The town started as a British military fort in 1764. During the American Revolution it was used as a supply depot for British troops. When the War of 1812 started, the troops stationed at Fort Erie were caught off guard due to the fort being in the middle of rebuilding. The Americans held it for a time, fending off two British attacks, until they destroyed Fort Erie and returned to Buffalo in 1814. The ruins remained until they were rebuilt as a tourist attraction in 1939.