OGDENSBURG — Activity at Van Rensselaer Point was picking up Tuesday as Founder’s Day weekend approaches.
Workers from TJ Fiacco’s were laying down concrete pavers to outline the eventual walls of a replica of Fort de la Presentation that will one day be erected on the site.
Two crews of 10 Youth Conservation Corps workers were trimming brush and sprucing up the point in preparation for the weekend that will bring hundreds of people to the site to view live re-enactments of land and water battles of the French and Indian War as well as French, British, native and maritime encampments.
When people arrive Saturday they will be able to envision the dimensions of the fort and see where various elements of the structure stood.
The dimensions of the fort were marked out by a surveying team of students from SUNY Canton early in the spring.
Its location is set further to the east than the original placement but its dimensions are identical.
Tuesday’s work will make the layout of the fort more apparent to visitors.
Water levels have slowed work a bit.
“Originally, we were hoping to be done in May,” Timothy W. Cryderman, second vice president of the Fort La Presentation Association, said.
Mr. Cryderman said the work being done Tuesday was temporary but important.
“It brings attention,” Mr. Cryderman said. “It lets people know what it looked like.”
The wooden palisade fort had buildings on each corner, Mr. Cryderman said. One served as a storage house, one was the home of the camp commandant, another was the missionaries’ quarters and the last was the chapel.
“That was the first Catholic Church in upstate New York,” Mr. Cryderman said. “That’s why the diocese is located here in Ogdensburg.”
The fort property is a busy place almost every day, said Marsha Hough, a board member who was on the site Tuesday.
A cinder walking path draws dog walkers, joggers, walkers and quite a few tourists.
An examination of the log-in book at the parking lot shows visitors from Utah, Ohio, Oregon, California, Ottawa and Connecticut.
While they have no official count of daily visitors, Mrs. Hough estimates that as many as 100 people per day take a walk through the property.
Nate R. Pike and Adam L. Randall were on the property supervising the young workers from the Youth Conservation Corps.
“The program has been coming here for 25 years. This is my tenth,” Mr. Randall said. “We try to level it out and clear it out so that the re-enactment looks much nicer and more inviting.”
The youth workers came from Massena, Canton and Potsdam.
“It’s basically a job they can get without any prerequisites.” Mr. Randall said. “We’re trying to teach them how to work and be polite in an adult world. Be there on time, work when it’s hot, get along with each other.”
Founder’s Day activities begin at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. There is a water battle re-enactment each day at 11:30 a.m. and a land battle re-enactment at 1:30 p.m. In between there are a host of activities for all ages.
Admission is $7 for adults, $2 for children 6 to 16, and $4 for members of the military.