In early 1753, Fort LeBoeuf was built by the French as part of a system of fortifications extending from the St. Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico. Six years later, the French withdrew their forces and burned the fort. The English took possession of the site and built a new fort in 1760, which was subsequently burned in 1763 by Indians during Pontiac’s rebellion.
Trail Head: Start at the Judson House, 31 South High Street. If you wish visit the Judson House, see the Fort LeBoeuf Historical Society website
www.fortleboeufhistoricalsociety.org for hours and information.
Trail Hours: Open year round from dawn to dusk
Amenities: No public restrooms. A playground is located behind the Waterford Elementary School and benches can be found in the town park and Lake
LeBoeuf Porter Park.
Parking: Parking is available at the Eagle Hotel located across the street from the Judson House.
Is Trail Handicap Accessible?: Yes
Trail Length: 4 miles
Trail Difficulty: Moderate
Contact: Fort LeBoeuf Historical Society (T: 814.572.9959, 814.450.9209)
*The Waterford Covered Bridge is currently closed to vehicular traffic but is open to pedestrian traffic. Restoration of the covered bridge is scheduled to begin in the fall. At that time, the entire bridge will be removed, restored and rebuilt in its original location.
1. Judson House (1820): Built by Amos Judson on the site of the French Fort de la Rivière au Bœuf
2. Covered Bridge (1875): 86-ft. wood lattice truss bridge built by brothers Charles and James Phelps
3. Site of Robert Brotherton’s Saw Mill (1797): Brotherton also built Wateford’s first grist mill in 1802
4. Site of Philadelphia & Erie Railroad Station (1856): Built one mile outside of town to appease residents who were leery of the noise the trains would cause
5. Michael Hare’s Gravesite: Located beside cannon and a 350 year old maple tree. Hare fought in the Revolutionary War and French & Indian War, and at age 80 walked to Erie to volunteer to serve in the War of 1812
6. Site of Hovis Blacksmith Shop: Operated by three generations from 1858 to 1920
7. Site of Old Waterford Academy School (1822): When the building was torn down in 1955, the windows and doors were still plumb
8. Episcopal Church (1832): One of the early baptisms to take place was that of Strong Vincent on December 31, 1837
9. Brotherton Inn (late 1700s): Moved from the corner of 1st and Cherry Streets to where it sits today
10. Judge John Vincent House: Birth place of his grandson Strong Vincent, who is most known for his bravery at the Battle of Gettysburg. After moving to Erie in 1843, the Vincent family returned to the house for Christmases, when each grandchild would find $100 hidden underneath their dinner plate
11. Waterford Masonic Building (1840s)
12. Civil War Recruitment Building (c. 1823)
13. The Waterford Hotel (1858): Originally built as a private residence, it has been a hotel since the early 1900s
14. Burial Site of Old Frank, Civil War Horse: After dropping dead at the sound of July 4th cannon fire, Old Frank was buried with full military honors in the ball park
15. Site of the Park House/Opera House (1882): Once stretching the entire block, the Park Opera House hosted many lavish parties. It also operated its own horse-drawn taxi service which transported visitors from the train station to town
16. The High St. Block from West 1st St. to W. 2nd St. burnt twice during the 19th century, March 1865 and March 1895
17.Eagle Hotel (1826): Hosted many dignitaries, including Zachary Taylor
18.George Washington Statue (1922): Bronze statue depicts Washington as a Major in the British militia. In early 1753 Washington delivered a letter to the commander of Fort LeBoeuf warning the French to withdraw their forces
19. Site of Salt Warehouses: In early 1800s several warehouses were built along the inlet and outlet of Lake LeBoeuf. Salt was shipped to Pittsburgh on flat boats or keel boats, while goods for domestic use or the 1812 wartime effort were shipped from Pittsburgh to Waterford. Site of War of 1812 Munitions Arsenal.
20. Lake LeBoeuf and Porter Park: The lake was formed by the receding Wisconsin Glacier during the last ice age. It is 0.66 mile long by 0.5 mile wide
21. Probable Location of the French Fort Built in 1753: The French fort was destroyed in 1759. A British fort was built in 1760 and burned down by Indians in 1763. An American fort was then built in 1794 to open the area to settlement.