Find a Lecture

View all lectures in:
New York State History | 19th Century America | War of 1812 | War and Peace

American Antiquities Are So Rare: Commemorating 1812 on the Niagara Frontier

A lecture by Thomas A. Chambers

Perhaps no other part of the United States saw more battles during the War of 1812 than the Niagara River borderland in western New York State. In later years its decaying fortifications and overgrown battlefields provided reminders of the struggle's bloodshed and indecisive conclusion. Tourists traveling to Niagara Falls visited nearby Fort Niagara, Queenston Heights or Lundy's Lane, constructing the war's memory in the process. As one visitor wrote during an 1821 trip to Niagara, "This beautiful country stimulates my patriotism." Battlefields and monuments on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border became sites where Americans, and especially New Yorkers, came to understand why the War of 1812 mattered, and how they could remember its fallen heroes. Their emotional responses to place and history at Niagara's battlefields both honored veterans and neglected the war's causes. Memories of 1812 envisioned a peaceful border between two nations that had once shed each other's blood.

This lecture is available from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2015

Setup Needed

  • Computer and projection screen for PowerPoint optional

Dr. Thomas A. Chambers

Thomas A. Chambers is Associate Professor of History and Department Chair at Niagara University in western New York. He took his Ph.D. and M.A. at the College of William and Mary, and earned his B.A. at Middlebury College. He currently serves as Chairman of the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area Commission, and has been active in the 1812 Legacy Council. His book on battlefield commemoration is forthcoming from Cornell University Press.

Telephone: (716) 286-8091
Address: Timon Hall 130
PO Box 1932
Niagara Falls, NY  14109
Email this speaker:

This contact information is not to be used for commercial purposes.