TICONDEROGA — The director of Ticonderoga's community-preservation group has agreed to take the lead on the project to recreate a historic French sawmill next to LaChute Falls.
The project has languished for the last two years without a leader, but PRIDE Executive Director Sharon Reynolds said this week that she's taken it over.
She said a subgroup of the Ticonderoga Economic Development Committee has been talking for more than two years about the possibility of constructing a replica 18th-century French sawmill on the original site.
"As a member of the group, I stepped up and said I'll lead the project, coordinate meetings, get everyone around the table and ultimately be the applicant to apply for grants through the town."
DATES TO 1756
The French sawmill was built along the north bank of the LaChute River in 1756 to cut timbers for use in the construction of what was then Fort Carillon.
That sawmill was located near the site of what would become the Joseph Dixon Ticonderoga Crucible Pencil and Graphite Factory.
The mill was partially destroyed in July 1758. It was further burned by the French before the British took the fort in late July 1759, renaming it Fort Ticonderoga.
The idea of recreating the sawmill as a tourist draw was first presented by Robert Pell-deChame to the Ticonderoga Quality Destination Committee, established by the Lake Placid-Essex County Visitors Bureau.
"It's an idea which I have never let go of for more than 25 years," Pell-deChame said. "This is something I feel would be great for Ticonderoga."
Now a candidate for town supervisor, he has since left his vision in the hands of the Destination Committee, which is working on the preliminary research for the project.
Earlier this month, members of several organizations met with James Kricker of Saugerties, owner of Rondout Woodworking and a member of the Timber Framers Guild.