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Aug. 5, 2005

Seaway Trail Spotlights Special Fort Ontario Walk

OSWEGO - Visitors and residents can learn more about Fort Ontario's history from 1940 to 1953 during a special Seaway Trail Walks at 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11.

Friends of Fort Ontario volunteer Bill McCarthy will guide walkers around the grounds of Fort Ontario State Historic Site. During the period from 1940 to 1953, Fort Ontario was home to the Headquarters Brigade of the 28th Infantry, the 1212th Service Battalion, trained quartermaster department personnel, military police, and also sheltered European refugees fleeing Nazi persecution during World War II.

After World War II, Fort Ontario was turned over to the State Housing Authority and many of its buildings were converted to apartments for veterans and their families as well as veterans studying at SUNY Oswego under the G.I. Bill. In 1949, the fort was turned over to the State Education Department for development as a state historic site but it wasn't until 1953 that the last of the veterans and their families left.

The tour will start on East First Street at the entrance to the O&W Railroad Tunnel, next to the Oswego Tea Company. An $8 per person fee ($4 for children under 12) will be collected at the start of each walk. The tour lasts 1 hours.

Seaway Trail Walks is an opportunity to explore Oswego's rich history this summer in a leisurely walking tour sponsored by local historical groups and Seaway Trail, Inc. The Oswego walks run every Thursday through Sept. 22. The program is a shoreline tourism and economic development initiative begun in 2003 by Seaway Trail, Inc.

The Seaway Trail Walks in Oswego are a collaborative effort by the Oswego County Historical Society, Heritage Foundation of Oswego County, H. Lee White Marine Museum, local historians and the Oswego County Department of Promotion and Tourism.

The walks, modeled after the London, England Walks program, are also held in Westfield, Lewiston, North Tonawanda, Clayton, Sackets Harbor, Alexandria Bay and Waddington in New York State, and in Erie, Pennsylvania.

For more information on Seaway Trail Walks, contact the Seaway Trail at 1-800-SEAWAY-T or visit the Web site at www.seawaytrail.com

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