Bicentennial Days

An eventful week, July 10, 1976:

Not quite as thrilling when it arrived July 6 with flags flying and bells ringing, the experience of seeing the New York State Bicentennial Barge leave on its journey to Plattsburgh was still exciting.

By 5a.m. July 8, the barge was at Lock 12, battened down, waiting for its escorts, Governor Cleveland and Governor Roosevelt, and a small houseboat to be locked through. Then, accompanied by the tug Waterford, the barge itself almost completely filled the lock, with just a short space between the deck and the bridge above.

After leaving the lock, the 250-foot barge was picked up by the two tugs and went down the channel. Its blue, orange and red colors soon became blurred as it rounded the curve and went into Lake Champlain. It will be seen here again as it passes on its way to Fort Edward for a stay July 17-18.

The colonial history of New York State was delightfully told in panels, pictures and objects. Colonial Skenesborough was mentioned as an important colony north of Albany. One of the many grants of Skene’s lands was singled out because he received it for war service, as did the neighboring grantees. His saw mill and blockhouse were copied from the Anburg picture. This section of the barge journey took it through the early Revolutionary War arena.

The visit of the barge coincided with the chamber commerce’s annual Old Home Week. Added to it were Celebration ‘76 activities and those of the firemen companies. Volunteers for these activities have been many. Untold man-hours of time and labor were spent to provide a week of worthwhile entertainment and fun. It’s great to see a successful event but, unless one is a part of the preparation process, he does not realize the planning, the times of anxiety, the money necessary to provide even the barest necessities for such a program.

The organizations that provided this event have no great source of income. What there is has been used for the benefit of the town and village — and the demands-’ are many, even from those who are not members. Workers are needed. It is hoped that “volunteers” would volunteer, not wait to be searched out and asked. Whitehall and its affairs belong to its inhabitants and friends who should make it a good place to live, and not just “let the other fellow do it.”

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – The Whitehall Times – July 15, 1976