Sackets Harbor: An extraordinary history and present day charm


SACKETS HARBOR, N.Y. (WWTI) – On the banks of Lake Ontario is the small village of Sackets Harbor, filled with quaint shops, restaurants and a rich history. At the center of that history is the Sackets Harbor Battlefield.

Connie Barone, site manager of the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site, said the site is most well known for its War of 1812 history.  The site is recognized by the National Parks Service as one of the top War of 1812 sites in the United States.

On June 18, 1812, President James Madison signed a declaration of war against Great Britain, which marked the beginning of the War of 1812. For the next two years, the site in Sackets Harbor served as a key defense location for American troops.

During the war, Sackets Harbor was a strategic location for American troops because it was opposite of the British-controlled areas. There was a fight for control of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River for communication and transportation. Sackets Harbor was the only natural harbor on this side of Lake Ontario that was suitable for ship building.

Sackets Harbor is also home to a mid-19th century Naval Yard. The site is filled with artifacts, monuments, buildings, a memorial tree grove and cannons from both time periods.

The cannons in the Navy Yard were brought to Sackets Harbor in 1863 during the Civil War.  There were approximately 20 at the time and there are now two remaining. There is also a cannon in the memorial tree grove that came from the St. Lawrence River, one on the Fort Kentucky earthen works and some in the downtown area of the village.

Story panels have been created during the time of NYS on PAUSE to bring the inside history outside for public viewing, while practicing social distancing and maintaining guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The panels are hung on the fence at the Navy Yard.

After traveling through time at these historic sites, visitors can conclude their visit in the present by enjoying the beautiful sites, shops, cuisine and adventure that the quaint village has to offer.

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