Members of American Legion Post 912, Rouses Point, raise new flags at Paquette Park on Main Street in the village of Champlain Aug. 20. A U.S. flag was donated by the post and a P.O.W. flag was donated by Woodmen of the World Lodge 462, Champlain.
The village of Champlain has marked the milestone of some improvements to Paquette Park.
The park, located on Main Street along the Great Chazy River, became the new location for a plaque and stone containing a time capsule assembled in 1938 to commemorate the founding of the village. The plaque and stone were located previously on the corner of Church and Main streets on property owned by Phillip Peyette, where the village offices were formerly located.
“Mr. Payette gave us permission to move the rock and plaque from his property, so our [Department of Public Works] crews moved it, took the plaque off the stone, shined it up and reattached it,” said Mayor Gregory Martin.
The small, copper box time capsule that was found inside the stone was removed and will be kept in the village office for safekeeping until it is opened on its intended date of Aug. 20, 2038.
However, a few additions were made for the future unveiling of its contents. A copy of the program and speeches of the day, a 1938 postage stamp and coin, and a special edition of the North Countryman will accompany the time capsule opening ceremony 27 years from now.
“Some people wanted to open it now, but we’ve already waited 73 years. What’s another 27?” said Martin.
Another focal point of the day’s event was the arrival of the Jehudi Ashmun plaque and boulder, which was recently moved from the former Champlain Central School. Ashmun was born in Champlain in 1794, and after years of teaching became active in the American Colonization Society.
According to Celine R. Paquette, director of the Samuel de Champlain History Center and speaker at last Saturday’s ceremony, the group was dedicated to returning freed slaves back to Africa. In 1822, Ashmun and his wife sailed to Liberia, and remained there for 6 years where he asserted a new, democratic form of government. He became known as the “Father of Liberia.”
“To think we had this person here in Champlain [is a privilege],” Paquette emphasized in her speech.
“I think the park looks really nice today,” said Martin. “The DPW did a really nice job ... and anything we can do to draw attention to our downtown is beneficial for us.”
Among the attendees were distinguished members of the American Legion Post 912 Gerald Mayo, Al Strack, Carl LaFontaine and Don Demars that initiated the ceremony by raising two new flags donated by the Woodsmen of the World Lodge 462 and the American Legion. Various members of the Champlain Town Board and Champlain Village Board, along with the Rev. James DelBel of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, and historical author David Patrick were also involved with the celebration.
It was announced three War of 1812 panels will also displayed this September. Patrick said they will be set up at the Pliny Moore Estate, which was used as the headquarters for the American Army in 1812; and the stone farmhouse, which was used as a British commissary in 1814; and Paquette Park.