David Patrick likes to spend his time examining old documents and newspaper articles and connecting the dots.
“A lot of historical information has been lost or forgotten about as people have died,” Patrick said. “Many people today do not know much about the Town of Champlain’s history, yet there are hints all around us of what people did 100 or 200 years ago.”
To help preserve that history, Patrick has produced his 11th calendar focusing on Champlain.
“This calendar was one of the hardest to produce,” Patrick said. “There was so much information to collect and some of it was confusing as this information made mention of places that do not exist today.”
The 2013 calendar looks at the establishment of roads and bridges in the Town of Champlain, including the Village of Champlain, Rouses Point, Perry Mills and Coopersville.
“The earliest roads started out as footpaths between a few distant log cabins and over the years became streets and highways,” Patrick said.
He describes the establishment of Prospect and Chapman streets in 1797, as well as Lake Street, Lake Shore Road, Route 11, Route 9 and the roads to Canada.
Champlain had a sole bridge in town on Elm Street that Pliny Moore built around 1794.
In 1816, Benjamin Mooers petitioned to have one built in Coopersville.
“I discuss the building of these bridges as well as many later ones,” Patrick said. “I also describe how numerous floods and ice jams continuously destroyed the bridges over the Great Chazy River up to the early 1900s.”
Patrick created his first calendar in 2003, focusing on the Village of Champlain.
In 2007 and 2008 he examined the founding of the Town of Champlain.
Patrick spends hours determining which photos will fill the 13 spaces in the calendar.
“The 13 main photos have to be high quality and interesting,” Patrick said.
The essay for the calendar has evolved from 3 to 15 pages.
“This has allowed me to write about many different subjects that a calendar in itself would not normally have.
For the 2013 calendar, Patrick’s essay delves into the establishment of roads and bridges in town.
“We all see them, but no one has any idea what the history is related to them,” Patrick said. “I was able to compile this information from many different sources to come up with a timeline and story.”
After the Town of Champlain was founded in 1788 and elections were held in 1789, a town highway commission directed that roads and bridges be built and maintained.
The roads grew out of footpaths, but by the early 1800s, as the town grew, many roads were built.
“This essay will also look at the first wooden bridges built in town starting in 1794,” Patrick said. “I started this calendar on July 3 and ended in late October.”