Fort Ticonderoga is where the clash for empire and struggle for liberty happened! Fort Ticonderoga is America’s Fort and is one of the most significant and oldest historic places to visit in North America. It tells the story of how the armies of Great Britain and France struggled to control a continent and where a generation later Americans fought to establish a free nation. It celebrates how America remembers its past and finds inspiration in the power of place to preserve its epic history for future generations.
Ticonderoga’s land has been contested since the earliest European explorers set foot on its shores over four hundred years ago. The first armed conflict using firearms in the Lake Champlain region took place in July 1609 when Samuel de Champlain and his Algonquin allies fought a brief skirmish with Iroquois warriors while exploring the Ticonderoga peninsula. A century and a half later during the French and Indian War, the French army began fortifying the area. Constructed beginning in the fall of 1755 Fort Carillon, later called Ticonderoga was built to guard a portage on the narrow water highway connecting New France with Britain’s American colonies. On July 8th, 1758 the British army attacked the French at Ticonderoga attempting to seize control of this strategic Fort. After a day-long battle and outnumbering the French army nearly five to one, the British were defeated suffering casualties of nearly 2000 men killed and wounded. For France, the Battle of Carillon was their greatest victory of the entire war. The British returned in July of 1759 and succeeded in capturing the Fort. Fort Ticonderoga remained a British outpost until May 10th, 1775, when Ethan Allan and his Green Mountain Boys along with Benedict Arnold captured the Fort in a daring early morning raid achieving one of the first major victories of the American Revolution. The cannon captured at the Fort in May 1775 were later hauled to Boston to provide the fledging American army critically needed artillery to defend the city. Ticonderoga’s guns helped force the British to evacuate Boston in March of 1776.
In July of 1777 the British army invaded northern New York from Canada. Ticonderoga was quickly surrounded and its American garrison was forced to evacuate. The British pursued the American’s southward until the two armies clashed at Saratoga later that fall. After a decisive series of battles the British were defeated shifting the focus of the American Revolution out of New England and New York. In early November 1777, the few remaining British troops at Ticonderoga burned the Fort and retreated to Canada.
Following the Revolutionary War, Fort Ticonderoga quickly fell into ruins, but quickly became a popular tourist destination for the first generations of American tourists. Interest in preserving the Fort began in the early decades of the 19th century when in 1820 the Pell family acquired the site and welcomed visitors to see one of the great places in American history. In 1909 the family began the painstaking task of reconstruction the Fort and the formation of its vast historic object collections including one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of weapons used in the Revolutionary War and establishing a museum to celebrate the role Ticonderoga played in American history. The preservation and reconstruction of Fort Ticonderoga was one of the earliest historic preservation projects begun in North America.
Today visitors immerse themselves in the nearly 2000 acres of exquisite landscape overlooking Lake Champlain and Vermont’s Green Mountains. Fort Ticonderoga is located in the scenic Adirondack Park, the largest contiguous park in the United States. Daily programs and special events recreate Fort Ticonderoga’s defining story and the roar of cannon and pageantry of arms bring to life the struggle for America!
Fort Ticonderoga’s museum offers visitors the opportunity to discover the objects that helped shape the nations of North America! Engaging exhibits featuring weapons used in the Revolutionary War, engraved powder horns, and everyday objects used by soldiers help tell the story of how history was made at Ticonderoga. Annual special exhibits in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center exhibition gallery highlight rarely-seen treasures from the museum’s century-old collections.
From fun hands-on living history programs to Fort Ticonderoga’s new seasonal Heroic Corn Maze; scholarly seminars to garden activities; Fort Ticonderoga offers more than one hundred exciting and unique events and programs each year making it a favorite historic place to visit! History enthusiasts, groups, families and educators all have unique opportunities to immerse themselves in Fort Ticonderoga’s rich history, beautiful landscape and engaging programs. Experience America’s Fort!