Lake George’s Railroad Station Granted Landmark Status
From 1882 to 1958, visitors to Lake George from around the nation would arrive at the railroad station near the Fort William Henry Hotel. From there, carriages would take some up the bluff to the hotel; others would board the steamboats that would ferry them to hotels and landings down the lake.
Their Fay Bowen, Gar Wood and Elco launches would also arrive by train, ready to be launched from the submarine railway opposite the station.
Now the station that the Delaware and Hudson Company built in 1912, after the original was demolished in 1911, is slated for landmark status.
Earlier this spring, the New York State Board for Historic Preservation recommended that the station be added to the State and National Registers of Historic Places.
That recommendation has been adopted by New York State and forwarded to the Keeper of the National Register in Washington, said Ruth Pierpont, the state’s Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation.
Once approved, it will be added to the National Register, said Pierpont.
The building is owned by the Lake George Steamboat Company, which purchased it from theme park developer Charley Wood in 1961
According to the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, a listing on the State and National Registers can assist owners in revitalizing the structures, making them eligible for various public preservation programs and services, such as matching state grants and state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits.
But winning eligibility for grants and tax credits was not the Lake George Steamboat Company’s motive for seeking landmark status for the train station, said company president Bill Dow.
“Our pride in the heritage of the Lake George Steamboat Company motivated us to seek recognition from the State and National Historic Registers,” said Bill Dow, the president of the Lake George Steamboat Company. “In 2008, the Mohican was granted that status as the oldest continuously licensed passenger vessel in the United States. In 2011, the marine railway near the foot of the lake was added to the Registers. The Lake George Steamboat Company represents America, or the America of the past, as few companies do. We feel a responsibility to honor that past by preserving our legacy.”
When the Delaware and Hudson built the train station in 1912, it also owned the Lake George Steamboat Company, which was chartered in 1817.
In 1896, the company acquired the Fort William Henry Hotel, and when the hotel was reconstructed after the fire of 1909, the new station was built in a compatible architectural style so that both would be part of a coherent complex.
According to the New York State Board for Historic Preservation, the station “is related to the various Mediterranean Revival styles popular in that era, with features characteristic of the various eclectic Spanish and the Italian modes. The principal interior space, the waiting room, retains its barrel-vaulted ceiling, while the building retains its historic internal spatial configuration. It is among the last surviving features of what was, in the 1910s, a sprawling transportation and resort complex operated by the Delaware & Hudson Company, one which serviced Lake George’s thriving tourist industry.”
While officials in Albany and Washington may prize the building for its associations with the gilded age, when Lake George was known for its great hotels and grandiose mansions, many local residents value it for other, more personal associations.
When Lake George Village was a mecca for college students in the 1960s, the Station was among the liveliest nightclubs in town.