Fort Ligonier was built atop a Laurel Highlands hilltop of Ligonier Pennsylvania in September 1758. It was built as a staging area for the Forbes Expedition of 1758 during the French and Indian War. This important link provided supplies and communication lines for the British to Fort Pitt.
The fort flying the British flag was named after British noble, John Ligonier with the rank of Field Marshal in the British Army. During the forts use for over 8 years it garrisoned troops. It was never captured after two enemy native Indian attacks. The fort was decommissioned from active service at the end of the French & Indian War in 1766.
Forbes Expedition of 1758 was a military expedition of the French and Indian War. Its goal was capture of Fort Duquesne from the French in present day Pittsburgh. At its peak 4,000 British troops were encamped at Fort Ligonier making it the 2nd largest community in Pennsylvania at the time.
Eight acres of Fort Ligonier’s original site of have been restored with a full size reconstruction of the 1758 original fort. The inner fort is 200 feet square with four bastions and three gates. An outer trench 1,600 feet long surrounds the fort. There are officer’s quarters, soldier’s barracks, a quartermaster storehouse and commissary. In addition a blacksmith shop, sentry boxes, a Cherokee/Catawba Dwelling, and artillery batteries. Buildings outside the fort include a hospital complex of two wards and surgeons’ hut, clay bake ovens, smoke house, sawmill, and forge.
The fort defenses included a Five and a Half-Inch Howitzer, Six-Pound Field Piece, and Twelve-Pound Field Piece. Artillery pieces were place in batteries shielded by dry moats to raise their defensive position. Moats were 12’ wide and 7’ deep with a 7’ elevation advantage.
Another defensive component was portable protective obstacles called Chevaux de fries, or “Horses of Friesland”. They are wooden barriers sometimes studded with iron and inter connected by chains to repel an enemy attack.
200 South Market Street, Ligonier, PA
Open April 13 – November 9, 2013
Monday – Saturday 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Sunday – 12:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Adult - $10.00 with reduced rates for seniors, students and children
Ligonier is a borough of population 1,573, at 1,197’ altitude, settled in 1760. The community has tourist attractions Idlewild Park, one of the oldest amusement parks in the country. Altoona is a city of population 46,320, the tenth most densely populated city in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Railroad founded it as a major railroad town in 1849.
Johnstown is a city 41 miles southwest of Altoona, 70 miles east of Pittsburgh and 22 miles northeast of Fort Ligonier. It has a population of 20,978, settled in 1770. It’s known for three major floods, the worst 1889, later in 1936 and 1977.
Greenburg is a city of 14,892 population, 18 miles west of Ligonier. Named after major general Nathanael Green of the American Revolutionary War. Somerset is a borough with a population of 6,277. The town off exit 110 of the Pennsylvania Turnpike is the ninth highest elevation (2,190) in Pennsylvania.
Fort Ligonier Is a 5:15 hour drive of 332 miles from Rochester NY. Drive I-90 west to Erie PA, then south on US 79 toward Pittsburgh. Before Pittsburg exit onto US 76, then drive east on route 30 to Ligonier.
Here is a visitor’s impression of this historic fort.
“American heritage just doesn't get any cooler than this. “