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Fort was frontier defense

September 24, 2006

BIG POOL - Fort Frederick served as frontier defense in Maryland during the French and Indian War.

This year, the fort celebrates its 250th anniversary.

The fort now is a state park.

Gov. Horatio Sharpe had the fort built in 1756 to protect English settlers from French and Indian raiding parties and to serve as a base of supplies for attacking the French, according to information provided by the park.

In 1763, American Indian Chief Pontiac staged a rebellion, and the fort provided shelter for civilians and other militia.

Future plans for the fort include the reconstruction of The Governor's House, which is where officers stationed at the fort stayed.

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 park supporters.

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The fort was a prisoner-of-war camp during the Revolutionary War, was the scene of skirmishes during the Civil War and was a farm owned by freed slaves in the late 1800s.

Pine trees dot the sides of the road that lead to a fort with four 120-foot-long walls.

Each limestone wall forms an arrow point at the end.

Two renovated buildings make up the east and west barracks in the fort; the east one is the museum.

With the C&O Canal in its backyard, the park offers fishing, campgrounds, hiking trails and boating. The park does not rent boats.

Attractions: Reservations may be made for the camping areas. There are picnic areas, a gift shop and three museums.

Hours: The park is open from 8 a.m. to sunset seven days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It is open from 8 a.m. to sunset Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to sunset on weekends and holidays from Nov. 1 through March 31. It is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Cost: A service fee to enter the fort is charged on weekends from Labor Day through Oct. 28; on weekends in April and May; and seven days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

The fee is $3 for adults, $2 for ages 6 to 12. Those younger than 6 are admitted free. Fees are charged for special events. Park admission is free.

The park is 18 miles west of Hagerstown in Big Pool off Md. 56.

Telephone: 301-842-2155

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