Fort Schenectady

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Fort Schenectady (1661-1783) - A Colonial Fort first established by the Dutch in 1661 in present day Schenectady, Schenectady County, New York. First named Corlaer's Fort in 1661, then Queen's Fort (1704), then Fort Cosby (1755) and finally Fort Schenectady (1775) after the town. Abandoned as a fortification in 1783 at the end of the Revolutionary War. In contemporary records as well as later writing, the name is often seen spelled Corlar or Corlear.

Schenectady Plan Showing Fortification Details

Corlaer's Fort (1661-1690)

A Dutch colonial fort established in 1661 and expanded in 1672 into the town of "Schenectida" and surrounded by a palisade. The north gate was located at the north end of Church Street while a south gate was located at the south end of Church Street at present day State Street, then the Albany Road. Two block houses were built in opposing corners while the main fort was located at present day intersection of Washington and Front Streets. This fort and the town were destroyed by the French on 8 Feb 1690 during King William's War. The attacking French and their Indian allies infiltrated the unguarded town in the dead of night during a snowstorm. They killed 60 inhabitants, set fire to 78 dwellings destroying the fort and the town.

The town and fort were not immediately rebuilt and the town remained depopulated until well after King William's War ended with the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697.

Queen's Fort (1704-1755)

The Treaty of Ryswick ending King William's War did not hold long and Queen Anne's War (1702-1713) began before the town and fort could be reconstructed. Reconstruction began in 1704 with a triple stockade covering a larger area with blockhouses at all corners of the enclosure armed with cannons. The main fort was located at the northeast corner of the stockade (present-day Front, Ferry, and Green Streets). This intersection is now a circle that contains a statue of Lawrence the Indian at its center.

The fort was rebuilt in 1735 with stone foundations, heavy timbers and a new stockade with five blockhouses. The French and Indians attacked Schenectady again in 1748, during King George's War and killed some 70 residents.

Fort Cosby (1755-1775)

The fort was kept up during the French & Indian War (1754-1763) and was renamed Fort Cosby in 1755. but by the start of the Revolutionary War it had seriously deteriorated.

Fort Schenectady (1775-1783)

At the beginning of the Revolutionary War (1775-1783) the remains of the old fort were partially dismantled and used for construction of the Continental Army barracks. The stockade at this point enclosed some 500 houses but the new barracks were placed outside the stockade. The name of the fort was then changed to Fort Schenectady and it remained that until the end of the war in 1783. In 1783 the fort, including the stockade and blockhouses was dismantled.


Schenectady New York Forts (edit list)
Name Estab Abandon Town County GPS Notes
Corlaer's Fort 1661 1690 Schenectady Schenectady 42.81785,
-73.94908
Arendt Van Curler
Queen's Fort (2) 1704 1755 Schenectady Schenectady 42.81831,
-73.94576
Queen Anne
aka Royal Fort
Fort Cosby 1755 1775 Schenectady Schenectady 42.81831,
-73.94576
William Cosby
Fort Schenectady 1775 1783 Schenectady Schenectady 42.81831,
-73.94576

Current Status

Statues, markers and some interpretive signs mark part of the city but no remains of the fortifications.


Location: Schenectady, Schenectady County, New York.

Maps & Images

Lat: 42.81831 Long: -73.94576

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