The Fort La Presentation Association has acquired the Thomas Duffy property on Van Rensselaer Point, which includes the actual site of the fort, Association President Barbara O’Keefe announced March 31.
The Association’s purchase of the Duffy property is significant according to Mrs. O’Keefe. “The Fort La Présentation Association’s mission to help preserve, research and interpret the rich history of the City of Ogdensburg and St. Lawrence River Valley,” she said. “Archeological excavations undertaken on the site by the New York State Museum uncovered the ruins of the fortification and numerous artifacts from the 18th century French and English occupation of the site,” she said.
Thomas Duffy recognized the property’s historical significance and wanted it to be in the hands of an organization that would preserve it for the future when he approached the Association and offered to sell the property in late 2020. “The Association recognized this would be its one and only opportunity to acquire the site of the original fort and preserve this unique cultural resource for future archeological research and interpretation of the area’s fascinating history,” said Mrs. O’Keefe.
“We are absolutely thrilled that Mr. Duffy has provided us with such a once in a lifetime opportunity to help preserve Ogdensburg’s rich history,” said Mrs. O’Keefe. In addition to selling the land, Duffy gave the Association title to archeological artifacts that had been recovered in previous digs on the property. The artifacts are being curated by the State Museum and SUNY Potsdam.
Long-term, the Association’s intention is to encourage archeological surveys of the site to help develop a better understanding of the people who have inhabited it, and how the site fits into the history of the St. Lawrence River Valley. The former Duffy property may not be open to the public until the Association has assessed those areas that are most appropriate for the community to visit.