The town of Lake George has an interesting history. Lake George is a long narrow Lake that was nicknamed the Queen of American Lakes. The lake is located in the Adirondack Mountains at the southeast base. The lake itself is within the upper region of the great Appalachian Valley and is situated along the historical path between the St. Lawrence and Hudson Rivers. The lake is over 32 miles long and is quite deep at spots. The year-round population of the town of Lake George is relatively small however in the summertime it does drastically increase.
The lake itself drains into Lake Champlain via the La Chute River. Along the 70 mile rivers course there are many rapids and falls and a drop of over 230 feet. At the end of the 106 mile long journey via the Richelieu River from Lake Champlain to the St. Lawrence River the waters finally empty out into the North Atlantic Ocean. Originally the Native American Indians called the lake Andia-ta-roc-te. In the narrative Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore he called the lake Horican. James use this name because of an Indian tribe that lived on the lake and he also found that the name Andia-ta-roc-te was too hard to pronounce.
Samuel de Champlain was the first European to come into the area and he noted the lake’s existence in one of his journals. The lake was later named by a French Canadian Jesuit missionary who also named the exit stream La Chute. When British colonial forces occupied the area during the French and Indian war it was renamed to Lake George in honor of King George II. Throughout the following decades the lake continued to be a key strategic point for various troops and this was especially true during the American Revolution.
It is interesting to note that Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to his daughter where he said that Lake George was the most beautiful water without comparison. He mentioned the contour of the majestic mountains that flowed into a basin with an inter-disbursement of islands. He said that the water was limpid as crystal and that the mountains were covered with rich groves completely down to the water’s edge. At various points there were precipices of rock to prevent the scene from being monotonous.
During the latter part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century this beautiful area was a popular spot sought out by many famous artists such as John F. Kensett, Martin Johnson Heade, E. Charlton Fortune, and Georgina O’Keeffe. The lake was situated halfway between Montréal and New York on a rail line and this attracted many of the rich and famous at that time. People such as the Rockefellers, Roosevelt’s, Whitney’s, Vanderbilt’s, and many others visited this beautiful area. During this unique time in history there existed the Fort William Henry Hotel which has since been converted to the Lake George Village. There are many wealthy private country estates scattered throughout the lake area.
Lake George is accessible by air from the Albany international Airport or by car via Interstate 87. Today the town of Lake George remains a vibrant resort center, tourist destination, and summer colony. There are many popular activities in this area throughout the year and it is well worth a visit.