It’s easy to picture Theodore Roosevelt on horseback riding through the western plains or atop an elephant on Safari in Africa, but did you know he also had an affinity for The Adirondack Mountains?
In fact, it was at the North Creek Train Depot where he found out that President McKinley had died from an assassin’s bullet and that he, himself, was about to become the 26th President of The United States.
Roosevelt and his family vacationed in the Adirondacks when he was a child and he returned with friends and colleagues as a young adult. His first published pamphlet focused on the region and was titled The Summer Birds of the Adirondacks in Franklin County. This was a Catalog of birds observed primarily around the Saint Regis Lakes in the Adirondack Mountains between 1874 and 1877. Roosevelt co-wrote the pamphlet with his friend and former classmate Henry Davis Minot.
Theodore Roosevelt is often considered the “conservationist president.” His legacy of conservation is found in the 230 million acres of public lands he helped establish during his presidency. Much of that land – 150 million acres – was set aside as national forest. Roosevelt was also the first president to create a Federal Bird Reserve, and he would establish 51 of these during his administration. These reserves would later become today’s national wildlife refuges, managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Today there is a national wildlife refuge in every state!
During Roosevelt’s administration, the National Park System grew substantially. When the National Park Service was created in 1916, seven years after Roosevelt left office, there were 35 sites to be managed by the new organization and Roosevelt helped create 23 of those.
On September 13, 1901, Roosevelt and his party were resting on the shore of Lake Tear of the Clouds when a local man, Harrison Hall, climbed the mountain to bring the message of President McKinley’s grave condition to Roosevelt, leading him to cut his trip short.
Roosevelt arrived at the North Creek Train Depot at approximately 4:45 am on September 14, 1901. He was breathless and mud-splattered from the wild ride down the dark mountain on a horse-drawn buckboard. Upon hearing the devastating news of President McKinley’s passing, he immediately boarded the train to Buffalo, New York where he was to be sworn in.
The North Creek railway station has remained almost completely unaltered since the day it was built in 1874. The entire complex, consisting of the depot, the freight house, roundhouse, tool house, turntable, and horse barn, is remarkably intact and provides an interesting record of railroad history along with a comprehensive photo display and video of Roosevelt’s time in the region.
The Gore Region is rich with historical significance just waiting to be discovered. You can learn more about Teddy Roosevelt, his ties to the region and his epic ride to destiny at the North Creek Depot Museum.
Free parking is available at the complex off Main Street, just one block from Route 28. After visiting the Museum, you and your family can enjoy the picnic facilities or visit one of the fine dining establishments in The Gore Region.
The 2020 season at the museum will be opening very soon! Check their website for details: http://www.northcreekdepotmuseum.com