Where did that street name come from?
As we begin Ticonderoga’s yearlong 250th Settlement Celebration we thought it would be appropriate to dig into the town’s historical records and write about some of the lesser known, under written, or “I always wonder about” bits of historical recordings of its people, or places, or things and events which took place sometime along our first 250 years.
Champlain’s Fight with the Iroquois at Ticonderoga (1609)
Today Ticonderoga has under 200 officially named public and private by-ways. In the alphabetic sorting of those by-ways the first would be Abercrombie Street and ending with Woody Lane. In between there are names like Burmbaugn Road, Coates Point, Iroquois Street, Prince Taylor Path and Veterans Road.
Some of the earliest settlers may have given local names to their roughly hewn tracks through the old forests; however, it is through survey maps that one can document the beginnings of those first town street names. It is from one of those early sub-division survey maps of Alexandria (Upper Village) dated 1808 by William Cockburn (from the original 1764 land grant to Lt. John Stoughton) – that we find the first named streets at that place: Bridge, Water, Church, George and Forge.
“Upper Falls” section of the 1877 map showing the “new” village lines
The next reference we present comes from a nineteen year old Ticonderoga student, Joseph Cook, when he was writing his historical record of Ticonderoga in Home Sketches of Essex County – Ticonderoga published in 1858. While writing about the area known as the Lower Falls section of Ti he had difficulty speaking about the places at this location as there were no street names, so he “originated names” in the following manner: “the street running a little west of north from the Fair Grounds past the Brick church, lawyers offices, Hotel, we shall call Main Street. The one beginning at the storehouses and boat-yards on the creek, rising past the lower grist mill and machine shop, crossing Main Street at right angles, and extending through Weedsville into Trout Brook Valley, we shall name, from its principal building and the the mercantile and boating business done on it, Exchange Street. On the North Side of the creek, running from the hotel of James Tefft past C. Bugbee’s Store to the Village School house on account of the trees that fringe the foot of Mt. Hope, we have Elm Street. Water Street, if you please, is the road along the shore of the Creek from J. Tefft’s to the foot of Cottage Hill; and there, past the Cold Spring through Gallows Gate, to the old French Lines we ought to find Battle Street, on account of the military engagements that have made every foot of that road historic ground. As indicating the direction of the lumber woods towards Schroon and of the black lead mines, and as being the entrance thence to the Village, we shall name the North and South road at Weedsville corners, Forest Street. Joseph then goes on to write that for Exchange Street, “we are obliged to divide into its three natural sections, the upper or Weedsville; the central, from the bridge along the centre of business to the Machine Shop Hill, and the lower section from the foot of this hill to the docks. Upper, central and lower, correspond to the height of the ground.”
Insurance Map 1906 showing location of N. Main St. & Elm St.
Section of Ticonderoga’s “Lower Village” Published 1876
The next major street naming event occurred in 1933, at the height of interest to promote Ticonderoga as an important historical community. Spear headed by a local citizen committee that included members of the New York State Historical Association (Headquartered at the Hancock House) and the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution fifteen streets were re-named to “recall the history of Ticonderoga.” Those re-named were: Exchange St. to Montcalm St., Howe St. to Lord Howe St., William St. to Champlain Ave., Main St. – from the intersection with William St. to the south Village line to The Portage, Butler Ave. to Amherst Ave., Frederick St., to Calkins Place, River St., to Schuyler St., Bridge St., to Alexandria Ave., Charles St. to St. Clair St., First St., to Algonquin St., Second St. to Father Jogues Place, Third St. to Iroquois St. Prospect Ave and Prospect St. to Wayne Ave., and Grand and Myott Streets to Putnam St.
Gen Arthur St. Clair – served in the British and American Armies
In the early part of the next century there was another major street name change when the town approved their “Enhanced -911 program.” This however, will be told in another installment.
Our Gift Shop has available two excellent local history books, in hard cover reprint form: Cook’s “Home Sketches” (1858) and THS’ “Ticonderoga – Patches and Patterns from its Past” (1969) that provide a good general history of the town.
If you have a question about this subject, or have another interest, please pass them on to us and we will attempt to answer them in future articles.