Hamilton County — The Hamilton County Bicentennial kicks off April 12, 200 years to the day after the provisional creation of the county in 1816.
“This is an important watershed for Hamilton County. In an age of accelerating urbanization, when rural areas are in decline across America and beyond, it is nothing short of remarkable that our community continues to thrive,” said Hamilton County Historian Dr. Eliza Jane Darling. “I hope all those who love Hamilton County will join us in celebrating our unique way of life on the occasion of our Bicentennial.”
The year of events gets started at 10:30 a.m. April 12 with a birthday party for the county, held at the County Courthouse in Lake Pleasant. State Sen. Hugh Farley and Assemblyman Mark Butler will join other officials on the steps of the courthouse for a ceremony promptly at 10:30, so guests are asked to arrive early. A small reception with birthday cake will follow, and Darling will offer tours of the historic county complex.
At 11 a.m. that day, schools, churches and firehouses across the large county will make a joyful sound in honor of the county’s birthday. The county is asking members of the public who wish to participate and ring their own bell to video it and send the footage to Darling, who will put together a montage to be posted on the Bicentennial website.
The just-launched Bicentennial website, www.hamiltoncountybicentennial.org, includes information on the history of Hamilton county and its communities, as well as the schedule of events and a page for contributions to the fundraising effort. The website also includes a digital guide that may be browsed online or downloaded as a PDF. A printed version of the guide will be available at libraries and museums throughout the county.
Other Bicentennial events include the Hamilton County History Fair in August and a Bicentennial Bash in October.
The 200-year anniversary also includes a traveling exhibit featuring 200 images of Hamilton County history. The exhibit will be featured at traditional events across the county including Durant Days in Raquette Lake, Old Home Days in Wells, and the Moose Festival in Indian Lake. All full schedule for the exhibit is available on the Bicentennial website, and those wishing to host it should contact Darling.
Posters and postcards featuring the Bicentennial event schedule will be available at chambers of commerce, information and tourism offices, and local businesses. Bicentennial banners will also be hung at locations cross the county beginning Memorial Day weekend.
Funds are still being raised to make it a memorable and celebratory Bicentennial. Anyone wishing to make a donation may do so through the website or by sending a check or money order to Hamilton County Treasurer, 102 County View Drive, Lake Pleasant, NY 12108. Supporters will receive a gift of 12 vintage-style postcards featuring historic images and be listed among supporters on the Bicentennial website.