Port Henry firefighters James Hughes (left) and Ronald Nesbitt Jr. hold up plans they used to construct an ice shanty for a fundraiser. The 6-by-8-foot wooden shanty will see service on frozen Lake Champlain next winter.

PORT HENRY -- Members of the Port Henry Fire Department thought building a four-person ice shanty to use in fundraising was a terrific idea.

"We've been working on this for a month," 2nd Assistant Fire Chief James Hughes said. "One of our members had the idea, I found plans, and we built it."

Hughes said he used plans drafted by his father, A.F. Hughes, in 1961.

"My father wanted to design an ice shanty. He handed down the plans to his sons."

The ice shanty was the brainchild of firefighter Ronald Nesbitt Jr., who thought that with ice fishing so popular in the area, raffling it off would raise money for the fire department.

"We got the materials, and we got to work on it," he said. "We built it in the back of the fire station. It has four holes to fish from, benches on both sides for four people or more, and runners to help get it out on the ice."

The shanty also has working windows and space for gear and even a small portable heater.

Working on it with Nesbitt were firefighters Al Bowen, Jack Waldron, Phil Huchro, Shawn Leary, Michael Hughes Jr. and Chief George Daly.

Construction took some time, James Hughes said.

"If I had be a carpenter for a living, I'd starve."

They painted it red when it was completed, and George Edwards won it during a drawing at the department's annual fish-fry fundraiser.

"We'll do it every year," Nesbitt said. "We're hoping for success. It's our first try."

The materials cost about $450, Hughes said.

"The guys pulled together. They did an incredible job."

The shanty's new owner can start enjoying his acquisition as soon as Lake Champlain freezes solid next winter, he said.

"All you need are your poles, bait, a bucket, an auger, and you're good to go."

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