PATT SMYTH HOUSE


A Brief History: The Patt Smyth House is located at 29 Broadway in Fort Edward New York. In the early 1700, the area now known as Fort Edward was known by local Native American Indians as Wahcoloosencoochaleva or the “Great Carrying Place.” This land was located on the Hudson River, which would later become a main shipping route between New York City and Canada along the Hudson River, Lake George, and Lake Champlain with the advancement of watercraft and lock systems.


Many forts stood and fell in this area during multiple wars. Under the direction of American General Phinehas Lyman, Fort Lyman was erected in 1755. In 1756, the name changed by British Superintendent for Indian Affairs Sir William Johnson to Fort Edward after Prince Edward during the French and Indian War. Prior to the Revolutionary war, fortifications were dismantled, and Fort Edward was deemed defenseless. During this time Patrick Smyth came to oversee the fort in 1764, and when it was dismantled in 1772-1773, Smyth salvaged timber used to build his house.


Throughout the years of war, the house changed possession and served as headquarters for British and American forces during the Revolutionary War. It also served as a tavern, a boarding house and a single-family home from the 1770s to the 1940s. In 1772, Patrick Smyth constructed a house to be known as the Pat Smyth House. He owned the home until his arrest by General Benedict Arnold in 1777 for being a loyalist. After Smyth’s arrest, Colonel Adiel Sherwood purchased the property and home and operated it as a tavern. In 1780, the home was sold to George Washington’s surgeon, Dr. John Cochran. Washington was reported to have dined in the house twice in July of 1783 while traveling in the area. In 1829, freed slave Solomon Northup and his wife Anne Hampton moved into the house where they lived until 1832. Northup was a free black man who was born in the region. He was later drugged and sold into slavery. Upon his freedom, Northup wrote “Twelve Years a Slave” which has been considered one of the most important narratives regarding slavery. Other famous visitors include President James Monroe and Baroness von Reidesel. In 1943, the house was severely damaged by a fire, though it was restored. In 1949, the house was purchased by Fort Edward businessmen. Their idea was to restore and use the house to benefit the community.


Currently known as the Old Fort House, it is included in a 17-building museum complex under the care of the Fort Edward Historical Association. The house is home to a museum, which houses approximately 200,000 artifacts from Fort Edward and the surrounding region. The museum hosts tours and programs during the active season, including school and private tours.


Haunted History: Visitors have claimed to have seen an apparition of a man walking down the hallway and through a door. Visitors have also claimed to have heard loud footsteps coming up the stairs and no one appears there.