Press-Republican

Local News

April 3, 2009

Stone walls collapse at Fort Ti

[-BULLET-] Officials say no danger to public; fort slated to open May 21

TICONDEROGA — Two stone walls have collapsed at Fort Ticonderoga, but officials there say the fort will open as scheduled this spring.



Two sections of the northwest bastion at the fort gave way at the end of March, fort Acting Executive Director Kelly O'Neil-Teer said Friday.



She said there is no danger to the public, and the fort will still open as planned on May 21.



"We've been watching that area for a while. It's reinforced. It doesn't pose any danger to our guests."



EROSION

The sections that fell in are on the left as visitors enter the fort, she said, and aren't normally seen or accessed by the public.



The national historic landmark was built by the French in 1755 and has had trouble in recent years with stone walls eroding. Most of the fort's walls were reconstructed from 1913 to 1925, when the Pell family rebuilt the fort and opened it to the public.



Fort Board of Trustees President Peter S. Paine Jr. said he'll be working with O'Neil-Teer and the staff to formulate repair options.



He said the west and northwest sides of the bastion are what collapsed.



"This is in an area we have been watching for a number of years, so it doesn't come as a surprise. It's veneer, as opposed to structural. It's stone over a concrete foundation."



The area was already fenced off to prevent public access, he said.



"At this time of year, it's not unusual to have problems from the spring freeze-and-thaw cycle."



PREVIOUS REBUILD

The west demi-lune wall at the fort collapsed in April 1997 and cost $475,000 to rebuild. The demi-lune is an outer triangular wall used as a first line of defense.



O'Neil-Teer said the current wall collapses aren't as severe as the demi-lune and are structurally reinforced.

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