Stories of budget cuts all over the country affecting federal, state and local parks, as well as private historic sites, have been growing as the economy has spiraled. One of many such attractions is Delaware Crossing Park in Pennsylvania (see "George Washington Hit By Hard Times"). California began closing 80% of its state parks last year.
Another is the historic Fort at Number 4 in Charlestown, New Hampshire. Operated for years as a living museum, the fort was built in the 1740s near the confluence of the Black and Connecticut Rivers to protect settlers in the region established by Massachusetts as "Land Grant No. 4."
In the 1940s, a replica was built of the fort, and has operated ever since as a museum and educational center about this early history in colonial New England during the periods of the French and Indian War and the Revolution. Unfortunately, the Fort was unable to open in 2009 because of budget shortfalls. The Fort's board of directors estimated it would take $250,000 to reopen.
Now the brethren of Olive Branch Lodge No. 64, across the river in nearby Chester, Vermont are leading a fundraising effort to reopen the Fort by next spring.
Stories appeared today in the Rutland Herald ("Masons' group helps restore historic fort in Charlestown") and local television.
From a report by WCAX News:
"We are anxious to see history, early history, particularly Colonial history is preserved. The Masons had a part in that early on. The masons have been involved in the fort early on. The commander of the fort was a mason and one of the objectives of the masons is to preserve history," said Paul Truax, the lodge master at Olive Branch Lodge #64.