What follows is a guest analysis by Billy Martin, a senior at Paul Smith’s College in the Natural Resource Management and Policy program who is interested in the economic and environmental sustainability of the Adirondack Park.
Adirondack history has been shaped by contention over how to manage the region’s resources. Maintaining this historical trend, contention over the use of a state-owned rail corridor between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake has led to another divide among residents. The Adirondack Recreational Trails Advocacy (ARTA) and the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) represent opposing poles on the issue, each with seemingly equal support from residents of the Tri-Lakes Region. » Continue Reading.
The nonprofit Friends of Camp Little Notch have signed an agreement with the Open Space Institute to lease, with an option to purchase, the site in Fort Ann where many of the group’s members attended summer camp as girls.
In addition, the Friends have announced that the camp will be reopening this summer for the first time since 2008. The Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York had operated the camp for 70 years previously. The protection of Camp Little Notch, which is located between Lake George and Lake Champlain in the southeastern corner of the Adirondack Park, began two years ago and has unfolded via a series of creative partnerships since.
In November 2010, the Open Space Conservancy, OSI’s land acquisition affiliate, purchased the 2,364-acre Camp Little Notch, a former Girl Scout camp, from the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York. In March 2011, OSI sold 1,921 of the acres to Meadowsend Timberlands Limited, a sustainable forestry company.
The third phase of the project, which is hoped to ensure the long-term protection of the property, is to sell the remaining 443 acres to the Friends of Camp Little Notch, a nonprofit group created by former Little Notch campers, counselors and supporters. The sale of the camp, like the sale of the forest tract to Meadowsend, will be subject to a conservation easement that limits development while permitting camp uses.
The Friends have signed an agreement that gives them three years to raise the $1.1 million purchase price. The group’s current lease payments are being credited toward the acquisition cost.
“This landscape has captured the hearts of hundreds of Girl Scouts over the years, and it is fitting that the Friends of Camp Little Notch are involved now in the permanent protection of the site,” said OSI CEO and President Kim Elliman. “This project, through each of its phases, has created jobs and tax revenue for the town of Fort Ann while preserving an Adirondack institution.”
This summer, Camp Little Notch is expected to run three one-week sessions for girls ages 7-17, and a two-week session for girls ages 9-17. Activities include nature exploration, low and high ropes course adventures, hiking, yoga, cookouts, the arts, social consciousness education and aquatics.
Camp Little Notch will also offer wilderness trips for girls ages 14-17, and a three-week Counselor-in-Training program for girls ages 16-17. Interested parties are advised to contact the camp director, Julie Schwartz, by phone at (518) 306-9239 or by email at [email protected]
Camp Little Notch and the surrounding forestlands are dominated by northern hardwoods, an 80-acre lake that is drained by Mount Hope Brook, and a variety of rustic camp structures. Its lands are ideal habitat for a variety of Adirondack flora and fauna, including black bear.
North Country homeowners are invited to attend a meeting to find out how they can save money while making repairs to their older homes. The Preservation League of New York State will present a workshop in Saranac Lake to help homeowners take advantage of a tax credit for repairs to older buildings. Historic Saranac Lake is sponsoring the workshop, which is expected to draw participants from around the region. The workshop will be held on Tuesday, March 13 at the Saranac Laboratory Museum, 89 Church Street. During the workshop, which runs from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., staff from the Preservation League will review the basic guidelines of the program and answer questions about the application process for homeowners. Information will also be available for owners of commercial properties.
The cost for the workshop is $5, and refreshments will be provided. Reservations are required as seating is limited. Please RSVP by calling 891-4606 or by email at [email protected]
The New York State Historic Homeowner Tax Credit Program will cover 20% of qualified rehabilitation costs of owner-occupied historic houses, up to a credit value of $50,000.
“This is the perfect time to finally fix that leaking roof, or repair drafty windows,” said Jay DiLorenzo, president of the Preservation League of New York State. “This tax credit can help homeowners provide safer and healthier homes for their families, and protect the investments of business owners for years to come.”
This program requires that the building be individually listed in the State or National Register of Historic Places, or in a listed historic district. Additionally, the building must be located in a qualifying census tract, and at least $5,000 must be spent on the project.
“We are thrilled to help spread news of the tax credit” said Amy Catania, Executive Director of Historic Saranac Lake. “Our organization nominated over 170 historic properties to the National Register some thirty years ago. These buildings are an important part of the special history of our community, and the tax credit will help fund the care that these historic buildings deserve.”
Historic Saranac Lake is working now to add more cure cottages to the National Register. Cure cottage owners who are interested in pursuing National Register status are also welcome to attend the workshop.
To find out if a building is eligible, go online or contact Sloane Bullough at the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation at 518-237-8643, ext. 3252. Eligibility information will also be available at the workshops.
Photo: A cure cottage in the Highland Park Historic District on Park Avenue, Saranac Lake. Photo courtesy Wikipedia.
A weekend open house to the New York State owned Camp Santanoni is a great reason to get us to strap on our cross-country skis and hit the backcountry for a family outing. The other reason is there is snow and plenty of it in Newcomb. We leave Saranac Lake and the sky is blue and clear. The conditions are more spring skiing than what we have come to expect at the end of February. It is a perfect day.
I make my family visit the stone gatehouse at the entrance to Camp Santanoni in Newcomb but no one wants to linger. They are impatient to hit the trail. It is a busy day due to the Adirondack Architectural Heritage Open House weekend. Normally the Great Camp buildings are closed but today, tours will be given so we get a property history, explore the buildings and a great easy ski. After registering we take off. The trail in is actually the 4.7-mile carriage road leading past the original farm to the Great Camp. It was described to me as relatively flat but I found it to be more aptly defined as gently rolling. There are definite uphill climbs but everything still falls under the category of an easy beginner ski.
Since I’m the slowest skier in the family, my kids wait for me at various intersections and landmarks. I come to the farm at one mile and they are already playing around the stone dairy and over to the remains of the burned barn. (A couple passing by mourn the loss of the barn, which burned in 2004. They had not been back since and are shocked to not see it still standing.) We continue our ski and make it to the Great Camp in less than two hours.
Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) Executive Director Steven Engelhart starts flipping through old photographs documenting much of the history of this New York State owned Great Camp while my family enjoys lunch at one of the picnic tables provided on the connecting porches. We learn an abbreviated history of the Albany banker Robert Pruyn’s (Prīne) vision to be a gentleman farmer and his wife Anna’s quest for a rustic retreat, which combined to form Great Camp Santanoni in the 1890s.
My children are more interested in Pruyn’s interest in Japanese architecture based on his two-year stay in Japan as secretary to his father, an ambassador appointed under President Lincoln. During the talking points we gather it is believed that the Main Camp architecture of Santanoni was designed to resemble a bird in flight, with its Great Room and single roof forming the bird’s body and the connecting porches forming the wings.
My family leaves the tour when Engelhart mentioned hot chocolate is available at the nearby Artist’s Studio. I continue on the tour and it is easy to image a family being comfortable and enjoying the same outdoor activities we still do today.
There are no plans or need to make Great Camp Santanoni anything more than what it already is, a beautiful year-round destination to Newcomb Lake and a glimpse into a piece of Adirondack history.
Camp Santanoni is open year-round to non-motorized use. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 2000. Since AARCH’s intervention in 1991 the boathouse has been completely renovated and the many connecting porches were replaced as well as other structural improvements. The trail is accessible in summer by horse and wagon as well used by hikers and mountain bikers.
An opening reception will be held for “Drawing on our Past: Ink Darwings of New York State’s Historic Architecture,” an exhibition of drawings by David ‘RC’ Oster at View in Old Forge tomorrow, Saturday, February 4 from 5 to 7 pm. His works will be displayed from February 4 March 3 concurrently with “Adirondack View Finders” a photography exhibition that showcases top Adirondack Photographers including Nathan Farb, Nancie Battaglia, Mark Bowie, and Carl Heilman. RC Oster is a self-taught artist who specializes in free-hand ink drawings of regional landmarks and Adirondack scenes. He is particularly well known for his drawings of historic buildings. RC sees these landmarks as “proud reminders of where we as a society have been.” He carefully captures fine details of these buildings from sharp angles that show off the architecture of the building. He seeks to bring further awareness to these buildings through capturing their fine details.
Stone sculpture by Matt Horner will be on display with both the photography and the ink drawings. Exhibition admission is $10/$5 members and groups of 6+/Children under 12 free. View is a multi-arts center located at 3273 State Rt. 28 in Old Forge, NY. To learn more about View programming visit www.ViewArts.org or call 315-369-6411.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the Town of Newcomb, and the Adirondack Ecological Center have announced that historic Camp Santanoni in Newcomb will be open for three special long “open house” weekends this winter. Over these weekends, cross-country skiers and snowshoers will be able to visit the Gatelodge and Main Lodge, get short interpretive tours with AARCH staff, and warm up at the Artist’s Studio before the return trip. These weekends will be January 14-16, February 18-20, and March 17-18. Camp Santanoni was built beginning in 1892 by Robert and Anna Pruyn and eventually consisted of more than four dozen buildings on 12,900 acres including a working farm, Gatelodge complex, and a huge rustic Main Lodge and other camp buildings situated on Newcomb Lake. Santanoni was in private ownership until 1972 and over the last several decades, in state ownership, it has gradually been restored by a partnership between NYSDEC, AARCH, and the Town of Newcomb. Santanoni is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark.
Camp Santanoni is one of the most popular cross-country ski destinations in the Adirondacks, and for good reason. The snow conditions are usually excellent, the trip itself is of only moderate intensity, and the camp on its remote lakeside setting makes for an interesting and most beautiful destination. The round-trip cross-country ski and showshoe trip is 9.8 miles on a gently sloping carriage road. People may visit Santanoni 365 days a year but these weekends are rare opportunities to visit the camp in winter, have a brief tour, and have a place to warm up.
As snow conditions so far in 2012 have been light, it is best to check in advance to make sure the road is suitable for skiing.
When the Adirondack Carousel is completed it’s going to be a moveable feast for the eyes. Kids (and adults) will love to take a ride on it and surely will pick out their favorite animal. (I always had a favorite horse on the carousel I rode as a child at the Wisconsin State Fair). But besides the traditional thrill of the ride, this carousel is going to be an amazing work of moveable art.
First of all, the carved wooden animals are all unique and all native to the Adirondacks, rather than the traditional leaping horses. Talented wood carvers from all over the country have donated their time to create these animals. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack region evolved over years from vast, impassable wilderness to a land of logging camps, tanneries, sawmills, and small settlements. By the end of the 19th century, the area grew again, becoming a tourist destination famed for its great hotels, quaint inns, cottages, and rustic cabins.
The hotels and inns spread throughout the Adirondacks, beginning after the Civil War and continuing during the Gilded Age between World Wars I and II. The region drew the rich and famous, as well as workers and families escaping the polluted cities. This volume contains 200 vintage images of those famed accommodations that catered to years of Adirondack visitors. Although Most of the buildings seen in Adirondack Hotels and Inns”>Adirondack Hotels and Inns no longer exist, having been destroyed by fires, the wrecking ball, or simply forgotten over time, the book stills serves a guide to those old places on the landscape.
Author Donald R. Williams has written eight other books on the Adirondacks, among them The Adirondacks: 1830–1930, The Adirondacks: 1931–1990, Along the Adirondack Trail, and Adirondack Ventures, all in Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series.
Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.
The 7444 Gallery in Saranac Lake will host a ‘Meet the Artists’ opening reception Saturday, August 13 at 5 p.m. for f-Stop Fitzgerald and Richard McCaffrey. Their photographs will be on display until October 6.
The exhibit features more than 25 canvas-print photographs drawn from a book to be published by Rizzoli this fall, Adirondack Style: Great Camps and Rustic Lodges.
Adirondack Style describes the architecture, design, and natural beauty of Adirondack great camps and rustic camps. The structures make use of the materials readily available in the area — rough-hewn log exteriors that contrast with sometimes lavish and elegant interiors featuring intricate stonework and hand-carved furniture.
The book’s introduction is by Adirondack preservationist Dr. Howard Kirschenbaum; the foreward is by Laura S. Rice, chief curator of the Adirondack Museum; and text is by Adirondack Life contributors Jane Mackintosh and Lynn Woods.
Natural elements such as tree roots, twigs, and bark often played an integral part in the décor, and the simple yet elegant Adirondack chair has become an international symbol of leisure. Many camps had boathouses, teahouses, game rooms, and even bowling alleys, and several were designed by top architects of the era and incorporated their international influences: Pine Knot resembled a Swiss chalet; the architectural flourishes of Santanoni were Japanese-inspired; and The Hedges had Dutch doors.
Approximately forty of these extravagant camps survive, including ten that are National Historic Landmarks. Adirondack Style will feature thirty-seven of these camps, including Pine Knot, Uncas, and Sagamore, all of which were built for William West Durant, a pioneer of the Great Camp style; Wonundra, which was built for William Avery Rockefeller and his family; and White Pine, which President Calvin Coolidge once used as his Summer White House.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHERS:
f-Stop Fitzgerald is a noted photographer whose work has appeared in more than 100 periodicals, including Rolling Stone, GQ, Publishers Weekly, and The Village Voice. His collaboration with Stephen King, Nightmares in the Sky, was a national best seller.
Richard McCaffrey is currently staff photographer for The Providence Phoenix. He is represented by Getty Images and his work appears in numerous national and international books and publications.
7444 Gallery is on Depot Street, near Stewart’s and the train station.
What follows is a guest essay by Mike Petroni, a member of the Croghan Dam Restoration Initiative. Concern over the stability of the 93-year-old dam (on the Beaver River in Lewis County) has led DEC to lower the water level of the impoundment by removing stop logs to reduce water pressure on the dam structure. The DEC is planning to remove the remaining logs from the two-section dam in the coming week and eventually breach the concrete structure. The Almanack asked Mike Petroni to provide some background on why local leaders, historic preservationists, and renewable energy advocates hope to keep DEC from breaching the dam. Straddling the western edge of the Blue Line, Croghan, New York, known for its exceptional bologna, is home to one of New York’s last remaining water powered saw-mills. Over the past few years, the Croghan Island Mill has been the center of a dramatic debate. The question: how will New York manage its aging small dam infrastructure? » Continue Reading.
Adirondack Shakespeare Company (ADK Shakes) is returning to the Adirondack region for its second full Summer Festival Season. The company plans to follow last summer’s presentations of As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth with an all-new expanded season featuring ADK Shakes’ daring and adrenaline-fueled RAW performance style which strips the Bard down to the bare bones.
This year, the company will present A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Merchant of Venice, along with The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield and Theseus and the Minotaur, an original children’s production by Sean Adams. In addition to their full season, ADK Shakes has taken on a new challenge. The company is determined to revitalize the outdoor amphitheater at Scaroon Manor Day-Use Facility (formerly Taylor’s Point). This historic landmark was once a vibrant destination for locals as well as tourists looking to take in professional theatre amidst the beauty of the Adirondack Mountains. ADK Shakes’ Artistic Board has made it their mission to get the outdoor amphitheater on New York’s list of historic sites.
“One of the reasons we are looking to establish a Shakespeare company in the Adirondacks is to save this amazing outdoor amphitheater,” says Artistic Director Tara Bradway. The company’s plans to raise awareness during the course of the season include public presentations and petitions in the Adirondack region.
The Adirondack region tour of The Complete Works will begin July 4th, while the Mainstage Season opens July 21st and will run through August 7th. Performances of the children’s show Theseus and the Minotaur are set to run from July 27th through August 6th. Performances will take place primarily at the Boathouse Theater in Schroon Lake Village, as well as the Little Theater on the Farm in Fort Edward and LARAC Gallery in Glen Falls. Weather permitting, the final weekend of performances will be held at the outdoor amphitheater at Scaroon Manor.
This event is made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Program, administered locally by the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council. For more information, a full performance schedule and to purchase tickets, visit www.adkshakes.org. Email inquiries may be sent to [email protected]
Illustration: Postcard of the historic Sacroon Manor outdoor amphitheater, Schroon Lake, NY.
Author Jeremy Davis of Saratoga Springs recently announced he has begun work on a new book to be titled Lost Ski Areas of the Adirondacks. The new volume, Davis’s third in the series, will be published by The History Press, and will focus on the 50-60 lost ski areas in the region. Davis touched upon some of the fascinating history of these ski areas when I chatted with him back in January. “The Adirondacks are filled with the ghosts of former ski areas,” Davis said. “They range from the first J-bar in New York State in Lake George, to short rope tows at hotels in Lake Placid, to large planned resorts that were never completed like Lowenburg near Lyon Mountain.”
Lost Ski Areas of the Adirondacks will be written over the course of the next 12 months, according to Davis, and is expected to be in print in the late summer of 2012. Davis says that he has already been researching areas, locating photos and maps.
The book is expected to be a bit different than Davis’s previous two books (Lost Ski Areas of the White Mountains and Lost Ski Areas of Southern Vemont) in that it is expected to have fewer photos and maps, but more background information and personal stories. Davis said that he will define the Adirondack region as within and “slightly outside” the Blue Line, including areas that were marketed as Adirondack ski areas.
If you skied at a lost area in the Adirondacks and would like to share a memory, or if you have any photos, contact Davis at [email protected]. Additional information can be found at the website of the New England Lost Ski Areas Project (NELSAP).
To the casual observer, the Lake George Steamboat Company’s marine railway near the foot of the lake is unlikely to conform to any preconceived notion of a historic site.
Built in 1927 by Crandall Dry Dock Engineers, it’s a utility, used to haul vessels in and out of Lake George for repair, maintenance and storage.
But in the 19th century, almost every harbor on the eastern coasts of the United States and Canada had similar railways, almost all built by Crandall Dry Dock Engineers; the Crandall railway at Hart Bay is, according to New York State’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, among the few that remain intact and in operation today.
The New York State Board for Historic Preservation has, therefore, recommended that the railway be added to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The Board cast its votes when it met in March in New York, where it recommended adding thirty nine sites to the registers, including Fort George in Lake George.
“These nominations reflect many of the varied commercial, agricultural, political and social movements that have shaped New York State,” said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “Bringing recognition to these properties will help us to preserve and illuminate important components of New York State history.”
According to Bill Dow, president of the Lake George Steamboat Company, the entire marine railway complex, which includes 390 feet of track under water, the cradle and the gears in the small frame head house, was nominated for the registers.
“Without the marine railway, the Lake George Steamboat Company could not have continued to operate through the Depression and the post-War eras,” said Dow.
According to Dow, the railway was constructed to haul the Sagamore from the lake for repairs.
On July 1, 1927 the Sagamore rammed the point of Anthony’s Nose, and began to sink. The captain, John Washburn of Ticonderoga, ordered that the hole in the hull be stuffed with mattresses. He then sailed her into Glenburnie, where she discharged her passengers, and then beached her in a small cove. After repairs were made at Hart Bay, she was refurbished, launched again in May 1928, and sailed for another five years.
According to the State Board of Historic Preservation, the Crandall Marine Railway complements the Lake George Steamboat Company’s Mohican, which was placed on the registry of Historic Places two years ago.
“Together, the railway and the excursion boat recall the nearly two century history of pleasure boating on one of the Adirondack Regions’ largest and most popular and accessible tourist destinations,” the State Board noted.
The Lake George Steamboat Company is now preparing an application to place the former Lake George train station on the registers of historic places.
Like the Steamboat Company, the station was owned by the D&H railroad, which built the station in 1909 in the same Spanish Colonial Revival style of architecture as its nearby hotel, the Fort William Henry.
“The Lake George Steamboat Company represents America, or the America of the past, as few companies do,” said Bill Dow. “We feel a responsibility to honor that past by preserving our legacy.”
Lake George has been lodging visitors at the site of the Fort William Henry Resort and Conference Center for more than 150 years. 156 years, to be precise.
Five years after the original hotel opened in 1855, the first Minnehaha was launched, and her captain entered into a relationship with the steward of the hotel’s dining room; as the boat came churning up the lake, the captain would blow the ship’s whistle once for every 10 passengers aboard, so that the steward would know how many would be in for dinner.
In 1868, the hotel was sold for $125,000 to T. Roessele & Sons of Albany and enlarged. A mansard roof was added and the hotel was now seven stories high. A 25 foot wide piazza extending the entire length of the north side of the building, supported by a row of 38 foot-high Corinthian columns, was also added. By then, steamboats were being met on the docks at the foot of the hotel’s lawns with 13 piece German bands. The hotel could accommodate 1000 guests; among them, former president U.S. Grant and Generals W.T. Sherman and Philip Sheridan, to name just a few of the celebrities who cooled themselves on the piazza. A twelve year-old Theodore Roosevelt accompanied his family to Lake George in 1871, and they, too, put up at the hotel. Roosevelt kept a diary of the visit, recounting each day’s activities. For instance, of August 2nd he writes:
”Early in the morning we went to the ruins of Fort George which we found after some difficulty. We brought home some specimens with us. There was an airgun before the hotel with which we had some shooting matches with variable success. There was an Indian encampment near which of course we visited. Then we hired some boats and rowed off to an island in the lake where we left the Ladies, went off some distance and had a swim. We then rowed back to the island (and then) home to dinner.”
A visitor during that same decade wrote:
”The coach is driven with a sweep and a swirl through the grounds of the hotel , and, suddenly turning a corner, dashes up before the wide and corridored piazza, crowded with groups of people – all superb life and animation on one side of him, and a marvelous stretch of lake and mountain and wooded shore on the other…”
The hotel opened for business in mid-June. Life there was pleasant and undemanding, if an 1893 account in the Lake George Mirror is any indication. “The hotel is supplied with every modern convenience, and there are billiard rooms, bowling alleys, swimming baths, lawn tennis courts, and music is provided throughout the season, there being also balls and parties at intervals.”
The Mirror continues: “The cuisine is always of the finest and cannot be improved upon, it being of a character to commend it to wealthy and fastidious people. The drives in the neighborhood, the fishing in the lake, and the boating and yachting, all contribute to make a stay at the Fort William Henry Hotel all that once could wish for… The outlook from the piazza is at all times little less than enchanting, commanding, as it does, the level reaches of the lake for miles, with a number of the most picturesque islands and promontories. In the evening, by full moonlight, or on a peaceful Sunday, while the orchestra discourses sacred music, and the only undertone is the flutter of cool dresses, dainty ribbons and fans, and the low voices of friendly promenaders, life here seems entirely worth living.”
The author of the Mirror’s account goes on to describe the interior of the hotel:
“Under the dome (from the upper part of which a grand view of the lake is obtained) is the general office, including also a ticket office, telegraph office, bazaar, news, book and cigar stand, etc. West of this is the drawing room, and on the east, suites of apartments, bijou parlors, and the large billiard hall, while at the back is the great dining hall. A cabinet of Indian and historical curiosities, gathered from the locality, attracts great interest.”
The hotel was owned by the Delaware & Hudson Railroad when it burned in June 1909, and two years later a new hotel was constructed on the site. In an article on the opening which appeared in the Lake George Mirror, the new structure was acclaimed “a masterpiece of architecture. With its companion hotel at Bluff Point on Lake Champlain, it shares the honor of being the only fireproof house in Northern New York devoted to the resort business.”
In another edition of the Mirror, an editorial described the lavish display of flowers and shrubs surrounding the new hotel and urged the natives to cooperate with the hotel in guarding the grounds against vandalism.
This hotel was demolished in the summer of 1969, the very same week that the Prospect Mountain Highway opened for the first time. In retrospect, the two events seem not co-incidental, since it was the automobile, more than any other single factor, which brought about the demise of the great resort hotels. The original dining room of the 1909 hotel, however, is still intact, as is the hotel’s stable.
For 19th century guests of the Fort William Henry Hotel, an exploration of the ruins of Fort George was as essential to the experience of visiting Lake George as an excursion to Paradise Bay aboard the Ganouski or the Lillie M. Price.
Today, the grounds of the fort are part of a state park, but the site has remained remarkably undisturbed. For the past decade, state officials have worked with local organizations, archaeologists and historians to protect the site while, at the same time, taking steps to enhance public appreciation of one of the most significant battlegrounds in North America. Earlier this month, New York State’s Board for Historic Preservation took an additional measure to both preserve and promote Fort George; it recommended that the site be placed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.
“Archaeological investigations at this French and Indian War site have provided rare insights into New York’s colonial wars; the site is also an example of an early and successful public initiative in land conservation and commemoration,” said Rose Harvey, Commissioner for Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “Bringing recognition to this property will help us to preserve and illuminate an important component of New York State history.”
After having been the site of battles in 1755 and 1757, Fort George became the headquarters of the British as they prepared to launch attacks on the French at Ticonderoga, Crown Point and Montreal. In 1759, General Jeffery Amherst ordered the construction of a stone fort. Only one corner bastion was completed, but that stone ruin survives. During the War of Independence, the fort was occupied by both the Americans and the British.
In 1998, interpretive signs were installed, permitting visitors to conduct self-guided tours of the park. Two years later, Dr. David Starbuck led the first archaeological excavation of the grounds. Starbuck, his students and volunteers uncovered the foundations of two large buildings and hundreds of artifacts.
According to Commissioner Harvey, a place on the State and National Registers can make the site eligible for various public preservation programs and services.
Once the recommendation is approved by the state historic preservation officer, the property will be listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places and then nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, where it will be reviewed and, once approved, entered on the National Register.
Illustrations: 19th century views of the ruins of Fort George.
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