Fort Necessity and George Washington

“Fort Necessity” is arguably the answer to the question of “Where did George Washington become George Washington?” No one ever asks that, but maybe they should. Definitely they should.

It’s where George Washington sort of took over from aristocratic old-school British General Edward Braddock in the French and Indian War. Supposedly Washington also sort of helped spark the war by leading an attack on a different French fort. And at some point Washington decided he needed to build a fort or else his guys would be unprotected from the French (ergo: “Fort Necessity”), and so this happened:

Soldiers were smaller back then — to them, this was palatial.

The pathway for tourists was not original to the fort. I’m not convinced these are the original earthworks, either. “Unprepossessing” was the word that kept coming to mind.

I mean, if you were to claim that the French and Indian War is the event that precipitated the American Revolution and  that George Washington’s sort of chicken move on the position of a nation that his wasn’t at war with yet was indeed the start of the French and Indian War, then this is a really important historical location. Anyway. Valley Forge and Bunker Hill better name recognition; that’s tough to fight. Plus there’s nothing to see here.

The fort lies along US 40, aka “The National Highway”. This was a highway originally dreamed up by George Washington, who, as I learned at Mt. Vernon, is responsible for everything good in the world. That Pat Sajack movie at Mt. Vernon really made me dislike George Washington, who apparently looked like a 50-year-old when he was 30. Different trip to Virginia though. Highway was meant to connect stuff east of the Alleghenies to stuff west of them (i.e., The Ohio Valley). I think that just because he started the French and Indian War, ol’ G-Dub had to make out like the Ohio Valley was super-important.

I probably like George Washington. That movie at Mt. Vernon really sucked though. Whatever. There’s an old tavern that’s on the same parks service site as the fort.

I didn’t go on the tour, so I don’t know if this tavern’s actually important. The highway was sort of important in that it actually got built whereas the canal system never quite made it. Not long after they finished the highway, though, the railroads made it obsolete. Except that now if you want to drive from Pittsburgh to Richmond, it’s useful again. Everything’s cyclical.

bkd

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