Ticonderoga – A Short History
Ticonderoga’s recorded history begins in the summer of 1609 when French explorer, Samuel de Champlain, first discovered the lake that bears his name. Champlain’s voyage ranged from Quebec far to the south to a point on the west shore of Lake Champlain where Ticonderoga is now located. Ticonderoga and the area around it remained a strategic location and battleground for dominance between the powers of France and England for years.
The name Ticonderoga, or as the Algonquin and Iroquois Indians called it – Chinandroga, loosely means “the place between two waters.” Ticonderoga was first settled in 1764 when King George III divided 6,000 acres of land around Fort Ticonderoga (aka Fort Carillon) among three officers at the fort, one of whom was Lieutenant John Stoughton. Stoughton became the first to settle in Ticonderoga. The Ellice family, English land speculators, purchased the bulk of the Stoughton patent.
The Town of Ticonderoga was formed from the old Town of Crown Point, New York on March 20, 1804. The Village of Ticonderoga and Town of Ticonderoga were two distinct governmental entities. The hamlet of Ticonderoga was incorporated as a village within the Town of Ticonderoga on May 18, 1889.
Ticonderoga developed as several individual settlement areas, each of which had a specific name associated with it. South Ticonderoga, also known as Trout Brook, became known as Tuffertown supposedly because of the efforts early residents had to endure or tough it out to exist. Other locations were known as Alexandria, Lower Village, Weedville, Mount Hope, and Street Road (earlier Ticonderoga Street or Ti Street). These areas along with Chilson, Eagle Lake, and a few others make up what we know today as Ticonderoga.
Alexandria, also referred to as Upper Falls or the Upper Village, was named for Alexander Ellice who was an English landowner of most of that area. Alexandria was once the main village and the first industrial and business center for Ticonderoga before the Lower Village surpassed it around 1850. Alexandria was an ideal location for industry and industry would soon spring up all along Ticonderoga Creek, today known as La Chute River. Industries such as pulp and paper making, graphite refining, grist and sawmills, wool manufacturing, forges, and even barrel manufacturing all competed and/or benefited from waterpower along La Chute River. The drop of La Chute River is greater than that of Niagara Falls, but over a longer, approximately three mile distance as it empties the waters of Lake George into Lake Champlain.
The first Town of Ticonderoga meeting of record was held on March 7, 1876. The Town Board was made up of a Town Supervisor, four (4) Justices of the Peace, and the Town Clerk. The office of Sealer of Weights and Measures was added in 1879. This was followed by the office of Railroad Commissioner which was established around 1883. All officers were paid by a percentage and a per diem basis for attending meetings and other functions. The Supervisor handled school monies and received a small percentage of the amount handled. The Supervisor was also the chief fiscal officer and presided at all meetings and represented the town at the County Board of Supervisors.
The Village of Ticonderoga was dissolved into the Town of at midnight on December 31, 1993. Today, the Town of Ticonderoga operates with a Town Supervisor, a 4-member Town Council, Town Clerk, Police Department, Highway Department, Water/Wastewater Department, Code Enforcement Office, Budget & Finance Office, Court, Parks & Recreation group, Town Assessor, Planning & Zoning Board, and a Library.