Fort Blunder: What’s In A Name?

Fort Montgomery

The official name of Fort Blunder is Fort Montgomery. It was only called Fort Blunder because of the story behind its creation. It was built by America after the war with the British in 1812. It is located in the shores of Lake Champlain, which is situated across the US-Canada border. The fort was built to fortify the area and to prevent another invasion from the British. There’s only one problem though. The Americans built it on the wrong side of the border. And they only discovered the mistake two years after construction began, through a joint survey conducted by both the US and Great Britain. Hence, the name Fort Blunder.

After the mistake has been discovered, the Americans immediately stopped the construction of the fort. The structures that were already built was abandoned. When the Americans left the area, residents of nearby towns started taking away stones and other building materials from the unfinished fort and used the materials to build their own homes. Then in 1842, the Americans and the British finally agreed to discuss what to do with the fort, along with other border-related issues. The US was able to convince the British to adjust the border so the unfinished fort can finally become American property. The border adjustment was one of the agreements formalized by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty that was signed in 1842. The US continued construction of the fort soon after and named it after General Richard Montgomery, a revolutionary war hero who was killed during the invasion of Canada in 1775. Unfortunately, the name Fort Blunder stuck more, especially for people who are aware of the fort’s history.

Fort Montgomery

When the American Civil War broke out in the 1860s, there were rumors that the British might intervene against the Union from Canada. The problem is, Fort Montgomery is still unfinished. So the Americans rushed the fort’s completion. When the basic structure was finished, the fort measure 48 feet high. By the late 1880s, it had 74 guns and all of them are pointing at Canada. But by then, the possibility of an attack coming from the Canadian side was so remote that there’s no reason for the US to fortify the border. Over the next 50 years, the guns at Fort Montgomery were taken down. The fort was once again abandoned and was pilfered again by local residents. A big part of the fort was eventually demolished and the stones from the demolition were used to build a bridge across Lake Champlain. Whatever remained of Fort Montgomery is now private property.

Fort Blunder

Ownership of Fort Montgomery was passed from one private entity to another. Currently, the property is owned by the Victor Podd family. The current owners tried to sell the property in 1999 through eBay. They received an offer for $5 million but the deal didn’t push through. The property is still available up to this day for anyone who wants to own a reminder of one of the most embarrassing moments in America’s history.

Fort Montgomery

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