Click to View Latest IssueClick to View Latest Issue

Fort Ticonderoga: An Epic Story of Early American History

By  0 Comments

Fort Ticonderoga was the site of extensive conflict in the 18th century and is considered the site of the most intensive military occupation in North America from 1609 to 1815. It’s described as the long 18th century, beginning in 1609 when Frenchman Samuel De Champlain battled with Native warriors on the shores of Lake Champlain. 

In 1755, French forces built Fort Carillon, later named Fort Ticonderoga. In 1757, more than 8,000 French, Canadian and Native forces left Carillon to attack British Fort William Henry on Lake George. On July 8, 1758, in America’s bloodiest battle until the Civil War, nearly 16,000 British troops suffered nearly 2,000 casualties in a failed attempt to take Fort Carillon from the French. Another British advance in 1759 under General Amherst secured Ticonderoga for the British empire in North America. 

Securing Independence
In May 1775, Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold’s men captured the fort and gave the fledgling American rebellion its first victory. In December, Henry Knox took the captured artillery to Boston to force the British evacuation in March 1776. After a failed attempt to capture Canada in 1776, American forces dug into Ticonderoga to hold the northern line for liberty, forcing the British to retreat to Canada in October 1776. British General Burgoyne’s offensive forced the American evacuation of Ticonderoga in July 1777, but American forces from Fort Ticonderoga met Burgoyne at the battles of Saratoga in the fall 1777 and forced Burgoyne to surrender.

Fort Ticonderoga’s first tourist, General George Washington, visited the unoccupied fort in 1783 while waiting for the final peace treaty to be signed. In September 1814, an American victory at Plattsburgh prevented another British advance on Ticonderoga. In 1820, a wealthy merchant, William Ferris Pell, purchased the fort property, considered the earliest act of preservation by an individual in America. In 1909, museum founders Stephen and Sarah Pell established the Fort Ticonderoga museum and restored the fort, considered the earliest restoration of its kind in America.     

Fort Ticonderoga is a leading American historic destination, with many attractions to entertain, educate and inspire visitors of all ages. Set in America’s most historic landscape, encompassing 2,000 acres and two miles of shoreline on Lake Champlain, Fort Ticonderoga presents more than 14 tours daily, scenic narrated boat cruises on Lake Champlain, thrilling weapons demonstrations, stunning historic gardens, immersive hands-on family programs, heritage breed animals, historic trades, museum exhibition, and the Mount Defiance experience. It’s a must-do experience attracting people from across the world every year.

History Reenacted
“We offer incredible immersive events. I like to call what we do story telling on a grand scale. Brown’s Raid Battle Reenactment, September 14 and 15, is one of my favorite events. It’s an action adventure jumping off the pages of history books,” noted Beth L. Hill, president and CEO. “Visitors step into the intense smoky haze of battle that unfolds across our incredible landscape and onto the water! Families also love our Heritage Harvest and Horse Festival October 5. Set in the gorgeous King’s Garden surrounded by a heritage apple orchard, visitors discover the important role of horses and other working animals in Ticonderoga’s epic history and how these working animals continue telling our story today. We also have a fabulous farmers’ market for this event and delicious local food, beverages and live music. Families also enjoy our six-acre Heritage Corn Maze, which opens on August 10 and runs through October.”

Beth has been in the cultural destination and museum profession for about 25 years. Ticonderoga has a special place in her heart; she visited the fort when she was four years old with her family and never forgot the power of the place. “Somewhere deep in my soul I realized, even at such a young age, the power of this evocative and epic place. In 2010 I was recruited by the Board of Trustees to lead Fort Ticonderoga into the future,” she recalled. “We have an immense responsibility to ensure that historic places have a place in our collective conscience as a people. History roots us and connects us with shared values as we strive to fulfill the ideals of our incredible nation. These ideals were fought with American blood and sacrifice at Ticonderoga to give us the freedom we have today.  

The Power of History
“Today, more than ever before, we need to ensure that historic places such as Ticonderoga continue for generations to come. Our mission at Fort Ticonderoga is to preserve, educate and provoke an active discussion about the past. We use this place, our museum collections and all of our programs, which include Ticonderoga Teacher Institute, K-12 education programs, university partnership and graduate fellowships and educational programs on site and across the nation as a platform to inspire and foster discussion, critical thinking and historical literacy.”

Fort Ticonderoga is undertaking a $70 million capital campaign to implement a transformative plan to make Fort Ticonderoga the leading cultural destination in North America. “This new facility will greatly enhance our capacity to host events, weddings, culinary retreats, and a greatly expanded food and beverage program that will feature the layers of the rich story, with locally grown produce and regional partnerships,” she noted. 

“Beyond that, plans include further investment in the museum collections to build the most singular collection of 18th-century militaria in the world as well as the construction of an international state-of-the-art museum facility.  

Visit or call 518-585-2821 for more information about the history and upcoming events. The camp is located at 102 Fort Ti Road, Ticonderoga, New York.