Join Fort Ticonderoga’s Curator of Collections for a rare look inside the building where the preservation of Fort Ticonderoga began. Step inside the Pavilion, currently closed to the general public, to learn about the men and women who saved Ticonderoga from destruction and made their home on the shores of Lake Champlain. Explore the stories of the building from the 19th and 20th centuries as the sun sets over the lake, and discover how modern science combined with old-fashioned historical research has helped to shed light on the building’s secrets. Sunsets and Secrets begins at 5 pm near the Guest Service Desk in the Log House Welcome Center. Tours take place every other Wednesday July through August. The cost of this specialty adventure is $35 per person.
“Walk in the footsteps of Robert Todd Lincoln, President William Howard Taft, and hundreds of others who have visited the Pavilion over almost two centuries,” said Matthew Keagle, Fort Ticonderoga’s Curator of Collections. “This is a rare chance to step inside the oldest intact structure remaining on the garrison grounds, off limits for almost 30 years and only just now starting to give up the secrets of its construction and use.”
The Pavilion was built as a summer home in 1826 by William Ferris Pell. He and his family occupied the home through the 1830s. By the early 1840s, the house had begun to be used as a hotel, its primary function through 1900. As a hotel, the house welcomed travelers passing through Ticonderoga by steamboat on Lake George and Lake Champlain. The hotel is known to have accommodated such guests as Robert Todd Lincoln, son of President Abraham Lincoln; the prominent French & Indian War historian, Francis Parkman; and prolific Adirondack photographer, Seneca Ray Stoddard. When William Ferris Pell’s great-grandson, Stephen H.P. and his wife Sarah G.T. Pell began the restoration of Fort Ticonderoga in 1909, they simultaneously undertook the restoration of the Pavilion and used the house as a summer residence for many years. After Stephen Pell’s death in 1950 his son John occupied the house through 1987. As one of the earliest summer homes and hotels in the region, the Pavilion is considered one of the most important historic structures in the Adirondacks. The Pavilion is a critical link spanning nearly two centuries of Fort Ticonderoga’s history encompassing the stories of landmark preservation, the birth of American tourism, and monumental restoration.
In addition to the Sunsets and Secrets tour, visitors can immerse themselves in the epic history and incredible natural beauty at Fort Ticonderoga with several other richly informative and entertaining guided specialty tours this summer. Thrill at the power of artillery during the Guns by Night tour; enlist in the Continental Army in the To Act as One United Body tour; examine and handle original 18th-century weapons during the Beyond Bullets and Blades tour; and discover the first hammer blows of French soldiers in the Beneath Fortress Walls tour. Advanced reservations are required. To learn more about our specialty tours call 518-585-2821 or click here.