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Fort Edward NY - A Historic Town In Washington County of Upstate New York
"For the roots of the present lie deep in the past and nothing in the past is dead to the man who would learn how the present comes to be what it is."
Fort Edward has been strategically important during its long and illustrious history, for it commands the Hudson and Champlain Valleys. The Indians called the area around Fort Edward "Wahcoloosencoochaleva," which means "The Great Carrying Place," as the Hudson River is no longer navigable to the north. This unique location meant that the area was destined to be settled and fortified early.
As early as 1709 during Queen Anne's War, a stockade was erected in the area due to its strategic importance - only to be abandoned and then constructed again during the French and Indian War in the 1750s. Also at this time, a large military complex was constructed on nearby Roger s Island, which today is an historic site listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Today, Route 4 has replaced the old Indian trail as a gateway to New England. The Champlain Barge Canal, whose summit level is reached at Lock 8 in Fort Edward, currently carries a number of barges and pleasure craft. The Delaware & Hudson Railroad mainline passes through Fort Edward, which happens to New York City and Montreal on the Amtrak daily run.
These important transportation routes have facilitated the development of several industries that are operating in the area today. These industries include Scott Paper Company's packaged products division; Decora Corp., a producer of plastic products and contact paper; Pallet's Inc., a manufacturer of wooden pallets; Fort Miller Corp., a maker of a variety of products including concrete vaults and drainage receptacles; General Electric, which
A number of public service, fraternal, social and church-related organizations are active in Fort Edward, reflecting the town's civic spirit and citizen's concern. The Order of the Eastern Star, Masons, Knights of Columbus, Catholic Daughters of America, Lion's, Idle Hour Club, Chamber of Commerce and American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars are active in the community.
Fire protection has been present in the village since 1857 with the construction of the engine house which today is still owned by the village and leased as offices for a Federal housing program. Two volunteer fire companies remain - the George Satterlee Hose Co. #2 and the John R. Durkee #3 which is housed on, Broadway and also operates ambulance service to both Hudson Falls and Fort Edward with its facilities located on Schuyler Street.
Culturally, the Fort Edward Art Center housed in the historic (1842) Grace House I provides exhibit space for local artists. Classes are held periodically at the Center on a number of artistic topics. Also, the Fort Edward Historical Association owns, operates and maintains the historic (1772-73) Patt Smythe House as a museum of local history known as the Old Fort House. The museum contains a large collection of local artifacts as well as several buildings, archives and a research center. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Also of local historic interest, the Washington County Historical Society recently purchased for its headquarters the Wing-Northup house on Broadway constructed in 1815. The Society is developing an archive of Washington County history there to assist genealogists and researchers.
The late Fort Edward historian William Hill had a favorite quotation (currently hanging in the Old Fort House) that sums up the town's rich heritage and how it relates to its present lifestyle. It reads, "For the roots of the present lie deep in the past and nothing in the past is dead to the man who would learn how the present comes to be what it is."
What the future will have in store for Fort Edward ultimately will be determined by those of us present here today.