Fort Duquesne once defended the confluence of three rivers in what is now downtown Pittsburgh. The location of the fort was highly strategic, situated at the mouth of the Ohio River. The Allegheny River flows down from the north and the Monongahela River comes up from the south, merging into the Ohio River.
Fort Duquesne was built in 1754 by occupying French forces as a stronghold to keep English troops at bay. The French constructed the fort in honor of Marquis Duquesne, the governor general of the New France colony at the time. Unfortunately for the French, they failed to foresee the strategic faults in the construction. The area where it had been built was lowland marsh that flooded frequently. In addition, hills surrounded the valley where the fort was located, making it easy for enemy forces to bombard it from high ground. Still, the French held the fort successfully for roughly four years.
Fort Duquesne was destroyed in November 1758. English General John Forbes was leading an invasion of the area with a superior force. The French decided to abandon their stronghold, destroying Fort Duquesne before fleeing so it could not be used by the approaching English troops. The British would then build the much larger Fort Pitt near the remains of Fort Duquesne.
Present Day Trails
Not much of the original fort has survived. Point State Park was established as a 36-acre space where visitors can see remnants of Fort Duquesne and Fort Pitt while enjoying natural surroundings. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Visitors can follow the paved promenades through the park and along the riverfront, taking in the sights of downtown Pittsburgh. Boat traffic and cyclists frequently pass by the park. Cyclists can plan an outing along the bike and in-line skate trail that connects Point State Park to the north shore and south side bike trails on each side of the city via recently restored bridges cargo trains once used.
Visitors can walk around the park and sit by the massive fountain at the confluence of the three rivers. The fountain was constructed in 1974. More than 800,000 gallons of water pump through the fountain system, shooting a majestic arc of water more than 150 feet in the air. The water comes from a well that connects to the three rivers, a naturally sustainable source of water for the fountain. The fountain operates daily from 7:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. during all seasons except winter.
Article Written By David Thyberg
David Thyberg began his writing career in 2007. He is a professional writer, editor and translator. Thyberg has been published in various newspapers, websites and magazines. He enjoys writing about social issues, travel, music and sports. Thyberg holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh Honors College with a certificate in Spanish and Latin American studies.