In the late summer of 1820, William Ferris Pell purchased the garrison grounds of Fort Ticonderoga. The former military site had passed through the hands of the Federal and state governments and was finally given as a land trust to Colombia College (now university) and Union College. Buying the college’s shares of the land Pell now privately owned the historic site that had already been attracting visitors since the end of the Revolution, including George Washington, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson. To prevent more deterioration of the fort Pell had some of the ruins fenced in. Pell actions at Ticonderoga are among the earliest efforts at historic preservation in American history, predating more well-known examples of preservation and commemoration of America’s historic landscape.
Two hundred years later, the Fort Ticonderoga Museum continues to preserve and maintain this remarkable landscape. William Ferris Pell’s descendants reconstructed much of the fortification, one of the first historic reconstructions in US history, in 1909. Today the museum is involved in a number of initiatives to reflect on 200 years of preservation and continue that work into the future. We are excited to share this work with the public through opportunities to engage with museum staff and outside experts on the history and legacy of preservation at Ticonderoga.
On October 16-18 Fort Ticonderoga will host a conference “Historically Situated: History, Memory, and Place” to examine the legacy of historic places. From a wide variety of disciplines, speakers from across the country will explore how we preserve, remember, and interpret historic places. Join us for an engaging and exciting look at the past, present, and future of history! The Call for Papers is open until April 1!
Learn more about preservation initiatives at Ticonderoga during our bicentennial year:
- With a grant from the American Battlefield Preservation Program, Fort Ticonderoga will conduct the first-ever Preservation and Planning Assessment of the Carillon Battlefield.
- Restoration work on the reconstructed walls of Fort Ticonderoga, a National Historic Landmark, will be undertaken thanks to a prestigious Save America’s Treasures Grant, funded by the Historic Preservation Fund.
- The National Historic Landmark Pavilion, William Ferris Pell’s Ticonderoga estate and later a hotel, is undergoing a comprehensive restoration and adaptive reuse. This preserves the important structure and makes it accessible, for the first time in over 30 years for exhibits, food service, and special events and rentals. Learn more about the progress: