Lake George & Fort William Henry
(refer to pages 24-29, 49 & 50 in On the Trail of the Last of the Mohicans)
Linville Access Area on Lake James, Burke County
Heat, humidity, thunderstorms, a strike, long, long night shoots ... all marked the filming at this location. For the locals, it was a treat, though an inconvenience (road closed). Fireworks every night in the form of cannonades & musket volleys; boat rides on the lake to watch the fort take shape. It was such a well-known location that I had no trouble at all locating it. Practically everyone knew where this one was, and consequently, it was the second location I was able to pinpoint and photograph.
Today, all the abatis, all the cannon, the noise & smoke, the fortress itself, are long gone. Standing there near the road, youíd be hard pressed to identify the bluff before you as having had Fort William Henry upon it at one time. Nature has reclaimed this site. The pine trees are tall now, there is no clearing. Up on top, on the fort site itself, you can still locate the foundations, and perhaps a scrap of wood here and there. Thatís about it. No views, of any consequence, can be had. The forest is that dense today.
Your best bet, if visiting this location, is to park at the Access Areaís parking lot. Walk the road, guide book in hand. You should be able to determine, from the photos, where the fort was; where the French artillery had been placed. As you look at the fort site, the road to your right was the location of the French encampment. Go back down to the parking area. Looking at the lake, before you is the island. To your left, about 1000 yards or so, is the canoe launch, identified by the red clay. You can walk over to it. Beyond that, perhaps another 250 yards, or so, is the place where Duncan, during the Massacre Valley sequence, falls down and finds himself with the lake at his back. Across the cove (a part of the Canoes sequence) is the Magua/Montcalm meeting place, right there at the point. Filmed here, too, was the burial scaffold seen during the Burial Ground scene. But, did it make the final cut? Or was a scaffold at the Biltmore used? Itís but one of the enduring little mysteries of the quest for the locations!
This area is a public access. However, gun clubs lease the land from a subsidiary of the Duke Power Company. Please use caution & courtesy!