LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On a sunny Wednesday afternoon, the community of Lake George came out smiling. A new building erected at the top of Battlefield Park along Fort George Road was unveiled, and will serve dual purposes – as both a visitors center, and a museum of some of the history of the park, and the lake.
“The building that was here – known as the Ramsey House – was more than a century old, and there was debate over whether we should tear it down and save it,” said Lake George Park Commission Chairman Ken Parker. “Any conversation about saving it from the people who had worked in it was negative. It was just an old, old, tired, replaceable building. This building will stand for the next century, and go on beyond all of us.”
Parker was one of several speakers in front of the new building, a modular structure shipped to Lake George in six sections. Its top floor is a visitor center, run by the Lake George Park Commission – a state agency that makes countless decisions regarding the safety of the lake.
The bottom floor is something different. Battlefield Park was the stage of significant battles in the Revolutionary War and the French & Indian War. Starting in 2000, archaeologist David Starbuck led a long series of digs in Lake George, unearthing arrowheads, gun parts, and any number of other remnants of how the park got its name.
“If we didn’t think this park was incredible before he started digging, once we started doing actual archaeological studies here, the things that came to the surface were so spectacular,” said former Lake George Battlefield Park Alliance President Lynne Holman. “Unfortunately, they were all housed down in the New York State Museum; not that I don’t love the New York State Museum, but the people up here never got to see them.”
That all changes now. Many items from Starbuck’s digs are safely in cases on the visitors center’s bottom floor, along with plaques running through the timeline of Lake George’s place in history. Wednesday also served as the historical center’s opening day.
New York State Senator Dan Stec, a Queensbury local, came to Wednesday’s event with a plaque and a message. He announced a declaration honoring former Lake George Park Commission Chairman Bruce Young, who passed away in April. Young was the longest-serving chairman the organization has had. The dual-purpose nature of the building was Young’s idea, and speakers in attendance mourned that he could not be in attendance to see it completed – but celebrated it all the same.
“I was here when the foundation was laid, and I’ve been through here many times,” said Stec. “I think it’s a great vision that Bruce had.”
A representative from New York State Parks & Trails attended, to present Battlefield Park Alliance President John DiNuzzo with a $7,500 check, to go towards paying for staffing for the visitors center.