Fort Roberdeau ready for Fourth of July festivities

Fort Roberdeau is ready for the Fourth of July weekend according to its executive director Peggy Goodman.
“There will be a number of special events especially the July 4 weekend and the following weekend,” said Goodman. “But people will enjoy a visit to our site any time of the year.”
Fort Roberdeau Historic Site and Natural Area is a 230-acre park owned by Blair County. The fort was reconstructed in 1976 as a bicentennial project and commemorates the original 1778-81 Revolutionary War fort.
The original fort was constructed under the direction of General Daniel Roberdeau, the first general elected by the Associators of Pennsylvania on July 4, 1776. In 1778, he became a Pennsylvania delegate to the Second Continental Congress. A prosperous Philadelphia merchant, Roberdeau was an important member of the Pennsylvania government for many years prior to the Revolution, and a founding member of the first hospital in the nation, the Philadelphia Hospital.
The original fort was a refuge for settlers whose farms were being destroyed by raiding parties of British Rangers and their Iroquois, Delaware, Wyandot and Shawnee allies. It was the depot for ordnance and ammunition for the large frontier Bedford County. The fort helped to prevent the evacuation of settlers on the western frontier, keeping the “back door” guarded from incursions launched from Fort Niagara and Fort Detroit.
Fort Roberdeau also protected a lead mining and smelting operation which provided critically needed lead for ammunition to the Continental Army.
Today, the site is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites and is one of the nation’s significant cultural and historic resources. It is surrounded by a historic landscape nearly unchanged since the Revolution.
The site also serves as a educational resource serving visitors, including thousands of students each year.
Fort Roberdeau includes a reconstructed stockade containing six log buildings; an 1858 barn containing exhibits, a museum shop and multi-use space; an 1860 farmhouse containing four classrooms and resource materials; and White Oak Hall which houses offices, a library and community rental space.
Daily tours are conducted May through October with a charge of $4 for adults and $2 for kids ages 3-11. Special events scheduled this season include:
• Sunday, July 3 a free concert will be given starting at 7 p.m. featuring the well-known 28th Division Band;
• Monday July 4 features a “Star Spangled Picnic” from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors are invited to bring a picnic basket for revolutionary music and fun;
• Revolutionary War Days will be held the following Saturday and Sunday (July 9 and 10) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event is an annual reenactment featuring an 18th century camp, demonstrations, fashion show, crafts, food, and at 3 p.m. an “attack” on the fort. There is an additional $1 charge for this event;
• Also on July 9, starting at 5 p.m., an 18th century supper and English country dancing will be featured. There is a charge of $25 and
• Young Patriots Day July 22 where youngsters spend a 1778-style day in costume as a colonial child, making the stew and guarding the fort.
“This event is to help us pay for the land we recently added to the site,” explained Goodman. “All of the food recipes are old and have been researched.”
Additionally, the Fort Roberdeau Association’s annual picnic will be held Aug. 18, starting at 6 p.m. There is a charge of $12, and the Hollidaysburg Alumni Community Band will present a free concert at 7:30 p.m.
“All of our programs have been a big success in the past and we expect them to be this season,” said Goodman.
The fort is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday and Monday from 1-5 p.m.
To visit the fort from Huntingdon County, take U.S. Route 22 west to Route 453 at Water Street, and then follow the signs into Blair County’s Sinking Valley.