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New York merchant William Ferris Pell bought what remained of the crumbling fortifications and nearly 550 surrounding acres in 1820. Pell’s grandson began restoring the fort in 1909, making it one of the nation’s first historic preservation projects.

The fort was a major tourist attraction through the 20th century. Annual attendance has topped 100,000 12 times since 1980, but began to decline steadily after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Attendance dipped to fewer than 71,000 in 2009.

Last year, attendance rebounded slightly to 71,200, and fort officials are optimistic they’ve turned things around. The fort’s finances have been stabilized and the organization is debt-free, Paine said.

“We’re very pleased with the leadership Beth has brought to the scene,” he said. “Things are definitely looking up.”



Fort Ticonderoga: