Explore the site of Ohio’s only Revolutionary War fort, built in 1778 as a wilderness outpost, and visit a museum that tells the story of soldiers on the frontier. Also on site is the Tomb of the Unknown Patriot of the American Revolution, paying homage to the unknown defenders of the fort. The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail, a recreational trail over 80 miles long, goes through the site of Fort Laurens. Average visit time: Allow 1+ hours
The Americans completed the construction of Fort Laurens—named after Henry Laurens, president of the Continental Congress—in early December 1778. The fort was to serve three purposes. First, the Americans hoped to use Fort Laurens as a base to attack the British garrison located at Detroit. Second, it would hopefully deter American Indians loyal to the British from conducting raids against American settlers in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. And finally, by offering protection to the neutral Christian Delawares, the Americans might convince them to forsake their neutrality and join the patriots' cause.
In total, 21 soldiers lost their lives at Fort Laurens before it was abandoned in 1779. Later, part of the fort was demolished during the building of the Ohio and Erie Canal. Currently none of the original fort remains above ground, but the outline of the fort is visible.
Fort Laurens is managed locally by the Zoar Community Association.