WHEATFIELD – A 60-ton stone chimney, all that remains of a French-built fort near Niagara Falls, is to be moved to a new home this summer, with $200,000 in Niagara River Greenway funding paying for the project.
The Host Communities Standing Committee, which holds the purse strings for Greenway funds in Niagara County, unanimously approved the allocation Tuesday in a meeting at the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency offices.
Its attorney, Stanley Widger, said the funding is contingent on approval of the move Monday by the Falls City Council. The chimney is city property.
The stone chimney, believed to date from about 1750, is regarded as the second-oldest masonry structure west of the Hudson River, behind the French Castle at Old Fort Niagara.
Sherry Shepherd-Corulli, a consultant working for the city, said no city funds will be needed to move the 25-foot-high chimney.
It will be taken apart and reassembled on the “spoils pile” left by the New York Power Authority when the Robert Moses Parkway was built. The site along the bank of the Upper Niagara River is accessible from an exit from the eastbound parkway.
The chimney’s current location in what Shepherd-Corulli called a “pocket park” isn’t well-known or marked. It’s stuffed into an embankment along the parkway near the John B. Daly Boulevard exit.
That once was a larger park, called Porter Park, which was virtually wiped out by the parkway construction. Now, the state plans to reconfigure the parkway at the entrance to the Niagara Falls State Park this summer, and that “South Gateway Project” would wipe out the chimney’s current location.
It’s been moved twice before, once in 1902 and once in 1942, when it was taken to its current location. The original site of the French Army’s Fort du Portage is now occupied by the Washington Mills plant on Buffalo Avenue.
The “spoils pile” also is known as the site of the former Adams Intake Canal. The Power Authority moors its icebreaker there.
Shepherd-Corulli said there are long-range plans for developing the spoils pile into “a passive park,” to be called RiverView Heritage Park. But at the moment, the primary development there is an osprey mating platform that does not seem to have been used by any ospreys.