ROUSES POINT - Fort Montgomery has received its due.
The Civil War-era fortification was the center of attention last weekend as the Preservation League of New York State hosted Fort Montgomery Days in conjunction with the Rouses Point-Champlain Historical Society, America's Historic Lakes, Powertex and the property's owners, Stephen and Victor Podd.
Several state and local dignitaries were in attendance for the event, including former Clinton County Legislator Celine R. Paquette, who serves as the vice chairperson of the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Commission. Paquette commended the Preservation League of New York State for adding Fort Montgomery to its "Seven to Save" list, which annually recognizes historic properties in need of saving.
"I am so proud that this event is taking place during our Quadricentennial year and here on beautiful Lake Champlain," said Paquette. "For many years ahead, when we speak of Lake Champlain, people will look back on today and reflect on this event and the words that were spoken here today."
Tania Werbizky, a representative of the Preservation League of New York State, said the listing of the fort on the Seven to Save list affirms the state's commitment to restore the fort, which has been in structural deterioration for decades.
"What you're in today is a landmark property," said Werbizky, who credited the efforts of volunteers in cleaning up the property for the celebration. "A lot's been done and there's a lot more to do."
Stephen Podd spoke on behalf of the Podd family, also thanking volunteers for their efforts.
"This could have been another sleepy, quiet, sad day for Fort Montgomery, however, with an incredible amount of effort from everyone involved going over a period of months with the clean-up and planning of this event, this weekend is, in fact, a reality," said Podd. "We would sincerely like to thank everyone involved in that effort and for making this possible."
"We are focused, right now, on making those dreams a reality," Podd continued, "and we certainly believe with the active participation, the interest in everything going on, that this weekend is the rebirth of making Fort Montgomery, making it a publically-accessible place on an ongoing basis with real efforts made toward its restoration and stabilization."
The state recognition, added Podd, is the next step in preserving and preparing the property to potentially be sold to a public or nonprofit entity to further restore the fort.
"This fort is an architectural gem, it's a historical gem," said historian and author Jim Millard, who has given tours of the fort for several years. "It's something that is very, very special."