French & Indian War re-enactors, Legionnaires and a bagpiper lead Warren County officials into the Old County Courthouse in Lake George for the signature celebration of the county’s Bicentennial held June 12 in Lake George Village, where local government matters were conducted for about 150 years.
With flourishes of pageantry and pride, nearly 200 people formally celebrated Warren County’s bicentennial in a ceremony June 12.
The event, featuring a staged meeting of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, was held in the municipality’s historic headquarters, the Old County Courthouse in Lake George.
To begin the session, Warren County supervisors were ceremoniously marched into the courthouse, led by French & Indian War re-enactors, a county American Legion color guard, and a bagpiper.
Conducting the meeting was Warren County Board of Supervisors Chairman Kevin Geraghty, who welcomed the audience that filled the well-preserved brick courthouse. Outside, dozens watched the proceedings on closed-circuit television.
County American Legion Post Commander Gene Pierce led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Legionnaires presented an 1813 American flag to county officials.
Lake George Deputy Town Supervisor Vincent Crocitto noted Lake George’s role in history, recalling Thomas Jefferson’s famous letter to his daughter which read in part, “Lake George is without comparison — the most beautiful water I ever saw.”
Crocitto introduced Lake George Mayor Robert Blais, noting he was the longest-serving mayor in New York State.
“We need to preserve Warren County for the next 200 years,” Blais said, noting that area citizens should be stewards of the region’s environment on behalf of future generations. “For 200 years, Warren County, and all of our lakes in Warren County, and particularly Lake George, is synonymous with fun, recreation, history, pleasure and pristine quality.”
Lake George Town Board member Marisa Muratori recounted a brief history of Warren County since the French & Indian War, as well as a historical account of the Old County Courthouse, and how it was saved from impending destruction.
“We do love our very rich history here in Warren County, where momentous nation-building events took place and great inventions of science and the arts were inspired,” she said.
“We care for our heritage,” she continued, noting the building’s preservation. “The evolution of this building demonstrates that as a collective, a democracy, with effort and intent, the best of our values can prevail.”
North Warren High School Student Christiaan Van Nispen read an award-winning patriotic essay he penned. His speech drew a parallel between our democracy and human anatomy — how various bodily elements work together symbiotically for a greater purpose. He said the U.S. Constitution was the backbone of the government, and U.S. citizens provided the pulse of the democracy.
“We the people must keep our government in check to maintain our nation’s homeostasis, “ he said.
The event’s featured speaker, state Historian Robert Weible, said that there was no better place in the U.S. than Warren County to study history.
“You have an important story to tell here, not only local history, but state and national history as well,” he said. “If you truly feel this history and take pride in it, you can change the future.”
Glens Falls actor Wesley Ecker portrayed Lake George settler James Cadwell — speaking about the life of the historical figure, a successful merchant, importer and manufacturer in both Warren County, who once owned and operated the nation’s largest manufacturing complex in the Albany area. Ecker, posing as Caldwell, recounted his role in developing commerce in the region, as well as speaking of details of his personal life.
The Warren County Bicentennial plaque was unveiled by Geraghty and Joan Sady, Clerk of the county Board of Supervisors. The plaques are to be presented to each of the county’s municipalities.
Bolton Supervisor Ron Conover commented on the gravity of the celebration.
“This has been one of the major events in our county’s history,” he said.
County Administrator Paul Dusek added his thoughts.
“It’s quite a privilege to be county administrator during this time period,” he said.
The ceremony concluded by four French & Indian War re-enactors firing musket shots into the sky above Lake George.