South Philadelphia: An Important Site in War

Jay Tittermary is a tour guide at the fort.
Jay Tittermary is a tour guide at the fort.

Historic Fort Mifflin, located at Fort Mifflin Road and Hog Island Road, is now open to the public for the season. Named “the fort that saved America,” Fort Mifflin was essential to the victory of the U.S. during the Revolutionary War by holding off the British troops long enough for George Washington to pass through to Valley Forge.
The history doesn’t stop there.

After the Revolutionary War the fort was reconstructed and fully manned for the War of 1812, although no battles took place there. In the Civil War the fort was used to keep the prisoners of war in the casemates that were previously soldier’s barracks.  In 2008 an employee was mowing the grass when the lawnmower he was using sank into the ground. What they found underground was two more casemates. They also found writing on the walls of names and dates of former prisoners, which can still be seen today.
Jay Tittermary, a tour guide at the fort, explained, “The rooms were probably built when the first stone walls were built. They were sealed up, but during the Civil War they became an isolation cell and right after that, the 1870s, they filled it in and filled in the entrance to it.”

Inside the fort walls are buildings such as the Commander's house and the old hospital.

Visitors can walk freely around the fort and in the underground rooms Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $6 and get a tour from a knowledgeable tour guide. The fort is so close to the airport that you can see planes take off right above your head. History enthusiasts come from far and wide to visit Fort Mifflin. German businessman Werner Schwarz said, “I was here on a business trip and now I’m heading back to Germany.  I had a little bit of time and I enjoy all historic places.”
While the fort is visited by the public to explore and learn the history, it has also attracted those interested in paranormal investigating.  There are several times during the year when groups can pay to spend the night at the fort and search for the spirits who may still roam the land. The fort also hosts Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and has re-inactions regularly. Tittermary said, “Almost every weekend in April there’s some sort of activity.”


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