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Owned by Fort Klock Historic Restoration, the largely original house has been restored and in 1973 was designated a National Historic Landmark, a site “of exceptional value in Commemorating or illustrating the history of the United States”. Fort Klock is not state or federally owned. The membership of Fort Klock Historic Restoration owns Fort Klock. Our membership is made up of a group of ordinary citizens who have banded together to preserve this historic site. Fort Klock is a non profit (501-C-3) organization. And is an educational institution charted by the Board of Regents of the New York State Education Department.Our primary goal is to preserve and accurately interpret our unique historic site.
Fort Klock is nestled in New York's beautiful Mohawk Valley about a mile east of St. Johnsville. It is an American-Militia outpost, heavily loop holed on every side for defense. From the cellar still bubbles a spring, which provided fresh water to the occupants. Fort Klock was used during the French and Indian wars and the American Revolution as a place of refuge. Fort Klock dates back to 1750 and was home to Johannes Klock, a member of the Committee of Saftey. The Fort was host to Alexander Hamilton, General Phillip Schuyler, General James Clinton, General Nicholas Herkimer and many more notable historic figures during the Revolution. The Battle of Klock's Field, the last major battle of the Revolution in the area took place just west of the Fort.
In 1953 Willis "Skip" Barshied, organized the Tryon County Muzzle Loaders, 12 men interested in collecting and shooting antique guns. Most of the group were between 20 and 25 years of age, Skip being 20 when he organized the group. They might have been satisfied simply to increase their membership to 60 people (which they did); they might have been satisfied with building a firing range where they could shoot their antique weapons; (which they did), but they needed a home, a meeting place for their organization. What they found was an abandoned, rundown old fort in bad need of repair; no doors, no windows, rooted floors and crumbling walls.Skip, as President of the organization, met with Alexander Don, the owner of Fort Klock. Alexander Don, a descendant of Johannes Klock had an antique musket of his own and joined the organization. To preserve Fort Klock as an historical monument for prosperity was long a dream of Alex Don. Convinced that the Muzzle Loaders were sincere in their avowed purpose of an historical restoration of this Fort, he gave the Muzzle Loaders a long term lease, a dollar a year for 20 years, with the option to renew that lease for an additional 20 years.
A plan was put into action to restore the old stone Fort, the windows and doors were replaced, the floor in the kitchen was replaced, ceiling beams repaired or replace where necessary, fireplaces restored and the crumbing walls were repaired. The Fort's Black Smith shop was also put back into service. Brush was cleared from the land, a farm building of a later date was torn down. The brush and unuseable wood from the farm building was piled up and set on fire. Then the unthinkable happened, the fire spread to the Fort Klock School, an abandoned one room school still owned by the St. Johnsville school system. After the fire, the muzzle loaders struck a deal with the school system to buy the old school. Later the little red school house was restored.
After the death of Alexander Klock Don in 1957, his wife Mable Don, also a member of the Muzzle Loaders Organization, deeded the Fort Klock property to the Muzzle Loaders. About 1961 the Fort was opened to the public for tours. Then in 1973, the name of the organization was changed from the Tryon County Muzzle Loaders, Inc. to the Fort Klock Historic Restoration and the Fort was designated a National Historic Landmark. A Dutch Barn, built about 1770 and maybe as early as 1740, was moved to the site and restored in 1989. This completed the present day restoration project. Fort Klock stands today as a tribute to those hard working intrepid musketeers known as the Tryon County Muzzle Loaders.
Other building of the restoration include the Fort Klock Country School, a typical one room "little red schoolhouse" of about 1825, completely restored and furnished as an example of a nearly-vanished American institution, and the Blacksmith Shop, a working industry that serviced the horse and rider during the mid-19th century with horse shoes and a wide variety of other items made of iron. Also on the property is a Colonial Dutch Barn and a cheese house converted into the caretakers quarters.