Following the close of the War of 1812, because both sides claimed victory here, the battlefield became a popular tourist destination. For many decades, veterans of the battle were available to conduct personal tours. In 1845, the first of five viewing towers was erected, mostly wooden frame structures with a lofty viewing platform overlooking the battlefield. One of these towers was built on this hilltop by Adam Fralick, owner of the adjacent tavern which is now the Battle Ground Hotel Museum.
Fralick’s tower was a prominent landmark in the city, visible for several kilometres. In the late 1800s, the tower was dismantled and replaced with a steel structure known as the Lundy’s Lane observatory. Until 1921, its steam operated elevator whisked visitors to a viewing platform
31 metres (102 ft) high. Interest in the battlefield as a destination waned when the American Civil War provided Americans with new battlefields to visit and other local attractions gained popularity.
Adam Fralick, a descendant of a United Empire Loyalist family, watched as the tourist industry grew around the War of 1812 battlefield at Lundy’s Lane. In 1836, he purchased this property and built the Battle Ground Hotel. Later, in 1850, Fralick built a wooden frame observation tower enclosed with latticework to the east of his hotel. Guest registers still in existence bear thousands of signatures as silent witness to the tower’s popularity as a tourist attraction.
By the late 1860’s the number of visitors to Lundy’s Lane Battlefield dwindled drastically. In the late 1870’s Fralick’s wooden tower was dismantled and the hotel converted to a private residence. Adam Fralick died in 1877 and was buried in the adjacent Drummond Hill Cemetery. The property was acquired by Ruth Redmond in the mid-1950’s and donated to the City of Niagara Falls in 1996 on her death. Restored to its original appearance, the Battle Ground Hotel opened as a public museum in 2002.
Symbols in Stone: Part II
Niagara Museums in the Time of COVID
The Poppy Project