Fort Ticonderoga Rededicates Green Replica of Building Lost in 1759

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Almost 250 years after Fort Ticonderoga was razed, a replica, renamed the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center, will be rededicated.

Credit: Fort Ticonderoga

In 1759 fleeing French troops burned down the magasin du Roi, or King's Warehouse, at Fort Ticonderoga, New York, to keep it out of the hands of British soldiers.

This weekend, Fort Ticonderoga National Historic Landmark will rededicate a replica of the building as the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center at Fort Ticonderoga. Architects hope the 15,200-square-foot center—which houses exhibits and meeting space—will earn a LEED rating.

"We hope to get a silver, which isn't easy because … we couldn't change the orientation of the building; we couldn't change the roof type," says Andrew Wright, principal at New York-based Tonetti Associates Architects, which designed the center. "But 18th-century buildings were pretty green to begin with." Completed in eight years, the $22 million center has geothermal wells for heating and cooling and masonry walls assembled with rocks from local quarries.

Green Scene icon"The newest 18th-century French building is a tremendous advancement in the fort's history and education," says Nicholas Westbrook, executive director of Fort Ticonderoga.

To rebuild the magasin du Roi, architects worked with the state historic preservation office, studied the original 1755 plans, and traveled to France and Canada to research French military buildings, noting details like stonework and mortar.

"It was vetted by what we called the 'brain trust' of people associated with or posessing knowledge of 18th-century French architecture," Wright says. "There were sketches; we used diaries."

Celebrating the 250th anniversary of the seven-year French and Indian War this year, Fort Ticonderoga is one of the oldest heritage tourism destinations in the country. Tourists traveled to the site on Lake Champlain as early as the 1830s.

The fort is also restoring its 1826 Pavilion, the last remaining 19th-century hotel for heritage tourists in the Lake George and Lake Champlain area. The Pavilion's restoration as a historic house museum is scheduled to be completed in the next five years.


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