Fort William Henry Hotel and Chapman Museum team up to exhibit Seneca Ray Stoddard photographs
LAKE GEORGE – Famed Adirondack photographer Seneca Ray Stoddard (1843-1917) didn’t spend all his time in the deep woods. He was also a visitor to the grand Fort William Henry Hotel, where he captured images of its architecture and well-dressed guests.
A collection of Stoddard’s images now grace the lobby of the hotel, the result of a partnership between the Chapman Museum in Glens Falls, which has more than 4,000 of Stoddard’s photographs, and Fort William Henry.
Prints of the images are available for purchase.
“Stoddard’s pictures capture the hotel as it was when it was first built in 1855. You can see the piazza and a stagecoach arriving,” said Sam Luciano, president of the Fort William Henry Corp. “The building was lost to fire in 1909 and I am grateful these images remain to remind all of us of the history of the property.”
Seneca Ray Stoddard was born in 1843 in Wilton, N.Y., and moved to Glens Falls when he was 21. He carried a portable camera, which allowed him to venture deep into the wilderness where the Adirondack Mountains were being clearcut to feed the logging and mining industries. Stoddard’s photographs helped fuel a movement to preserve the forest. The creation of the Adirondack Park, approved by the State Legislature in 1892, protects state-owned Forest Preserve lands with the Forever Wild clause in the State Constitution. The protection allowed the forest to grow once again, creating the Adirondacks as we know them today.
“Beauty and grandeur are captured in the early photography of Stoddard’s imagery,” said Nicole Herwig, director of the Chapman Museum. “A true conservationist, Stoddard used his photographic skills and artistry to advance preservation efforts in the Adirondacks.”
The idea to display Stoddard’s photographs at Fort William Henry came from Gloria Ragonetti, a former chairperson of the Chapman’s Board of Directors.
“It’s a good way to promote our collection and the exhibit is aligned with both our missions,” Herwig said. “We are pleased to display these images at the location where they were taken more than 140 years ago.”
Viewing the pictures in the hotel lobby is free. To see more of Stoddard’s work, visit the Chapman Museum at 348 Glen St., Glens Falls. “Introductory Exhibit” is an exploration of local history. “Hands-On History: Experiences of Hometown Life,” “S.R. Stoddard’s Snow-Covered Scenes,” and “Hometown Teams” will open Feb. 3.
Photo at top: Fort William Henry Hotel, Piazza from the West by Seneca Ray Stoddard ca. 1880 reproduction albumen print