Destination PA: Blair County fort transports visitors back in time

Destination PA

ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — If you ever dreamed about being transported back in time, a Revolutionary War fort in Blair County Pennsylvania is doing just that for its visitors. Fort Roberdeau is located in a rural community in Blair County and has a lot of history to offer guests.

The Executive Director, Glenn Nelson for the attraction said the site has several living historians and volunteers that share their knowledge and skills of what life would have been like on the American frontier.

“This site was used as a lead smelding operation during the Revolution,” said Nelson.

“The federal government was looking for bicentennial projects and the state of Pennsylvania gave some money to all 67 Counties and here in Blair County they selected Fort Roberdeau because it was a Revolutionary War fort,” said Nelson. “Fort Roberdeau is really special to visit because it is a revolutionary war fort and we had men that served here that became pension Veterans of the American Revolutionary war so that was very cool and very important and some of the lead smelded here actually got to the continental army and General Washington.”

Fort Roberdeau will be opening for the season May 1, 2021 – Oct. 31, 2021. The site has a gift shop on location for guests to take a piece of the fort home with them.

The historical site is a common place for area schools to come for a field trip.

“The school kids are blown away by two things — no running water and no electricity so that’s a real shock to thinking about living like that,” said Nelson.

Several costumed interpreters are located throughout the site to teach folks young and old about things like making bullets, loading weapons, dressing as a soldier, tin smith operations, what the typical farmhouse would have looked like, or even a trip to the doctor.

And people travel from all around the world to check out Fort Roberdeau.

“During a summer tour season we may see folks from 40 plus states we’ve tried to get all 50 states in one season and the best we’ve done is 48 and typically we get between 15 and 25 different countries to visit as well,” said Nelson.

If history isn’t your thing, the site offers hiking trails, picnic tables, geo-catching, and the Mt. Lion observatory for those who enjoy learning about astronomy and the night sky.

Fort Roberdeau also offers many events throughout the year for people of all ages. The park can be toured throughout their open season, but they host special events like their Star Spangled Fourth of July, Revolutionary War Days, Ranger Skills Days, and Halloween Adventure Days.

In all, Nelson thinks it’s important to preserve sites like Fort Roberdeau as a way to remember and commemorate the pieces of American history.

“It’s very important to try to keep American history alive and what more important than where the country actually started so this was an American Revolutionary War fort that contributed to independence”

For more details on the history of Fort Roberdeau, you can also visit their website or call (814) 946-0048.

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