Ticonderoga Fort Ticonderoga will return to its roots — literally — during its 104th season.
The fort, which opens Friday, May 17, will focus on the events of 1755. That’s the year French soldiers began construction of Fort Carillon, today’s Fort Ticonderoga.
“Fort Ticonderoga becomes Fort Carillon this year,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga CEO and president. “Visitors to Fort Ticonderoga will be immersed in the year 1755 when French soldiers began the construction of the fort. Situated in what was considered New France, people can explore the first year in the fort’s life and discover how the Revolutionary War and an unprecedented restoration project turned this remote French outpost into America’s Fort.
“Our programs this year will reflect life at Fort Carillon and the experiences of New France,” she said. “It’ll reflect the life of a French soldier at the time.”
Fort Ticonderoga now features a specific year of its history each season. Last year it reflected 1775 and the year before 1759.
“This allows us to keep our programs fresh and gives visitors a reason to come back every year,” Hill said. “The experience is always changing. No other historic site in America highlights a specific year every year.”
That approach seems to work. More than 70,000 people visited Fort Ticonderoga in 2012. Paid attendance was up 6 percent. Program revenues were up 36 percent. Membership in the Friends of Fort Ticonderoga group increased 38 percent.
“We’re really seeing success across the board,” said Hill, who took over at Fort Ti’s leader three years ago when the site was struggling financially. “The (financial) turnaround has happened. Now we’re focused on sustained growth.”
Fort Ticonderoga has several new features this summer.
A new exhibit, “It would make a heart of stone melt — Sickness, Injury, and Medicine at Fort Ticonderoga,” looks at medicine at the 18th Century fort.