Sightseeing on the Delaware; May the Fort be with you!
Although the complex was never really a military installation, the threats of everyday life in the wilderness and the inherent danger that came with the territory were very real, and the stockade served a purpose. “Although friendly relations with the Lenape were in place,” Conway continued, “there were unknowns when other tribes were encountered, and if settlers were unnerved, the women and children would hole up in the original Lower Fort, and signals would alert the others, but it appears that the only real threat occurred there in 1763. It’s a great story that visitors can hear in detail when they come to visit.”
Not far away, the very real Battle of Minisink is re-created each year and throughout the season the Fort Delaware Museum hosts lecturers and scholars who stop in to share the “very colorful, very rich” history that the region was home to. “The sacrifices that these people endured were no less real than those who encountered battles during better known scenes of war,” Conway continued, “and the tableaus of everyday life recreated here are faithful depictions.”
I strolled the grounds with a guide, who was well versed, and his anecdotal references were interesting, informative and vividly illustrated the settler’s life. Around every corner, re-enactors could be found in period dress, making history come alive, and I learned a great deal about colonial life during my stay. “We get a lot of visitors en route to another destination,” Conway reported, “and the Fort provides a picture of what was going on in America during this period in history. According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, 90% of traveling Americans make it a point to explore places of historical significance, and it is our goal to provide those visitors with a great experience. I love observing the kids who are being exposed to a radically different way of life. As they put down the iPads and cell phones, they are transported to another era and seem to walk away with renewed appreciation for what they have, and what their predecessors did not.”