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Former school now a museum

TICONDEROGA - On July 1, 1927, the steam ship Sagamore left Ticonderoga's Baldwin dock in heavy fog. It never reached Lake George village.

The 223-foot ship, capable of carrying 1,500 people, struck ledges near Anthony's Nose and began taking on water. It was quickly navigated to Glenburnie in the town of Putnam where it was purposely ran aground to prevent its sinking.

Local residents mounted a rescue effort, using row boats to get passengers ashore.

Photos of the event are part of Putnam's history now on display at the refurbished and renovated Church School.

Located next to the Putnam Presbyterian Church at 365 Co. Rt. 2, the museum opened this summer. Open noon to 3 p.m. on Sundays through Columbus Day, it features artifacts, written histories and pictures of Putnam's history.

The museum collection was obtained and organized by the Putnam senior citizens club.

"It's really been a great project," said Katherine Gosselink. "People think seniors don't do anything but play bingo. Well, we do more. This has been a lot of work, but it's been very rewarding."

Owned by the Putnam Presbyterian Church, the Church School was one of seven one-room schoolhouses in the community before Putnam Central School was organized in 1928.

The third of three Church Schools, the current building was constructed in 1880 and had fallen into disrepair.

Tom Cummings led the building restoration effort that was completed Oct. 6, 2008. The building was then turned over to the senior group.

"All seniors have boxes of pictures and papers they're saving," Gosselink said. "We thought they would make a great collection for a museum."

With that idea work started.

"Since this is an old schoolhouse we decided to display the history of Putnam the way a teacher would present it to a class," Gosselink said. "It was more work that anticipated, but I think it turned out very well."

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