mayflower 2. The Stevens family lived on the second floor while using the first floor as a trading post. During the cold winter months they had to live downstairs where the fireplace is located.
Regular museum hours are weekends in the summer or by appointment. There are special Christmas hours where the museum features antique toys and other Christmas items, as well as a tree that local children can come decorate. During the summer the museum also features a kid’s history camp.
The displays at the Blockhouse Museum are changed two to three times a year so there is always something new to look at! The displays shown below are only a sampling of the museum. If you’d like to see the rest make sure to go and check it out for yourself!
Fort Brewerton/Oliver Stevens Blockhouse Museum
9 US Rte. 11
Brewerton, NY 13029
The steps leading up to the museum are made of bricks you can purchase. To the right are two bricks from the Wood family past and present – including civil war veterans.
This George Washington portrait was found in an old one room school house north of Constantia.
A wonderful painting of what Fort Brewerton used to look like.
You can read all about the history and chronology of this clock when you visit the museum. It was made in 1824 and has had many owners. You can also read a comical story about where the holes in the top panel came from.
Oliver Stevens used the lower level of the blockhouse as a trading post with indians, trappers and early settlers. He sold traded medicine, dry goods and liquor. These items above are examples of what could have been found at his trading post.
This display tells the whole story of the Stevens family.
As you go upstairs, there is a big display of arrowheads, weapons and tools used by the local indians. These prehistoric arrowheads were found on the Fort Brewerton grounds and nearby locations.
This informative display shows where old historical buildings were, including photos of what the buildings used to look like.
A model of Fort Brewerton.
These are photos of boats built by Eli Milton, premier boat builder from 1881 – 1968. Milton donated the local library and built speed boats for Oneida Lake. He was also the town historian.
These are examples of glass products manufactured by the Cleveland Glass Factory in Cleveland, New York in the early 1800’s.
This bell came from a local one room school house.
Pictured above is Elliot Wood standing next to a WWII display that happens to feature him! Wood was stationed at the Sampson Naval Base on Lake Geneva. He has shared his WWII possessions with the museum, including photos, his sea bag, and a Japanese rifle he used in Okinawa.
If you are ever looking for genealogical information or you just love to read about local history, then you should check out the Blockhouse Museum’s records room! It has numerous books on local history, state history and world history. There are old photographs and documents as well.
These compartments house artifacts that don’t fit in the current displays.
To the right of the museum is the historic park where Fort Brewerton was located. You can still see the original earthworks that went around the Fort.
When you step outside of the Museum and look across the Oneida River you can see this white building, which used to be an old hotel called the Riverside House. The Riverside House dates back to the 1830s. You can learn more about old historical buildings when you visit the museum.