Fort Roberdeau is a Blair County Park. The park grounds consist of over 200 acres of land in the scenic setting of Sinking Valley. The grounds are open to the public year round 8am until sunset. Although the fort is only open to tours part of the year, there are other activities available at the site year round. Picnic tables, pathways, geocaching, a lot of space to walk and wander and cross country skiing in the winter.
The fort, also known as The Lead Mine Fort, is a reconstruction of the original fort that stood here in the 18th Century. The original fort was built in 1778, during the American Revolution to help supply the Continental forces with lead for ammunition. The original fort was built of horizontal logs with a bastion at each corner. It was a cabin fort, with 48 cabins in the initial structure, which helped reinforce the walls. General Daniel Roberdeau organized and paid for the construction. It protected local lead mining activities, as well as local settlers from the Native Americans and Tories in the region..
Efforts were made in 1939-41 to reconstruct the fort with support from the National Youth Administration. With the outbreak of World War II the plans were put on hold. In 1974 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The stockade was finally reconstructed as a Bicentennial project in 1975-76. The fort is open to the public. It is administered and owned by the County of Blair, PA.
The fort consists of a reconstructed fort and 5 buildings along with a smelter. Also on the grounds is a restored barn (1859) which serves as visitor center, a restored farmhouse (ca. 1860), a sinkhole, a trail system, and a log house (2012) built in the style of a frontier house. There are currently plans for a playground to be added to the grounds.
Fort Roberdeau was built to protect a lead mining and smelting operation in sinking Valley during the American Revolution. Fort Roberdeau, the "Lead Mine Fort," as it was called in the 18th century, was built during the spring and summer of 1778. The Fort was built to protect settlers in the region as well as the newly founded lead mining operation. General Daniel Roberdeau, who financed and directed the work, was a wealthy merchant, a member of Congress, and a Brigadier General elected by the Associators of Philadelphia. He arrived in late April with the intention of establishing a lead smelting operation and constructing a stockade.
Unlike many forts, this fort was constructed using horizontal logs. The limestone of the valley is so close to the surface that it prevented the normal procedure of digging the post holes for the vertical logs and then backfilling around the logs.
The Fort was only in operation for a few years. Once France entered the war the country's lead supply problems were greatly answered. Locals continued to use the Fort for protection after the lead mining operations ceased until 1781 when the region became too dangerous to settlers.
Text source: website Fort Roberdeau
Photo by Pubdog https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16988704