Fort Roberdeau, also known as The Lead Mine Fort, is a historic fort located in Tyrone Township outside Altoona, Pennsylvania. It was built in 1778, during the American Revolution and was occupied until 1780. Initial efforts were made in 1939-41 to reconstruct the fort by concerned local agencies with support from the National Youth Administration. The stockade was finally reconstructed as a Bicentennial project in 1975-76.
The original fort was built of horizontal logs with a bastion at each corner. The fort was originally erected by General Daniel Roberdeau to protect local lead mining activities from the Native Americans and Tories. The fort is open to the public as a historic site, administered and owned by Blair County.
The site consists of the reconstructed fort and its structures (officers’ quarters, storehouse, barracks, blacksmith shop, lead miner’s cabin, powder magazine, and lead smelter), 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 an original frontier house. The site is open May 1 through October 31.
I was at the fort yesterday to speak to the members of the American Revolution Round Table of Central Pennsylvania. If you live in the central Pennsylvania area and are interested in learning more about the American Revolution, I encourage you to attend one of meetings of the round table. This is a fast-growing and vibrant group of revolutionary-era history buffs.
On the request of Mark DeVecchis, the round table president, I spoke on Philip Vickers Fithian and the American Revolution. Of course the talk was based on my 2008 book The Way of Improvement Leads Home: Philip Vickers Fithian and the Rural Enlightenment in Early America. It was good to revisit the themes of the this book:
I haven’t lectured on Philip Vickers Fithian in a few years. I will be doing it again tomorrow afternoon in Altoona. It’s always good to return to the questions, ideas, and stories that animated my early career as a historian. https://t.co/omYGfGI8PA
— John Fea (@JohnFea1) October 5, 2019
I want to thank Mark DeVecchis and Glenn Nelson, Director of Fort Roberdeau, for their hospitality during our visit. We hope to return soon.
Here are some pics: