The history of Old Fort Niagara spans more than 300 years. The fort was occupied by three nations: France, Great Britain, and the United States. Old Fort Niagara, located at the mouth of the Niagara River, controlled access to the Great Lakes and the westward route to the heartland of the continent. Visitors to the fort today will see the oldest buildings in the Great Lakes region, living history programs, exhibits, and special events.The French established the first post in 1679 and built the impressive "French Castle" in 1726. It still stands today. Britain gained control of the fort in 1759 during the French and Indian War and maintained control throughout the American Revolution, yielding it to the United States in 1796. The fort was captured by the British during the War of 1812 until being ceded again to the United States in 1815 after which time it served as a peaceful border post. Old Fort Niagara served as a training station and active barracks from the Civil War until the last army units were withdrawn in 1963.