The Ticonderoga Historical Society will host its annual Festival of Trees this December at the Hancock House. This marks the 21st year for the holiday tradition, which features a festive display of trees decorated by local businesses, organizations, families and individuals.
The Ticonderoga Historical Society will host its annual Festival of Trees this December at the Hancock House.
This marks the 21st year for the holiday tradition, which features a festive display of trees decorated by local businesses, organizations, families and individuals.
“The trees are on exhibit on all four floors and provide a magical feeling to the Hancock House,” said June Curtis of the historical society.
A highlight of the month long event is the Hancock House open house Sunday, Dec. 11, 1 to 3 p.m. The open house gives visitors a chance to see the trees and exchange holiday greetings.
“The historical society offers this event to say thank you to all its members and friends in the community, volunteers and visitors for their support throughout the past year,” Curtis said.
“Please stop in to say hello, gather with your friends, listen to beautiful holiday music in our parlor and enjoy scrumptious homemade goodies as we celebrate the season together,” she said. “Enjoy the sights and sounds with us in a warm and festive atmosphere. Tour our magnificent building to view the many beautiful trees, make a stop in the Post Office Gift Shop to fill your Christmas list and take pleasure in the spirit of this wonderful time of year.”
During the historical society’s open house Dec. 11, Ticonderoga Arts — located in the downstairs of the building — will be open.
“The winner of our 50/50 raffle will be chosen,” Curtis said. “We’ve been told that Santa may stop by to visit those who have been not naughty, but nice. And as we did last year, we plan to have another gift basket raffle.”
Ticonderoga’s Hancock House, earlier known as the Headquarters House, is a reproduction of the Colonial Mansion built in Boston from 1737-1740 and occupied by John Hancock, president of the Second Continental Congress and signer of the Declaration of Independence.
It serves as home to the Ticonderoga Historical Society.
The Headquarters House was erected in 1926 and presented to the New York State Historical Association by Horace A. Moses, a native son of Ticonderoga, to further the interest of the people of northeastern New York and the Lake Champlain and Lake George valleys in history and the fine arts.
According to the Hancock Museum literature, the house was constructed as a replica of the John Hancock home which stood on Beacon Street in Boston and which was demolished in 1863 to make room for a new wing of the State House.
John Hancock, a Revolutionary patriot, was a rich Boston merchant and his home was one of the finest of Colonial mansions.
Entering through the front door, one cannot help but notice the magnificent staircase that has three different designs of spindle used on each step, with intricately carved newel posts. A splendid specimen of Georgian architecture, this building was faithfully executed from the measured drawings made by John Sturgis before the original was destroyed, and it would be fireproof. The exterior, made with Weymouth granite, have survived well the atmospheric and weather conditions, which have lent a happy effect to the stones, causing color changes of greens, pinks and a warm gray.
The museum holds many cherished and priceless antique rarities for visitors to see. The first of these are the original paintings hanging on the walls. Portraits of New York governors were commissioned and executed for the City of Albany through the term of Charles Evans Hughes. Since Governor Hughes’ days, the Herbert H. Lehman and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt portraits have been added through anonymous gifts to the association.
From Chippendale chairs to old sleighs, the three storied building holds many conversation pieces. The fanciest of sleighs is a an elaborate two-seated sleigh with a raised coachman’s seat of the type used in the latter part of the 19th century and was loaned by the Ticonderoga Pulp and Paper Company. It was manufactured (c. 1875) by Golder & Post, carriage makers in Newark, N.J., from 1842 to 1887.
Completely furnished rooms down to the clothing, lie in waiting. Some people have rented space for photographs, others come to visit and learn of the history of this foreign land. The museum is the locale for the archived Ticonderoga Sentinel, which is on microfiche. Valuable records of history lie within these walls and a gift shop holds something for everyone. The only year round history bookstore for miles, the gift shop offers books for adults, students and youth.