Ticonderoga – Rise to Greatness
By Brenton Crozier
Part 1 of a 4 Part Series
Ticonderoga is a small town of 5,300 in upstate New York. It’s story isn’t a one-of-a-kind, that is, a town’s largest employer packs up shop and leaves a town, thus crumbling the local economy, stifling growth and setting the area into a cycle of hard times for years to come. But the resiliency and innovation of its residents is a story that never gets old.
A number of concerned residents decided to stay and fight for their town, to resist a mass exodus that could have rendered the town indefinitely stagnant . . . at best. They formed the Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance. The alliance has applied innovation, passion and old-fashioned hard work to make Ticonderoga a prosperous place once again. This story was brought to our attention by the alliance’s Chairman, Alex Levitch. Alex’s passion was infectious and the town’s story magnetizing. We knew that we wanted to share it with you.
“Rise to Greatness” is part one of a four part series. Be sure to visit every week in June for the continuing story.
The Ticonderoga Story – Part 1
Rise to Greatness
Ticonderoga, a postcard picturesque town of 5,300 souls in upstate New York, serves as the gateway to six million acres of the Adirondack State Park. Here, in the fabled North Country of James Fennimore Cooper and The Last of the Mohicans, is the birthplace of America’s best preserved pre-revolutionary fort. Here, between Lake George and Lake Champlain, is where North America’s political boundaries were defined.
The beauty and prosperity of Ticonderoga was not a secret; from the mid-nineteenth century and through the early twentieth century, America’s rich and famous were drawn to the region’s cooler summer climates and natural splendor. During these “golden years,” the town became a haven for artists and writers seeking exclusivity and serenity. The tourist boom encouraged and strengthened Ticonderoga’s fledgling industrial economy, which soon included a graphite mine and mill and a paper pulp mill, which employed more than half the town.
Over time, Ticonderoga became a household name for every student who used a “Number 2 Ticonderoga pencil” and studied the French and Indian and Revolutionary wars. In addition to its rich natural capital base, Ticonderoga began to boom in a scope disproportionate to its small size: its invested capital base soon included an airport, hospital, community college and historic Main Street.
The alliance has produced video interviews with residents and alliance members alike so that you can hear about their experience and fascinating stories first hand. It made sense to start with Alex. Below is part one of a four part interview. Visit the Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance website to watch the other three parts, the other interviews, amazing photographs and other features.
Interviews conducted and produced by Josh Clement. Contact Josh here.
Be sure to visit Monday, June 20th, for part 2, “Ticonderoga Today,” and don’t forget to visit their official website for other features, information and updates.