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Fort Shantok State Park
Fort Shantok State Park
samuel hoff

Fort Shantok was Mohegan Indians’ primary settlement between 1636 and 1682. The village was a fortified, well-defended stronghold on an elevated site along the Thames River of Connecticut. The fort used by Mohegan leader Uncas defended against the Narragansett’s in 1645. The battle continued until assistance by an English force caused the Narragansett’s retreat returning home.

On the most influential Mohegan leaders was Uncas. He was chief of the Mohegan’s and through an alliance with the English colonists was the leading Indian tribe in lower Connecticut.

The Fort Shantok State Park, a Mohegan Indian Tribe village was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1993. The park including the fort was purchased as a state park in 1930 increasing park size to 160 acres. It was a burial ground for over one hundred identified graves.

Its new Freedom Forest opened the summer of 2006 with a gravel trail leading from the park entrance. It has several picnic tables with views of a small dam and field near active railroad tracks along the Thames River.

A wigwam shaped Leffingwell Memorial in the park has the following inscription.
"Here stood the fort of Uncas Sachem of the Mohegan’s and friend of the English; here in 1645 when beseiged [sic] by the Narragansetts he was relieved by the bravery of Lt. T.I. Leffingwell.”

Montville is a town of 19,571 that is 5 miles southwest of Mohegan Sun Casino Resort. In the 17th century Mohegan Indian tribe established a village known as Fort Shantok, now called Montville. Norwich is 8 miles north of Uncasville with a population of 40,493 and known as ‘The Rose of New England’.

Uncasville is an area in Montville at the mouth of the Oxoboxo River. The federal government recognized the Mohegan Indian tribe of Connecticut as occupants of the area. Five hundred seven acres was deeded to the tribe in 1994 for their reservation. The tribe developed and built the Mohegan Sun Casino Resort on their land in 1996.

Mohegan Sun Casino Resort is one of the largest casinos in the world on a 185-acre site. It has over 300,000 square feet of gaming within three casinos. It’s 34 floor luxury hotel tower has 1,200 rooms, with a 130,000 square foot retail shopping complex, 40 restaurants and bars, three entertainment centers, a 20,000 square foot world class spa and additional attractions.

Montville is a 5 ¾ hours drive and 373 miles from Rochester NY. Drove I-90 east past Albany into Massachusetts to Springfield. Then drive south on to Hartford CT, and route 2 southeast to US 395. Near Norwich exit onto route 32 south following signs to Fort Shantok State Park.

Here is a destination with a heritage dating back to early colonial days. But it’s up to date with the latest development a modern casino resort has to offer.