Off the Beaten Path: Fort Malden

IMG_20170714_160647This post originally appeared at Roadtreking

We recently planned a trip from our home in Michigan to Point Pelee National Park in Ontario, Canada so that we could take advantage of free admission as part of Canada’s 150th anniversary. Along the way, we took a side trip off the beaten path to an historic fort we spotted on Google Maps while planning our trip.

Fort Malden is located in Amherstburg, Ontario, about 35 minutes south of the Ambassador Bridge where you enter Canada from the U.S.  It was built in 1795 by Britain to protect against an invasion by those upstart Americans. Throughout its history, it is most known for its military use during the War of 1812 and also is the site of the longest occupation of any Canadian land by the United States. Over time, however, the main building that now serves as a museum has been everything from a private residence to a lumber mill to an insane asylum.

Visitors are able to see the wide array of Fort Malden’s history through the buildings that remain and the information provided in the museum. Local college and high school students get summer jobs serving as “soldiers” at the fort and help tell the history through period costumes and exhibitions of firing muskets and cannons.

The fort sits overlooking the Detroit River, so you can always take a stroll through the grounds to enjoy the view or sit and relax by the water to see if any boats happen to float by. Coming and going from the fort, you drive through the city of Amherstburg and the entrance is basically in a residential neighborhood now. I can only imagine what the soldiers from the 1800s would think of the area compared to what they saw!

Amherstburg is located along Highway 20 in the southwest corner of Ontario. It’s a pleasant drive and we think Fort Malden is a great stop to soak up some history and wander the well-manicured grounds. The staff was very friendly and welcomed questions, as they all seemed to enjoy talking about this historical treasure that is kind of tucked away. We recommend making it a stop if you’re going to be in the area.

Maybe some day soon we’ll run into you off the beaten path. Until then, happy travels everyone!

You can help document everyday history

How many times have you wandered past a building on your way to and from work or while walking around on your lunch hour and just considered it another routine place along your route? If you’re like me, you would probably answer “every day.” Well, thanks to Wikipedia, I’ve discovered that in downtown Lansing, my routes include everyday history.

As part of its continuing quest to improve itself, Wikipedia is now encouraging people to upload photos of buildings that are on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. I decided to check if there were any in Lansing that were missing photos to see if I could help out. What I found out was a lot of places in that city are on the registry, including a few I never considered.

Below, I’ve posted some of the photos I’ve submitted so far. Not only am I helping Wikipedia and the many people who rely on its databases, but I’m learning a lot about what until now has simply been passed by as a local building and not a moment in time.

If you’re interested in helping Wikipedia out, go to the Wiki Loves Monuments page and search for what piece of everyday history might be right around the corner from you.

Mutual Building, 208 N. Capitol Avenue

Masonic Temple, 217 S. Capitol Avenue

Lansing Woman’s Club, 118 W. Ottawa

First Baptist Church, 227 N. Capitol Avenue