FORT HUNTER - The floods from Tropical Storm Irene damaged many homes and businesses along the East Coast last summer.
However, for Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site the storm led to a major discovery that was celebrated Saturday.
While the floods were still problematic for the site, when the water cleared it also exposed a 24-square-foot foundation of one of four old block houses and part of a curtain wall next to the site. Photos of the discovery were on display at the annual Canal Days event Saturday.
Michael Roets, New York State Parks Scientist of Archaeology, explains the discovery of the foundation of a fort at Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site last summer to two visitors during Canal?Days on Saturday.
The Leader-Herald/John Borgolini
Education Coordinator Tricia Shaw said she and a summer intern made peculiar findings after the land was accessible following the flood, which led to the discovery.
"After the shock of it, of the damage, we started actually looking at things more closely," Shaw said. "He found a horseshoe. I found a piece of ceramic. We found a pipe stem, and we [thought] 'We got something here.' And then we started looking at the actual shapes of the rocks that were in the ground."
Shaw said members of the site were going to call the state archaeologist, but the state officials called them first. When she realized what it was, Shaw believed it would lead to nothing but good things for the historic site.
She said the site will be changing the exhibits and programming to incorporate the foundation into the sites features.
"It's not just going to be Erie Canal focused. It will also have this earlier history now," she said. "Which we always sort of did interpret all along, but it's definitely more in the forefront now."
Michael Roets, New York State Parks Scientist of Archaeology, said the discovery is significant for the whole state.
"It's pretty important. It's a pretty rare discovery," Roets said. "We've always known there was a Mohawk settlement here, and we knew Fort Hunter was built here in 1712. To actually be able to pinpoint one of the corners of the fort is amazing. We have never done that before. It helps us build a better picture of the fort."
Libby Arndt, who came from Fort Plain, said it was interesting to see how the destructive flood could lead to a discovery like this.
"I guess you never know what we're walking around on," Arndt said. "There's so much history in this area. You never quite know what you're going to discover."
According to the New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation website?- nysparks.com - Canal?Days will continue today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.