Celebration planned for Fort Frederick's 250th

December 14, 2005|by TARA REILLY


Supporters of Fort Frederick State Park are trying to raise $1 million for the historic fort's 250th anniversary campaign that will include a weekend celebration and the reconstruction of a facility used as officers quarters during the French and Indian War.

Campaign counsel David Kuder, campaign committee member Ralph Young and other members of Friends of Fort Frederick Inc. asked the Washington County Commissioners for financial support Tuesday.

The fort supporters didn't request a specific amount of money.

"We wanted to let them dream big," Kuder said after the meeting.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook directed the group to apply for placement on a county list of nonprofit groups eligible to receive county money. The commissioners approve the list, but being placed on the list doesn't necessarily mean groups will receive a financial contribution, the commissioners have said.


Supporters hope the anniversary weekend, planned for Memorial Day weekend next year, will draw about 10,000 people.

The celebration is expected to include a groundbreaking ceremony for the reconstruction of The Governor's House, where officers stationed at the fort stayed, fort supporters said.

The house also served as headquarters for the fort's garrison and hosted a 1757 alliance meeting between Cherokee head warriors Wahachey and Youghtanew, and representatives of the colony of Maryland, according to the campaign's case statement.

The fort, built by Maryland Gov. Horatio Sharpe, was an "anchor" for the western frontier of the colony and immediate neighbors Virginia and Pennsylvania, according to the case statement.

"It was a very, very important fort," said Young, who worked as park manager at Fort Frederick.

The fort served as a POW camp during the Revolutionary War and as a base for Union troops during and after the Civil War.

The campaign case statement says the house project is estimated to cost $1.5 million, and that state dollars might be available toward that amount. Friends of Fort Frederick hopes to raise $750,000 toward the project and an additional $250,000 for other capital improvements, a new orientation film for visitors, new exhibits, interpretive programs and the Memorial Day weekend celebration.

The celebration, expected to cost $50,000, is scheduled to include fireworks, a 250th anniversary cake, a military band concert, re-enactors' food and other displays and features.

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