Friday, January 30, 2009

The Sallyport

There is perhaps no single location more associated with the history of Annapolis Royal than Fort Anne. From its early use as a encampment site for the Mi'Kmaq to the French planting wheat here during Champlain's time, there is a long history of human activity at the Fort. There is also a vibrant modern life at Fort Anne. In addition to a museum housed in the old officer's quarters, the Fort is the location for almost every civic holiday in Annapolis Royal. It would be hard to imagine Natal Day weekend without the sunset ceremony and fireworks at the Fort.

Through the years, you could guarantee one thing about the fort. Those who were defending it felt that the earthen walls needed improvement. Whether it was the French or the British, there were ongoing complaints that the walls needed to be rebuilt and reinforced. This is partially due to human nature. If you are assigned to defend something, it is only natural to want the best possible defenses. As the regimes changed, attempts were made to improve the fortifications. Today, the fort, which is operated by Parks Canada, is possibly the best example of Vauban style fortifications in North America.

Now, today's before and after images are of the sallyport at Fort Anne. This is easily one of the most photographed features at the Fort. Countless pictures have been taken with people standing inside the archway of the sallyport. This structure was once thought to have been built by the British during the mid eighteenth century. Current thinking places its construction about 100 years later.

As you can see, there has been some restoration work on the masonry for the sallyport. The walls look more structurally sound today than they do in the image from 1890. The trees found in the two modern images were planted sometime after the fort was decommissioned in 1854. Trees would have not been allowed on the Fort grounds as they would have provided cover for an attacker. Another significant difference can be seen in the bottom image. When the Fort was an active military establishment, it would have never had picnic benches.

All for now,
RGS

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