November 30, 2015
OSWEGO - Friends of Fort Ontario will host a holiday open house at Fort Ontario State Historic SiteFriday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings, Dec. 11 to 13, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The theme of the open house, which will be held in the newly restored and furnished Enlisted Men's Barracks within the old stone fort, will be "A Soldier's Christmas at Fort Ontario."
Desserts representative of the diverse ethnic backgrounds of soldiers and prepared with ingredients available to army cooks posted at the fort in the late 1860swill be displayed on the mess tablesthe night before Christmas.Upstairs the soldiers sleep soundly in their bunks, anticipating the holiday free from drill and fatigue duty. Guests are invited to enjoyFort Ontario molasses cookies, cider, coffee, and tea; they are also welcome to make and take home Victorian ornaments, singVictorian Christmas carols, and take pictures of themselves in a life-size cutout of fort bugler, George "Max" Dietz and his wife, Anna.
For those wishing to support programming, restoration, events, and other Friends of Fort Ontario sponsored activities, the museum shop will be open and a variety of fort related clothing, souvenirs, history books, and 2016 Friends memberships will be offered for sale. Samples of American Heritage Drinking Chocolate will be available for tastingand for sale with other historically accurate colonial era chocolate.
Admission to the Holiday Open House at Fort Ontario is free and open to the public. Fort Ontario State Historic Site is located off Route 104 East at the north end of East Fourth Street in the City of Oswego.
Guests are encouraged to wear appropriate footwear and clothing for cold and windy conditions prevalent at the fort, and to bringtheir own flashlights. There is plenty of free parking available in the main visitor lot, and those with special needs are encouraged to contact the fort beforehand. For more information on the fort and event, contact Jennifer Emmons or Paul Lear at (315) 343-4711.
Newly arrived German immigrant George Martin "Max" Dietz enlisted in the U.S. Army and served at Fort Ontario in 1869-70. Dietz married a local woman, Anna Schuler, whose parents also came from Germany, and settled in Oswego when his enlistment expired. The couple raised a family whose descendants still live in the area today. Many American holiday traditions and foods have German origins, and some of these will be reflected in the desserts displayed in the furnished 1868 kitchen-mess room.
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