Palisaded Fort

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Corner of Keehl St and Maplewood Dr.
Rochester, NY
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Inscription

Palisaded Fort
In 1880 George Harris discovered remains of a 3 acre palisaded village built by Native Americans centuries before.

Erected

By the County of Monroe — 1990

What was there

A large prehistoric Native American fortified village. Then in the vicinity, the earliest Rochester-area settlement of King’s Landing (later Fall Town, then Hanford’s Landing).

What is there now

Monroe County Pure Waters air filtration system for an Eastman Kodak Company industrial wastewater treatment facility (the facility is below the bluff at King’s Landing). The area surrounding the filtration structures is now a park, the Genesee Riverway Trail now runs through here and a pedestrian bridge crosses the Genesee River at this point.

More information

An excerpt about George Henry Harris from “A Complete Military History and Record of the 108th Regiment N.Y. Vols., from 1862 to 1894

George H. Harris was born at West Greece December 29, 1843. He had resided in Charlotte Rochester Hinsdale and Buffalo. He removed to Green Bay and Fort Howard, Wis., when a lad. His health being delicate, he spent a year among the forests and streams of Wisconsin and there became an expert in the use of the rifle and the canoe, and learned to love nature and adventure. At the age of 15 he was apprenticed to a watchmaker, who was a student of literature and history. When 18 years of age he returned to Rochester and entered Pierce’s Military Academy where he became an enthusiast in military skill and tactics and joined Company E, of the 54th Regiment. Mr. Harris spent several years in the west and was the first mail clerk between Omaha and St. Joseph. While Superintendent Stillson was at Mt Hope cemetery, he taught Mr .Harris surveying, landscape gardening, and every detail of cemetery work In 1872.

Mr. Harris early in life became a member of the Masonic fraternity and was one of the three masons in this city who held life certificates. When 21 years of age he joined Teoronto lodge I.O.O.F and was also a charter member and one of the first officers of Orient lodge. He conceived the idea of a canoe club and was instrumental in organizing the Rochester and Genesee Canoe clubs, being elected president of the latter upon its organization on September 29, 1882. He was an honorary member of the Livingston county, Waterloo, and Buffalo Historical Societies, and an active member of the Rochester Historical Society, the Academy of Science, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Mr. Harris was known throughout the country as a close student of the history of the Six Nations and the early settlers of the Genesee country. His research in this direction was pursued with such zeal and attention to detail that the results, which fortunately he was careful to preserve in records, are of incalculable value. His death is an irreparable loss for there is no one to take his place. He left a mass of fragmentary notes and a most interesting collection of relics. It was his intention to compile for publication the information he had secured from varied sources Indeed he had done some of this work. He contributed the opening chapters of Peck’s “History of Rochester.”

An excerpt about the archaeological site by George Henry Harris from “Aboriginal Occupation of the Lower Genesee Country” (1884)

The summit of the hill over which Lake avenue passes, near the present residence of Charles J. Burke, was once the site of a large Indian town, and all the slope and low
ground east of that place to the river and north to Hanford’s landing, was used for camping purposes. There were numerous springs along this hillside, and the Indians obtained flint from a quarry on the edge of the bluff’ near the river end of Frauenberger avenue. Numerous little heaps of flint chips, half-finished and broken arrow-heads, and other weapons of stone were found in the woods of that locality by the early settlers. Upon these grounds the late Dr. Chester Dewey gathered valuable relics of the stone age now in the Smithsonian institution.

The waters of the springs mentioned once formed a short creek, the channel of which was parallel with and some rods west of the edge of the bluff. This channel is yet quite distinct and so straight as to suggest the idea of artificial origin. It emptied over the edge of the cliff into the great dell at Hanford’s landing. At the upper end of this dell the waters of a larger stream, which has its source some miles westward, still dash recklessly over the cliff and hurry through the rocky passage below to join the river. Between these creeks, on land now owned by R. J. Smith, the ground takes the form of a low ridge, extending some distance southward from the cliff. The situation is grand and the view down the river and over the water, some two hundred feet below, very pleasing. A great fortification once stood on this ridge, but when or by whom constructed history tells not. Over a century ago it was a mere heap of ruins. Squier says it consisted of a semi-circular embankment, the ends of which reached the very edge of the immense ravine, and had three narrow gate-ways placed at irregular intervals. Every part of the embankment was obliterated long years ago, but its lines have been inferred by the quantities of relics found within certain sharply defined limits. It is a singular fact that no cemetery has been discovered in the vicinity of this place, the nearest burialground of the aborigines west of the Genesee, known to the writer, being some two miles distant.

From the top of the clift’ within the limits of the old fort a stone can be cast to the water’s edge at Hanford’s landing below. From the landing a path ran along the water at tlie base of the bluff, up the river to the lower falls. At the spot now called Buell’s landing, directly opposite Brewer’s landing, a path led up the face of the jutting rocks, reaching the table land in the vicinity of the flint quarry, and natives crossing the river often climbed this steep path in preference to the longer route by the lower landing. The first white settlers in this vicinity (Gideon King and others) widened a path leading up the great sloping bank from the old Indian landing north, to a wagon road. In 1798
Eli Granger laid the keel of the Jemima, a schooner of forty tons and the first American vessel built on the Genesee (some say the first built near Lake Ontario), at the foot of this road ; the landing, then called King’s, now Hanford’s, became the lake port, and there the steamer Ontario first touched the river bank when she commenced her trips in 1817. From the landing a second path curved up the little promontory on the north side of the dell, and extended around the edge of the cliff to the old fort.

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We would like to thank the following for helping us with this entry:
Matthew Conheady



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