A deer in Adirondack Hall
State Historic Markers :: Historical Area Markers in New York State - Page Two

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Capital District - Saratoga Area (RENSSELAER, WASHINGTON, SARATOGA, ALBANY, SCHENECTADY, FULTON, MONTGOMERY, SCHOHARIE)

ALBANY COUNTY AIRPORT

This area is a strategic location on the crossroads of two travel routes, the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers. These rivers served as the principal passage between the Adirondack Mountains and the Allegheny Plateau. The English and Dutch were rivals in the struggle to gain control of the area's fur trade monopoly. In later colonial times, British military expeditions left from here on their campaigns to attack the French outposts to the north.

The establishing of Albany as the seat of state government (1797) and the construction of the Erie Canal (1825) added to the impetus of growth that was already taking place.

Mother Ann Lee and a small band of followers settled near this site in 1776. They were called Shakers because simple dance movements were included with singing as part of their religious ritual. The practice of celibacy made them dependent upon converts and the adoption of orphans for membership. They made a permanent impression on the State by their contributions to agriculture and by their handicrafts.

#1 - Albany County Airport

CAPITAL DISTRICT - ALBANY AREA

After Henry Hudson's exploration of the Hudson River in 1609, the Dutch established Fort Orange near the present site of Albany. In 1630 the surrounding area became the Van Rensselaer patroonship. This was converted in 1685 to the Manor of Rensselaerswyck, comprising 1,250 square miles. When the English took New Netherland in 1664, and named it New York, Fort Orange became Albany. In 1686 the city of Albany received a royal charter. Its location made Albany a center for the early fur trade, the headquarters for military expeditions of the Colonial Wars, and the principal objective of Burgoyne's invasion in 1777.

In 1797 Albany became the capital of New York State. Completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 with Albany as its terminus increased commercial activity. Construction of the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad from Albany to Schenectady in 1831 was followed by through lines making Albany a railroad center.

Enlargement of the Erie Canal, later the Barge Canal, and development of Albany as a seaport spurred the industrialization of the capital district. This includes Troy, early known for its iron works, bell foundry and shirt and collar manufacture, and Schenectady, which pioneered in the electrical industry.

#2 - Route 87, southbound, between Malta and Clifton Park
#3 - Thruway, eastbound, at Guilderland Service Area (milepost 153)
#4 - Thruway, westbound, at Rensselaer Service Area (milepost B-5 of Berkshire Spur)

HERKIMER HOME - 1764

Three miles east of Little Falls on Route 5-S

General Nicholas Herkimer (1728- 1777) one of the first American-born generation of the Palatine Germans who settled the Mohawk Valley, leading farmer-trader of the Valley, and hero of the Battle of Oriskany, built HERKIMER HOME in 1764.

As Brigadier General of the Tryon County Militia, Herkimer commanded the American forces who marched to the relief of Fort Stanwix (Rome) when the fort was besieged during the three-pronged British invasion of New York in 1777.

At Oriskany, August 6, 1777, British regulars and Indians ambushed Herkimer's troops. The General was wounded and died ten days later. He lies buried beside the homestead.

#5 - Thruway, westbound (milepost 184)
#6 - Thruway, westbound, on Berkshire Spur at Rensselaer Service Area (milepost B-5)

JOHNSON HALL 1763

Sir William Johnson (1715-1774), Indian trader, statesman, diplomat and colonial empire builder. In 1763 he built Johnson Hall, the center of his estate and the scene of many Indian conferences.

Coming from Ireland in 1738, Johnson traded with the Indians and acquired great influence over them. After defeating the French at Lake George in 1755, he was created a baronet and made Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Northern Colonies. In 1766 he ended the Pontiac uprising, and in 1768 negotiated the Treaty of Fort Stanwix.

At Johnstown, which he founded and colonized, Johnson Hall stands as a monument to his constructive achievement.

#7 - Thruway, westbound, at Pattersonville Service Area (milepost 168)
#8 - Thruway, eastbound (milepost 185)

MOHAWK AREA

The Mohawk Valley was a principal pass to the interior between the Adirondack Mountains and the Allegheny Plateau. Here dwelt the Mohawks, one of the Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy who barred the white man's advance westward. In the seventeenth century they were visited by French Catholic missionaries from Canada, some of whom suffered martyrdom. In 1712, with the aid of Queen Anne, an Anglican Chapel for the Mohawks was erected at Fort Hunter.

Trade goods and furs were carried by river boats over the Mohawk between Albany and the West. The same route was followed by military expeditions during the French and Indian War.

From Fort Johnson, and after 1763 from Johnson Hall at Johnstown, Sir William Johnson ably conducted Indian affairs for the British government. During the Revolution, Tory and Indian raiders from Canada harassed the Mohawk Valley settlements.

The completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 and the formation of the New York Central Railroad in 1853 introduced an era of rapid settlement and industrial growth. In the twentieth century improved highways follow this historic route, long famed for its scenic beauty.

#9 - Route 5, eastbound, 2 1/2 miles east of Fonda
#10 - Thruway, westbound (milepost 184)
#11 - Thruway, eastbound (milepost 185)

RENSSELAERSWYCK

Henry Hudson in 1609 reached this vicinity in his exploration of the Hudson River. A trading post near the site of Albany was established in 1614, and a permanent settlement, Fort Orange, in 1624. Rensselaerswyck, the Patroonship granted to Kiliaen Van Rensselaer in 1630, was settled on both sides of the river. Under the wise paternalism of the patroon, it grew in area and population. In 1685, under English rule, it became the Manor of Rensselaerswyck, comprising an area of 1,250 square miles, surrounding the city of Albany, chartered in 1686.

The Lords of the Manor, still called "patroons," built fine manor houses and collected their rents until the nineteenth century. About 1840 the popular demonstrations known as "anti-rent wars" caused a modification of rental terms and many tenants became owners of their farms. The Van Rensselaer family and their relatives by marriage, the Schuylers, Livingstons and Van Cortlandts, played a leading role in the political and social life of New York State. Several of their homes still standing reflect the grandeur and refinement of the era. The towns of Claverack and Kinderhook on the overland route from New England long preserved their Dutch heritage.

#12 - Thruway, eastbound, at Columbia Service Area (milepost B-5 of Berkshire Spur)

SARATOGA AREA

The Carrying Place, the divide between the bend of the Hudson River, which flows south, and the watershed of Lakes George and Champlain, which flow north to the St. Lawrence River, has played a strategic role in American history. Dutch fur traders traveled this way to Canada. English speculators in 1708 included this area in the notorious Kayaderosseras Patent of over half a million acres. The Mohawk Indians protested that this was a huge swindle and had it disallowed by the Crown.

Military campaigns of the French and Indian War frequently crossed the Carrying Place. In 1777 General Burgoyne's British army of invasion from Canada was defeated at the Battle of Saratoga, the turning point of the American Revolution.

Mineral springs, discovered in the eighteenth century, were known for their curative properties. Saratoga Spa became a celebrated resort for the nation's society. After 1865, horse racing became popular, attracting huge seasonal crowds for whom pretentious hotels were built. In 1910 New York State began a program to conserve the springs and to utilize the waters for the public. Beautiful lakes, rivers, and the foothills of the Adirondacks make this a favored vacation land.

#13 - Route 98, south of Ft. Edward

SCHENECTADY

Located near the eastern terminals of the Mohawk River, Schenectady was once the home of the Mohawk Indians, one of the tribes of the powerful Six Nation Iroquois Confederacy. In 1661, the Dutch came and settled. Problems with the French and Indians led to the famous massacre of 1690.

In the 17th century, Schenectady served as a jump-off point for westward movement. The Erie Canal increased the city's commercial growth. The city also established a strong industrial base. Upon this foundation was laid the "electric industry." The massive General Electric Company facility rests on a site originally chosen by Thomas A. Edison. The "Electric City" now ranks as a prime scientific center of the United States. Significant practical and theoretical scientific studies are carried on here.

#14 - Crescent Park (West Side), State Street, City of Schenectady

SCHUYLER MANSION - 1762

Major General Philip Schuyler (1733 - 1804), soldier and statesman. In 1762 built The Pastures, the house today known as SCHUYLER MANSION.

Schuyler was a wealthy landholder who moved easily in the aristocratic circles of Albany and New York. In 1755 he married Catherine Van Rensselaer; their daughter Elizabeth in 1780 married Alexander Hamilton at The Pastures.

Commanding the Northern Continental armies early in the Revolution, Schuyler served later in the State Legislature and in the United States Senate. He was an advocate of the State canal system.

Schuyler Mansion in Albany is one of the great historic homes of America.

#15 - Thruway, eastbound, at Mohawk Service Area (milepost 172)
#16 - Thruway, eastbomnd, at Guilderland Service Area (milepost 153)

THIS IS THE CAPITAL DISTRICT

The Capital District has long been important as a trading post, military objective and governmental center. Located near the juncture of the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers, Albany has been the "crossroads" of the northeast since colonial times. The Albany Congress of 1754 was the first major attempt to unite the thirteen original colonies. The area's strategic importance was proven by the successive attempts by the French and English to capture it during the colonial and Revolutionary wars.

Since 1797 Albany has served as the governmental center of New York State. Its large population and economic wealth has made it one of the more important states, permitting its capital to exert national power. New York governors and senators have long been regarded as presidential timber. Men like Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt have served their political apprenticeship here before stepping into the national arena.

#17 - Thruway, southbound (milepost 139)

THIS IS MOHAWK COUNTRY

The majestic Mohawk Valley has been the scene of many key events which have helped to shape the character and destiny of New York State and the Nation. This was once the home of the proud Mohawks, one of the main tribes of the powerful six-nation Iroquois Confederacy. As the main gateway between the Adirondack Mountains, and the Allegheny Plateau, the valley came to be used by French-Catholic missionaries, land-hungry settlers moving west, foreign travelers, French and Indian raiders, British tory, and American troops. During the French and Indian War and the American Revolution, it was a vital center of action - the main highway for east-west communication and a major point of contact between the contending armies.

The Erie Canal and the New York Central Railroad followed the valley route and gave a new direction to its history. Internal improvements led to intensive settlement and industrial growth. While the valley has changed in many ways over the years, it still retains one element of the past - its incomparable beauty.

#18 - Route 5, near Yosts

THIS IS THE WAY NORTH

Since pre-historic times, this route has served Indian hunting and war parties as they traveled between the north country and the southern region of New York State. This area was once considered the key to domination of colonial North America. French, English and American armies often engaged one another in a deadly struggle for the control of this State.

Once isolated and considered desolate, the northern reaches of the State were inhabited by trappers, lumbermen and miners. The Adirondack Mountains served as America's earliest source of raw materials for our infant industry.

Recent times have seen wealthy magnates using these mountains and lakes as a millionaire's resort paradise. Travel, tourism and commerce have increased the steady flow of humanity moving over this important "way north."

#19 - Route 87, northbound, at Clifton Park

THIS IS MOHAWK COUNTRY

The majestic Mohawk Valley has been the scene of many key events which have helped to shape the character and destiny of New York State and the Nation. This was once the home of the proud Mohawks, one of the main tribes of the powerful six-nation Iroquois Confederacy. As the main gateway between the Adirondack Mountains, and the Allegheny Plateau, the valley came to be used by French-Catholic missionaries, land-hungry settlers moving west, foreign travelers, French and Indian raiders, British tory, and American troops. During the French and Indian War and the American Revolution, it was a vital center of action - the main highway for east-west communication and a major point of contact between the contending armies.

The Erie Canal and the New York Central Railroad followed the valley route and gave a new direction to its history. Internal improvements led to intensive settlement and industrial growth. While the valley has changed in many ways over the years, it still retains one element of the past - its incomparable beauty.

#20 - Route 5, East of Amsterdam


Adirondack-Champlain Area (CLINTON, ESSEX, WARREN, HAMILTON, HERKIMER, LEWIS, FRANKLIN)

THE ADIRONDACKS

The Adirondack Mountains, consisting of rocky peaks, sheer cliffs and narrow valleys, also have wooded slopes and sparkling lakes. Forty-three mountains have elevations 4000 feet or higher. Mount Marcy, with an altitude of 5,344 feet, is the highest. Near Marcy's summit is Lake Tear-of-the-Clouds, the source of the Hudson River.

Iroquois Indians derisively gave the name Adirondack (meaning "tree-eater") to some of the Algonkians, their enemies. Used as Indian hunting territory, the vast wilderness was not penetrated by white men until the late 18th century. Mining began at the end of that century, and Adirondack mines have yielded such ores as iron, zinc, titanium, talc and garnet. The great wealth of Adirondack forests supplied demands for timber in the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th. Alarmed over the denuding of this natural treasure, New York set up the Forest Preserve in 1885. The Adirondack Park now consists of more than two million State-owned acres.

Railroad construction after 1871 turned remote, forest retreats into popular summer resorts. The opening of automobile highways in the 20th century made the area accessible for all to enjoy the rugged beauty of the Adirondack Mountains.

#1 - Route 28, east of McKeever
#2 - Route 30, north of Wells
#3 - Route 28, north side, 1 1/2 miles east of Blue Mountain Lake (milepost 127.4)

THE EMPIRE STATE

Following exploration by Champlain and Hudson in 1609, the first permanent settlement began in the Hudson Valley in 1624. Dutch rule was displaced in 1664 by the English, who named New York after the King's brother, the Duke of York and Albany. Conflict between England and France over posts in western and northern New York ended in 1763. Then the American Revolution brought the ravages of war to all parts of the State. At Saratoga (Schuylerville) in 1777 was fought the decisive battle of the Revolution.

One of the thirteen original states, New York adopted its Constitution in 1777. George Washington referred to the State as "the seat of the Empire," and New York City became the first capital of the United States. The State has had a pivotal position in national politics, with numerous New Yorkers serving in the Presidency and other high offices. An exceptional variety of natural resources and a population augmented by immigration make New York a leader in agriculture, industry, finance and the arts. Unsurpassed transportation routes also spurred New York's development and the growth of the Nation. New Yorkers continue to add significant chapters to the history of the Empire State, fulfilling its motto of EXCELSIOR - "ever upward."

#4 - Route 87, southbound, north of Plattsburgh

FORT TICONDEROGA

During the 18th century, when nations fought to control the strategic route between the St. Lawrence River in Canada and the Hudson River to the south, the fortification overlooking the outlet of Lake George into Lake Champlain was called "the key to a continent."

The French constructed here in 1755 the stronghold they named Carillon, and made it a base to attack their English rivals. In 1758, Carillon, under Marquis de Montcalm, withstood assault by superior British forces. The next year Jeffery Amherst's troops captured Carillon and forced the French to retreat from Lake Champlain. The British renamed the fortress Fort Ticonderoga.

During the American Revolution, Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys captured Ticonderoga in a surprise attack, May 10, 1775. Cannons hauled from Ticonderoga to Boston helped George Washington drive the British from that city. In July, 1777, General Burgoyne's invading, army overwhelmed the American fort and Ticonderoga again became British. Americans unsuccessfully attacked the fort in September, 1777; later the British abandoned it.

In 1816, William Ferris Pell acquired the fort. His descendents began its restoration and in 1909 opened Ticonderoga to the public. Now the Fort Ticonderoga Association maintains the historic fort and its military museum.

#5 - Fort Ticonderoga, Ticonderoga, New York

THE FRENCH EMIGRES

Following the social upheavals of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Era, some French aristocrats sought refuge in the wilderness of northern New York. The vast Macomb Purchase provided lands for speculators, who sold to French promoters. In 1782, J. D. Le Ray de Chaumont, scion of the noble family which sponsored Benjamin Franklin in Paris, came to America and became the principal developer of the region. He laid out an estate, built a mansion and promoted settlement. In 1792, William Constable sold 200,000 acres to a Paris company for "Castorland, - but many of its plans were visionary and impractical.

After Napoleon's fall in 1815, a new wave of refugees came to the region, including Joseph Bonaparte, the emperor's brother and erstwhile king of Naples and Sicily, and of Spain. While staying at Lake Bonaparte, he entertained fellow émigrés and plotted to rescue Napoleon from exile. But pioneering life was not easy, and few émigrés remained after Europe became more tranquil.

Permanent settlement expanded about 1820 with an influx of New Englanders attracted to the timber and mineral resources. Lacking good transportation, the region developed slowly. Today, the rugged country and the lakes and streams afford excellent opportunities for recreation.

#6 - Route 3, near Natural Bridge

GLENS FALLS AREA

Where the Hudson River runs eastward befor turning south is a series of falls, an obstacle to navigation but also a source of power. These lay athwart the north-south trail between Albany and Montreal. The Queensbury Patent of 23,000 acres was laid out in 1759. A small village was begun, but was burned by the British after Burgoyne's invasion of 1777. In 1780 John Glen, a Schenectady merchant, acquired land, built mills and gave his name to the site.

Proximity to the Adirondack forests made Glens Falls a lumbering center. Millions of feet of timber were annually floated down the waters on spring "drives." Booms across the river were built of timber and chains to hold the logs and permit sorting. Paper making began in the 1860's and became the principal industry, utilizing pulp wood. Later, mills were used to manufacture cellulose products. There was little diversification of industry, although limestone was used for cement.

Glens Falls is a gateway to the Adirondack Forest Preserve, and to the recreational areas of Lake George and Champlain. Travel was by stage coach until railroad lines were built beginning in the 1870's. Modern highway transportation has made these areas more accessible to the general public.

#7 - Route 87, northbound, south of Glens Falls

LAKE CHAMPLAIN

Samuel de Champlain, French explore and colonizer, in 1609 aided a war party of Huron Indians against the rival Iroquois on the shore of the lake which now bears his name. As the natural water route between Canada and the Hudson River, it was fortified by the French at strategic Crown Point in 1731 and Ticonderoga in 1755. In 1759, the British seized these posts and held them until they were captured by American forces in 1775.

The first American fleet, built at Whitehall by Benedict Arnold, engaged the British at Valcour Island in 1776, but Burgoyne in 1777 seized the lake forts and the British controlled the waters until 1782.

During the War of 1812 British forces again sought to control the lake route. Commodore Thomas MacDonough defeated the British fleet at Plattsburgh in 1814 while troops under General Alexander Macomb turned back the invasion on land.

Swift flowing tributaries of Lake Champlain provided water power for mill sites in the 19th century. Lumbering, iron mines and later paper mills utilized this power. Farm lands on the shore produced potatoes, apples and dairy products. Lake Champlain's waters and scenic shoreline make this area a popular playground.

#8 - Route 87, northbound, south of Plattsburgh

LAKE GEORGE

The natural route by water and portage between the St. Lawrence River and the Hudson River traversed Lake George. Christened Lac du Saint Sacrement in 1646 by the Jesuit missionary, Isaac Jogues, it was renamed in 1755 by Sir William Johnson to honor King George II.

Above the outlet of Lake George, over-looking Lake Champlain, the French in 1755 built Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga), which became a military objective during the colonial conflicts between the English and the French. Fort William Henry, built at the southern end of Lake George to check the French, was destroyed by French and Indians in 1757. In 1758 General James Abercromby led a large force northward to attack the French at Ticonderoga and was repulsed, but General Jeffery Amherst was successful the following year. With the outbreak of the American Revolution, Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold took Fort Ticonderoga. Abandoned in 1777 to General John Burgoyne's invading army, it remained in British hands until 1782.

From earliest times, the singular beauty of this forest-bound lake has charmed visitors. Sportsmen, artists, and nature-lovers have been drawn to its shores. Boating and fishing have made it a popular recreation area. State-owned campsites and beaches today preserve some of its pristine charm.

#9 - Route 9N, south of Sabbath Bay Point
#10 - Route 87, West of Lake George Village

NEW YORK - VERMONT BORDER

Much of present Vermont, originally called the New Hampshire Grants, became the source of a lengthy controversy between New Yorkers and their neighbors to the east. In 1749, the governor of colonial New Hampshire began granting land to speculators in territory claimed by New York under its charter. New York's title was upheld in 1764, and the Colonial Assembly thereupon organized Cumberland, Gloucester and Charlotte Counties. Opposition to New York in support of settlers in the grants was led by Ethan Allen and his brothers, who established the independent Republic of Vermont. In 1790, New York relinquished its claim to lands between the Connecticut River and the present eastern border of New York on payment of $30,000, and Vermont became the fourteenth state. Charlotte County was renamed Washington in 1784.

Philip Skene in 1761 established Skenesborough, now Whitehall. There in 1776 was built the first United States fleet, which that year engaged British ships off Valcour Island in Lake Champlain. Following the American Revolution, settlers occupied the river valleys. After 1823, the Champlain Canal linked the Hudson River and Lake Champlain. Since the 1850's, New York's only slate quarries have furnished materials for buildings, roofs and trim. Dairy farming is extensive.

#11 - Route 22, near Granville

SCHROON LAKE

Schroon Lake, approximately 9 miles long with a maximum width of 1 1/2 miles, was formed by glacial rubble damming an ancient valley. The lake is a wide part of the Schroon River which flows from the Adirondacks to join the Hudson at Warrensburg. The name's origin is hidden in local legends. Several attribute it to Indian words, and one claims it was inspired by Madame Scarron, a beautiful French widow, who became the wife of Louis XIV.

Settlers from New England came into the mountain-rimmed region in 1797. Impressed by the grandeur of massive pine trees, they thought it "a most wonderful lumbering country." Log drivers originated on the Schroon River in 1813, and great stands of timber were floated down the Schroon and Hudson to mills at Glens Falls and Hudson Falls. Local mills and tanneries exploited the vast forest. Lumbering reached its peak in 1870's. Iron works used mountain ores.

The semi- wilderness was a popular vacation retreat in the 19th century. Visitors traveled by railroad, stagecoach and steamboat to stay at spacious hostelries near the lake shore. Moutains, lakes and ponds still make the Schroon Lake region a paradise for pleasure seekers.

#12 - Route 87, northbound, near Schroon Lake

THE BLACK RIVER COUNTRY

As you look out from this vantage point, you see four locks of the old Black River Canal. These enclosures, with gates at either end, were used in raising or lowering boats as they passed from one level to another. Construction was a costly project since 109 locks were built along the 35-mile route. Completed in 1855, it served as a "feeder" for the Erie and later Barge Canal System. This Rome to Carthage waterway was instrumental in the opening of the "North Country." Grain and lumber were sent as far as Buffalo and New York City in exchange for clothing and machinery. As the canal building "fever" waned the Black River section fell to disuse and was finally abandoned in 1926.

Today, this region is prime dairy country. The fine "sharp" cheese of this part of the Empire State ranks among the best in the world. It has been the winner at innumerable fairs and foreign competitions.

#13 - Route 12, 4 miles south of Port Lyden


Thousand Islands - St. Lawrence Area (ST LAWRENCE, JEFFERSON)

THE EMPIRE STATE

Following exploration by Champlain and Hudson in 1609, the first permanent settlement began in the Hudson Valley in 1624. Dutch rule was displaced in 1664 by the English, who named New York after the King's brother, the Duke of York and Albany. Conflict between England and France over posts in western and northern New York ended in 1763. Then the American Revolution brought the ravages of war to all parts of the State. At Saratoga (Schuylerville) in 1777 was fought the decisive battle of the Revolution.

One of the thirteen original states, New York adopted its Constitution in 1777. George Washington referred to the State as "the seat of the Empire," and New York City became the first capital of the United States. The State has had a pivotal position in national politics, with numerous New Yorkers serving in the Presidency and other high offices. An exceptional variety of natural resources and a population augmented by immigration make New York a leader in agriculture, industry, finance and the arts. Unsurpassed transportation routes also spurred New York's development and the growth of the Nation. New Yorkers continue to add significant chapters to the history of the Empire State, fulfilling its motto of EXCELSIOR - "ever upward."

#1 - Route 37, westbound, east of Massena

THE ST. LAWRENCE PLAIN

The gently rolling country between the St. Lawrence River and the Adirondack Mountains is cut by the St. Regis, Raquette, Grass and Oswegatchie Rivers. Tumbling from the slopes of the Adirondacks, these swift streams flow in westerly and northerly directions before emptying into the St. Lawrence.

Although the French maintained an Indian mission from 1746 to 1756 at the mouth of the Oswegatchie, Ogdensburg became the first settlement in 1796. In 1791, Alexander Macomb bought four million acres in the "North Country." Purchasers from Macomb surveyed the land and opened it to settlers, many of whom were New Englanders. The St. Lawrence Turnpike constructed in 1810 from Malone to Carthage improved transportation. Railroads after 1850 led to more rapid development of the region.

Agriculture, dairying and maple sugar provide the basic economy. Potash production for export was an early local enterprise. Paper mills used the abundant supply of water power which later was harnessed to supply electrical energy. Lead, zinc and talc are found in large quantities. Near Star Lake is the world's largest open-cut magnetite iron mine. Massena is a center for aluminum production. The St. Lawrence Seaway and the New York State Power development add much to the area's economy.

#2 - Route 11, south of De Kalb Junction

ST. LAWRENCE RIVER AND MASSENA

The St. Lawrence River from earliest times has provided a direct route for travel and transportation between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes. After the Revolution much of the land in northern New York came into the hands of Alexander Macomb and other speculators, so that settlement began slowly. Settlers attracted by mineral springs in 1798 founded Massena, named for one of Napoleon's generals.

During the War of 1812 and the Canadian Patriot War of 1837-39, the region was the scene of military action and cross-border raids. In recent times international cooperation has brought about the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project, opened in 1959. Greatly altering the appearance of the area, these have also created new facilities for transportation and recreation.

Extensive pasture lands make the region ideal for dairy farming. Iron, zinc, talc and lead mines yield significant industrial products. The presence of water power, later converted to electrical energy, has stimulated diverse industries. Among these were paper making and, after 1897, the manufacture of aluminum.

#3 - Route 37, west of Massena (2 1/2 miles to Route 37B and 3 1/2 miles to Route 56)

THE WAR OF 1812

New York's long border, extending from Plattsburgh in the northeast to the Pennsylvania line in the southwest, gave the State a prominent position in the War of 1812. Many land battles were fought on New York soil or on adjoining Canadian territory. At Sackets, Harbor were naval headquaters, ship yards, and a base for suppling posts on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. The war on land began there when a British attack was driven off in July 1812. Another enemy assault on Sackets Harbor the following year was also unsuccessful.

General Jacob J. Brown led the defense of Sackets Harbor, but elsewhere American leadership was not effective. Several invasions of Canada failed. Lewiston, Niagara Falls, Black Rock and Buffalo were destroyed, and Ogdensburg and Fort Niagara were captured. But the tide of war changed, and the United States won naval superiority on the Great Lakes. In 1814, the militia under General Brown redeemed itself at Lundy's Lane, in Ontario. Other troops, led by General Alexander Macomb, turned back a British attack on Plattsburgh. The naval victory of Commodore Thomas Macdonough on Lake Champlain in September 1814 helped to insure the territorial integrity of New York State when peace returned in 1815.

#4 - Route 3, south of Sackets Harbor

WATERTOWN REGION

Where the North Country touches Lake Ontario is the western gateway to the Adirondacks. Although reached by Samuel de Champlain in 1615, and viewed later by other French explorers, La Salle and Frontenac, this area was an unsettled wilderness until some time after the Revolution. Watertown, on the Black River, was settled in 1800. Here there was an abundance of water power to turn paper mills and other manufactories.

In the War of 1812, nearby Sackets Harbor was attacked by a British fleet, but the enemy was repulsed with heavy losses by Americans under General Jacob Brown. Henry Eckford then built a fleet from forest timber by which Captain Isaac Chauncey sought to gain control of Lake Ontario.

After the war there came a period of development. Settlement was promoted by the French nobleman, Le Ray de Chaumont, who purchased a large estate and sold off parcels. Many of these were taken by Yankees from New England, whose industry and thrift insured material progress.

Farmland and forest, with abundant water power, have made this area important in the economic life of New York State. The Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence are a favorite vacation land.

#5 - Interstate 81, south of Watertown

THE THOUSAND ISLANDS

As you enter the Thousand Island Region, you visit what the Iroquois called, "the Garden Place of the Great Spirit." This series of scenic isles actually numbers more than 1,800, ranging from small bird perches to some containing thousands of acres. Once the playground of the fabulously wealthy, this area now serves millions of vacationers from all income levels.

The blue waters surrounding the islands contain record-size bass and the fabled muskelunge. Local guides are available to take fishermen out to catch the "big ones." Swimming, boating, camping and sightseeing are the big attractions for tourists. The Thousand Islands International Bridge, dedicated in 1938 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, is one more link of friendship between the United States and Canada. Visitors from both countries come to this region to enjoy the serenity and grandeur of the Thousand Islands.

#6 - Route 12, south of Morristown

THE CHIPPEWA BAY AREA

This area was settled early in the 1800's by immigrants from Scotland. They were en-couraged to come here by agents of George Parish, a large landholder in the North Country. These conscientious farmers and tradesmen came up the St. Lawrence River from Montreal with true pioneer determination. The hardships of the frontier were especially severe since much of the land had to be redeemed with the axe.

As the trials of the first years passed, fields of grain replaced the forest and gave way to prosperous farms. Gradually, the original log cabins were replaced by stone houses, many of which survive to, this day. Superb workmanship, firmness of principle, and industriousness were part of this Scottish tradition that is now part of our heritage.

#7 - Route 12, north of Chippewa Bay


For more information...

If you have questions, or wish to obtain more detailed information about this subject, please contact:

George Hamell
Email:ghamell2@mail.nysed.gov
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Office of Cultural Education | New York State Education Department
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