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Lake Horicon & Lake Champlain

In preparing for one of next year’s themed programs here at the Ticonderoga Historical Society ~ “Two-Hundred Years of Steam boating” ~ this writer located a small publication in our library, “Lake Horicon and Lake Champlain.”  It was published in 1858 and written as a travelogue.  Although quaint in its writing it provides the reader of today with an insight to the state of development and commerce of the mid-nineteenth century about these two lakes.  It also provides a sense of how this area in history and place  was marketed to a growing traveling public.  Note:  Edited for printer errors, clarity and documentation.)


Map of Lake George (Horicon)

Map of Lake George (Horicon)

(Lake George*)

Eighteen miles from Saratoga Springs, on the way to Lake Horicon, are Glens Falls.  These are a considerable curiosity.  The fall in the Hudson (River) is about fifty five feet, which affords a vast amount of water power.  The Plank Road from Moreau to Lake Horicon and the Saratoga and Whitehall Railroad, crosses the Hudson at these falls.  The Glens Falls Feeder, 11 miles long, connects the river above the falls with the Champlain Canal near Sandy Hill. (Fort Edward)  The road from Glens Falls to Caldwell, (Lake George Village) at the Head of Lake Horicon, passes near Bloody Pond.  This is near the place of action between Col. (Ephraim) Williams and Gen. (Baron de) Dieskau, in (1757) and into this pond were thrown the bodies of those killed in the battle.  Hence its name.

Caldwell is delightfully situated at the south west end of the lake, and contains about two hundred inhabitants.

This place is much resorted to in summer, by travelers and parties of pleasure.  A fine new boat was built here in 1857, (Minnie Ha Ha) which runs regularly to and from the outlet of the lake at Ticonderoga, connecting with the steamboats on Lake Champlain.  Every lover of fine and picturesque scenery should not fail during a northern tour, of passing over this lake, the most beautiful of any on this continent.  Near Caldwell village, at the south end of the lake, are ruins of Fort Wm. Henry, and about a mile further to the south-east are those of Fort George.

Bloody Pond

Bloody Pond

Lake Horicon is so nearly connected with Lake Champlain, both locally and historically, as to be as a part of it.  It was visited by (Samuel de)  Champlain in 1609, and it might appear doubtful, from his own statement, whether it was not this lake that he gave his own name.  Succeeding French writers, however, confined the name of Champlain to the larger of these lakes, and called this Lake St. Sacrament, on account of the purity of it(s) waters.  The Indian name was Horicon.  Mr. (Horatio Gates) Spafford, in his (A) Gazetteer of (the State) N.Y. (1813) says that, the natives called it Canideri-oit, or the tail of the lake, on account, probably, of its connection with Lake Champlain.

Lake Horicon is 36 miles long, and from 2 to 3 miles wide, and is elevated 243 feet above the tide waters of the Hudson.  The scenery around this lake is very much admired.  The most interesting points of view are at Fort George, at a place north of Shelving Rock, 14 miles and at Sabbath Day Point, 24 miles from the head of the lake.  The last view is taken southward; the others towards the north.  This lake abounds with small and beautiful islands, among the most important of which are Diamond Island, Tea Island and Long IslandRoger’s Rock or Slide, and Anthony’s Nose, the former on the west and the latter on the east side, are two precipices worthy of note.  Howe’s Landing, (Baldwin Road, Ticondeorga)  just behind an island (Prisoners) at the outlet of the lake, denotes the spot where the unfortunate expedition of (Gen. James) Abercrombie landed, and derives its name from Lord Howe, (George Augustus, 3rd Viscount) who accompanied and fell in that expedition, in 1758.