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Hotel Champlain, Bluff Point New York 1909

The Tercentenary Celebrations on Lake Champlain

In 2009 the region celebrates the 400th anniversary of the discovery of Lake Champlain by Samuel de  Champlain. 100 years earlier, Vermont, New York and Quebec invited the world to come see and celebrate what the intrepid French Explorer had found— a rich and beautiful place which had been inhabited by native peoples for generations before. This is Part III of the story of those festivities.

By James P. Millard

Part III
Monday, July 5 at Bluff Point, Plattsburgh


"Meanwhile, at Plattsburgh Fraternal Day was celebrated by a parade in which Labor organizations and Granges were a feature, the latter, representing by a display of farming implements in historical sequence and floats the agricultural interests of the valley from the days of the pioneer to the present.

In the evening President Taft and party arrived at Bluff Point station where they were met by Col. Cowles and other officers of the Fifth U.S. Infantry and visiting regiments. Troop H of the Fifteenth U.S. Cavalry acted as escorts to the President and the British and French Ambassadors. At the hotel the guests gave the President a most cordial reception, after which he was entertained at dinner on the houseboat of Hon. W.C. Witherbee where the President's son and daughter with their cousins, were the guests of Mrs. Witherbee and the younger members of that family."1

Crowd assembling at Ticonderoga, July 6, 1909

Tuesday, July 6 at Ticonderoga

"At Ticonderoga, where fell, one hundred and fifty-one years ago this day, [1909] brave Lord Howe of cherished memory, the principal celebration took place. The Presidential party were received at the "Pavilion," the old Pell mansion on the lake shore, and at the Fort were shown the Fort Ticonderoga Ruins in 1909West Barracks, lately restored through the munificence of Col. Robert M. Thompson, father of Mrs. Stephen H.P. Pell. Addresses were made on the great plain below the fort by Governors Hughes and Prouty, followed by President Taft. The historical address was by Hamilton W. Mabie."2

President Taft touring the ruins at Ticonderoga    Taft speaking at Ticonderoga    President Taft touring the ruins at Ticonderoga  
President Taft at Fort Ticonderoga.
July 6, 1909
(click on thumbnails to see large image)

It was raining heavily when President Taft arrived at Ticonderoga the morning of the 6th. Yet, troops were reviewed, another "sham battle" took place, and the President and other distinguished guests took the time to inspect Fort Ticonderoga, then undergoing complete restoration. Lunch was served aboard the steamer Ticonderoga. At the culmination of the day's festivities, Taft and party went by steamer to Port Henry where they boarded a special train for the return to Plattsburgh.

 Continued here...  



2 Ibid.

3 The Champlain Tercentenary: Report of the New York Lake Champlain Tercentenary Commission.1911:Prepared by Henry Wayland Hill, LL.D., Secretary of the Commission. Albany: J.B. Lyon Company, State Printers.

LA GRANDE SEMAINE:  FÊTES DU TROISIÈME CENTENAIRE DE LA DÉCOUVERTE DU LAC CHAMPLAIN. 1909: RÉDIGÉ PAR J.-ARTHUR FAVREAU. Secrétaire de la Société Historique Franco-Américaine. Worcester, Massachusetts: Compagnie De Publication Belisle.

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