Local News

July 17, 2009

Estes House will become Visitors Interpretive Center

Estes House will become Visitors Interpretive Center


A ceremonial key presentation will be held at 4 p.m. Monday, July 27, at the Estes House. The public may attend.

Anyone interested becoming a docent or trained Visitors Center volunteer can e-mail Don Papson at 561-0277 for information.

CHESTERFIELD — The Estes House in Chesterfield will be turned into a Visitors Interpretive Center.

The historic structure has been donated to the town by Ausable Chasm and will also serve as an exhibit area for the North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association.


While the town will own the building, it's a situation where three organizations are working together for the good of the area, Chesterfield Town Supervisor Gerald Morrow said.

The town will maintain the structure itself, while the Underground Railroad organizes volunteers to staff the site, and Ausable Chasm takes care of lawn maintenance and provides water and sewer.

"It doesn't get any better than that, Morrow said.


Although the North Country is often said to be lacking diversity, Don Papson, president of the North Country Underground Railroad Association, argues emphatically that such is far from the truth.

"There's been diversity here since the beginning, and people need to know that."

His passion for history is the main reason he became the primary researcher and founding member of the Underground Railroad Association.

"When I learned that Governor Pataki had set aside some money in order to encourage the promotion of the Underground Railroad history of all of New York, I started getting really interested," Papson said.

He became engaged in local history, unearthing a past deeply ingrained in diversity.


The 19th century Estes House was originally owned by Civil War soldier Herbert Estes, and some of the exhibits to be housed there will be based on the narratives of the abolitionists and slaves who searched for freedom along the Champlain line of the Underground Railroad.

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