LIGONIER, PA (October 16, 2018) – Fort Ligonier, located at the intersection of US Routes 30 & 711 in Ligonier, Pennsylvania is honored to announce that it is in the process of accepting stewardship of Braddock’s Battlefield History Center located at Sixth Street, North Braddock from Mr. Robert T. Messner and the Braddock Carnegie Library. The center, founded by Mr. Messner opened to the public in 2012, sits on the site of the Battle of the Monongahela, also known as “Braddock’s Defeat”, (July 9, 1755), one of the most important battles in 18th century North America and one of the most significant stories of the French and Indian War in Western Pennsylvania.
“Fort Ligonier was my first choice. Having spent more than twenty years creating a history site appropriate for this famous battle, I was interested in insuring it would continue well into the future,” said Mr. Messner, a retired attorney, veteran, and historian. “The excellence with which Fort Ligonier has always been operated convinced me it [center] had the best chance of continuing and improving upon what I began in 1995. The present board and staff of Fort Ligonier are outstanding and I am sure they will improve upon what I have initiated.”
According to Dr. Erica I. Nuckles, Fort Ligonier’s Director of History and Collections, “The story of Fort Ligonier is intricately linked with the Braddock Campaign and Braddock’s Defeat. Both campaigns had the goal of taking French Fort Duquesne at the Forks of the Ohio, the key to controlling North America. Many, including George Washington and John St. Clair, who had survived the Braddock Campaign and Braddock’s Defeat were also part of the 1758 Forbes Campaign and Fort Ligonier.”
Fort Ligonier’s plans for the center include:
- Fort Ligonier’s Education Department will develop a variety of educational programming for the Center as well as outreach to area classrooms and educational institutions. There are in excess of 40,000 public school students within a 10-mile radius of Braddock.
- Dr. Erica I. Nuckles, Fort Ligonier’s Director of History and Collections will assess the collection and update exhibits. The current collection, which includes more than 250 artifacts from the battlefield and 50 works of art, will remain in Braddock. Fort Ligonier will feature items from its collection relative to Braddock in future temporary exhibitions.
- Special events will take place at the center in the future to increase awareness and enhance the visitor experience.
- Fort Ligonier looks forward to engaging with the Braddock Community, collaborating with the Braddock’s Road Preservation Association, Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, Visit Pittsburgh, PA Museums, and other historical and tourism organizations.
“The Braddock Carnegie Library is excited to welcome Fort Ligonier to North Braddock as they assume operation of the Braddock’s Battlefield history Center (BBHC),” said Victoria Vargo, executive director of the Braddock Carnegie Library. “As the fiscal sponsor for the BBHC, the library congratulates Bob Messner on his dedication in getting the BBHC established and his devotion to finding an outstanding organization to take on operations of the center. As a resident of North Braddock, I believe that Fort Ligonier will further expand all of the good work done by preserving the history of our area.”
“Fort Ligonier and Braddock’s Battlefield are connected through History and Mission,” explained Mr. Joseph M. Byers, president of the Fort Ligonier Board of Trustees. The Braddock Campaign represents many of the powerful stories of Fort Ligonier that indeed changed world history. The Fort board and staff are committed to honoring Bob Messner’s legacy, will serve as dedicated stewards of the center, and are eager to expand opportunities to share the historic site’s stories.”
About Fort Ligonier
Fort Ligonier was the last in a string of fortifications built along the newly cut Forbes Road that stretched from Philadelphia to the site of French Fort Duquesne, the ultimate objective of the Forbes Campaign. When Fort Duquesne fell to the British army in late November 1758, construction of the new fort, Fort Pitt began, and the land on which it rose was named Pittsburgh.
Today, visitors will experience the finest reconstructed fortification from the French and Indian War and acclaimed museum with six new galleries and exhibits including the George Washington Gallery, which features the Washington-Lafayette pistols, considered “sacred and holy relics”. Fort Ligonier offers a wide variety of special events year-round from lectures, Sunset Tours, History Happy Hours and more.
Fort Ligonier is open 7 days a week Monday- Saturday, 9:30 am – 5: pm, Sunday, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm (except Thanksgiving Day) through November 25, 2018. The museum is open winter weekends (Friday – Sunday) and Christmas week. The Fort Ligonier Center for History Education is open year-round. For details, go to fortligonier.org or call 724.238.9701.