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Innkeeper’s Blog

Warrensburg

2/17/2020

A Historical Overview of Warrensburg

During the 18th century, the diverse landscape surrounding Warrensburg was a vast impassable wilderness with beautiful lakes, pristine waterways and rolling mountains. The Adirondack region was often a hostile environment and served as the backdrop to both the French and Indian War (1754-63) and the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). After the Revolutionary War, homesteaders and entrepreneurs from the lower Hudson Valley and Connecticut moved to the area. This region was a frontier settlement and everyday life existed between savagery and civilization. 

In 1813, the town of Warrensburg was formally established from the Town of Thurman, located east of the Hudson River. The last three mile stretch of the Schroon River - Warrensburg's eastern boundary - drops 70 feet in elevation before emptying into the Hudson River. This made the Schroon River ideally suited for building three damns providing hydropower for local sawmills and grist (grain) mills. The early settlers possessed a rare combination of courage, independence, sacrifice, trust, and grit. Despite the constant presence of adversity, hardships and discouragement, their vision and perseverance and strength of character laid the foundation for this small but growing town. And soon, local government was formed, public and private infrastructure was developed, industry and manufacturing was created, and business and commerce was established.

Midway through the 19th century, forests were a major resource in North America, particularly in the Adirondacks region. Imagine the natural ecological diversity - the enormous land mass filled with beautiful original old growth - that existed in the forests of upstate New York. Lumbermen would tell stories about the countless large pines standing over 250 ft (25 stories) tall with stumps seven feet in diameter. The demands of both American and European commercial ventures quickly exploited the regions natural timber and lumber resources. The forest trees were cleared (white pine, poplar, spruce, hemlock and balsam mostly) and sawmills and timber transportation became the primary sources of work.

Later in the 19th century, Warrensburg was at the height of its expansion and industrial growth in mills, factories, and the tannery. Due to the increasing industrialization of America, the rapid growth of our nations cities, and the environmental and political impacts associated with forest degradation, the utility of the forest region around Warrensburg became known less for its logging value, and more for its - esthetic value. Warrensburg’s quickly adapted to this new found industry called - tourism. When the general public arrived, major changes in transportation started happening. Local trails and dirt roads were replaced with plank roads made of pine or hemlock timber 3” to 4” thick. The Schroon and Hudson Rivers provided the water route for moving goods and materials and the plank road connecting Glens Falls, Lake George, Warrensburg, and Chestertown provided the land route for moving people and products around the area.

Early in the 20th century, Warrensburg reached another turning point. The arrival of automobiles spawned new roadways, highways, freeways and unlimited mobility. Tourists quickly changed from taking long-term vacations in one place to enjoying shorter, more frequent stays throughout the Adirondack region. Many of the towns mills and factories closed and Warrensburg became a “Gateway Town” with resorts, hotels, motels, boarding houses and dude-ranches opening along-the-route (Route-9N) to the Adirondacks.

By the end of World War ll, Americans were eager to live a different kind of life - a better, less serious life. This fostered the development of recreational facilities providing a myriad of activities such as canoeing, rafting, boating, camping, fishing, hiking, skiing, golfing, shopping and amusement parks. Warrensburg welcomed the inevitable transformation from an industrial-based community to a tourist destination known as the Queen Village of the Adirondacks.”

Today - over 200 years later - Warrensburg remains a small residential (non-industrial) tree lined community of proud, hospitable, and hard working people; it's home to about 4,000 residents. It’s a quiet, scenic village, where visitors can experience what the beautiful Adirondacks has to offer each season. It’s a family-friendly destination where visitors are always welcomed to stay at nearby hotels, motels, lodges, and B&Bs. Enjoy breakfast and lunch at local diners, spend a nice quiet evening out for dinner at one of our fine-dining restaurants, or just grab a cup-of-coffee and good conversation after the days activities. And if the weather’s bad, spend some time inside visiting the Warrensburg museum. If the weather's beautiful, get outside and have some family fun at Echo Lake’s Morrey Stein Park & Beach and visit the Warrensburg Fish Hatchery while you’re there. Hike some well marked and traveled trails at Hackensack Mountain and Pack Forest, go canoeing, kayaking or tubing on the Schroon and Hudson Rivers, have a picnic and play tennis, basketball or softball at the Warrensburg Recreation Field. Or, get up early and hit 18-rounds of golf at Cronin’s Golf Resort.

As a visitor to our town, we encourage you to visit the Warrensburg Museum of Local History and learn about the local lore, the artifacts, the personal heirlooms, photos and letters, the distinctive stories as written, spoken and handed down by those living in Warrensburg’s past. Our history matters to us because it influences and shapes our community today. Our history will matter to you because learning about the people of Warrensburg’s past - the harsh conditions, the political, social and economic aspects of their rustic lives - teaches you a lot about the spirit of our little piece of the Adirondacks and our uniquely American history. Plus, you'll be rewarded with a deeper visceral connection to Warrensburg’s heritage, providing you with a richer, more gratifying vacation experience here in the Adirondacks - we promise.


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