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Former Lake George battlefield site preserves history as park

Summer on Lake George

Former Lake George battlefield site preserves history as park

Picnicking on the past
Former Lake George battlefield site preserves history as park
A monument of William Johnson and His Mohawk Ally King Hendrick at Lake George Battlefield Park in Lake George on Thursday, June
Photographer: Erica Miller

You might want to double check where you spread out your picnic blanket next time you’re in Lake George Village.

For decades, local families have grilled burgers or hosted birthday parties on the Lake George Battlefield Day Use Area, or Battlefield Park, near the waterfront in the village. The location was the site of a military camp in 1755’s Battle of Lake George during the French and Indian War. From 1755 to 1783, the spot housed a hospital and supply base during the American Revolution and now it’s a popular site for recognizing the area’s vast history.

The park is now home to four Lake George monuments and a memorial, including statues commemorating a Mohawk warrior, Saint Isaac Jogues, William Johnson, King Hendrick and a memorial for four “unknown soldiers.”

ERICA MILLER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER  
Picnic area at Lake George Battlefield Park in Lake George on Thursday, June 20, 2019.ERICA MILLER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER
Picnic area at Lake George Battlefield Park in Lake George on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

The 1921 Mohawk warrior statue honors the Native Americans who lived in Lake George before Europeans arrived, the Jogues statue honors the first European who saw the lake and the Johnson and Hendrick statue honors the name originator — who named the lake after King George — and his Mohawk ally. 

The memorial for the four unknown soldiers is another popular site in the park. It surfaced after a road crew found four skeletons of colonial soldiers in 1931. The men were believed to have died during the Bloody Morning Scout in Lake George, were reburied in a 1935 ceremony and have a wreath lay next to them each Memorial Day. Local volunteers recently remodeled the location of the burial.

Archaeologists have unearthed campsites and building foundations in the area, as well, dating back to the French and Indian War. A foundation near the location of the unknown soldiers is believed to be that of a blacksmith.

The site, maintained by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, even with its vast history, is now used for its public grills, rentable pavilions and numerous picnic tables. 

But park visitors, whether they’re biking by or going for a stroll, still have the opportunity to recognize the lake’s past.

More: Your guide to summer on Lake George

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