The Pavilion was built as a summer home in 1826 by William Ferris Pell and is considered one of America's earliest summer homes. Pell 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 while traveling 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 to be a significant historic structure in its own right. The strucuture's history is considered additionally significant as part of its role with Ticonderoga's landmark preservation story dating to the 1820s and considered one of the earliest efforts in America as well as its role in the fort's monumental restoration story, again, considered the earliest of its kind in America. 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.
The Pavilion's story has been documented in an historic structures report completed in 2015 conducted by well-known preservation architect, John G. Waite. Dendrochronology was conducted in 2014 which identified beams dating as early as the late 17th century and 18th century.
The restoration and adaptive re-use of the Pavilion is underway thanks to generous private donor and foundation support, a grant from New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) as well as major support from New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and Empire State Development (ESD) as part of their Arts & Cultural Facilities Improvement grant program.
The restoration project expected to be complete in 2020 will save a national treasure while expanding Fort Ticonderoga’s capacity as a national cultural destination. The future Pavilion will include needed visitor amenities, conference center capacity, and new educational and exhibition space.
Among specific plans for the restored Pavilion:
• Dedicated exhibit space to tell the story of 200 years of preservation and restoration efforts across the site, and the rich decorative and fine arts collection.
• Re-establish the Pavilion as a place for visitor welcome, offering new amenities including indoor and outdoor dining facilities, museum retail and restrooms. New space for programs, special events, conferences and meetings will offer opportunities for rental and food and beverage revenue. The Pavilion operations will also support Fort Ticonderoga’s new maritime program, including tours aboard the Carillon, a 60 ft. tour boat.
• Create a teaching kitchen and new culinary programs that will connect Fort Ticonderoga’s gardens and produce with centuries of international history and hospitality and respond to a growing demand for culinary experiences and training. Students will also have the opportunity to dig deep into the site’s rich agricultural story and carry their experience into the teaching kitchen to learn about healthy eating in the past and today.
• Expand the space available for museum collections and research by bringing key administrative staff to the center of operations by relocating offices currently housed at Fort Ticonderoga’s Thompson Pell Research Center to the second floor of the Pavilion.
To learn more about how you can support this important initiative contact Beth L. Hill, President and CEO at email@example.com or call 518-585-2821.