Civil War reenactment to move

The annual Civil War Reenactment Weekend that has traditionally been held at Robert Moses State Park in Massena will move to the St. Lawrence Power and Equipment Museum in Madrid, where a Civil War-era fort is being constructed. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

MADRID — The annual Civil War Reenactment Weekend that has traditionally been held at Robert Moses State Park in Massena will have a new home starting this year.

The weekend of events will be held July 25 and 26 at the St. Lawrence Power and Equipment Museum, Madrid, where a Civil War-era fort is being constructed. The weekend is co-sponsored by the St. Lawrence County Historical Association and St. Lawrence Power Museum, and events will be located near Fort Tribute on the Power Museum grounds.

“It is being moved to the new fort on the grounds of the Power Museum,” reenactor Scott A. Wilson said. “It is a partnership between my reenacting group at the fort, the museum and (St. Lawrence County) Historical Association.”

Like the Massena event, the 19th annual Civil War Weekend will include skirmishes on Saturday and Sunday, as well as other activities like music and lectures.

“The fort was intended to be a living history exhibit, and the new venue will offer additional exhibits such as the blacksmith shop, log house and 1800s school house that wasn’t afforded at the Robert Moses site,” Mr. Wilson said. “We have appreciated the ability to be in Massena, but believe this move will only enhance the Civil War Weekend experience.”

“Having it at the park was very, very nice. The setting was ideal,” St. Lawrence County Historical Association Executive Director Randy M. Merrill said.

However, the reenactment weekend and the new fort being built will augment some of the features already up and running on the museum’s grounds, such as the blacksmith shop.

“It also highlights a part of our county and the surrounding area that probably doesn’t get a lot of tourism. I think that’s a great boost for the Historical Association that we’re partnering up in a different part of the county,” Ms. Merrill said.

In addition to the Civil War Reenactment Weekend, the Historical Association maintains an archive that covers the county and also hosts a Civil War Roundtable.

“Not that many people realize that we have a first-class historical group representing the county. The association is just a premiere place to stop if you have any questions about the history of the county and region,” said Roger Austin, secretary for the St. Lawrence Power and Equipment Museum Board of Directors. “We’re excited about the effort between the museum and the St. Lawrence County Historical Association. I think it’s the best of both organizations.”

He said travelers may drive by the museum grounds on Route 345 in Madrid and wonder what’s there.

“I think it (Civil War Weekend) is another attraction,” Mr. Austin said.

The museum’s buildings, exhibits and collections take visitors back in time to tell the story of the men and women who built, operated and traveled the north country.

“We have a good variety of industry and farming experiences that are demonstrated and preserved,” he said.

Now, they’re adding another element, the Civil War, which had an impact in the north country — recruits who joined in the battle, and some of the first Medal of Honor recipients.

“There’s a lot that happened that is relevant to our area,” Mr. Austin said.

That’s showcased during the reenactment weekend through the new fort and the activities that will be taking place.

“It’s not just the reenactors that are moving. It’s all of the elements that go into the Civil War, everything from the logistics of battle to encampments,” he said.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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