One hundred years ago the commemoration events for Hudson, Fulton and Champlain highlighted breakthrough technologies and celebrated the 20th century advances of flight and electricity. Today, the Hudson River-Lake Champlain Corridor is a global center for new technology, transportation and commerce.
The 1909 celebration was a catalyst for scenic, natural and historic preservation. In the Hudson River Valley, Bear Mountain and Harriman State Parks were established. The property that is now Crown Point State Historic Park on Lake Champlain was conserved and Fort Ticonderoga was restored to its historic magnificence. Celebrations also featured noble monuments and a re-examination of our regional heritage.
Today, the Hudson and Champlain valleys are the places that sustain us. They help us examine the meaning of place, and our relationship to the earth and the water. These landscapes support us and contribute to who we are as a people.
This sense of place will guide us as we prepare for 2009. The 1609 arrival of Champlain and Hudson was a fulcrum in world history. The subsequent actions of their explorations directly and definitively altered the lives of Native Americans, Europeans and peoples from all continents of the world. Modern traditions of freedom and dignity were born and shaped here. A lasting corridor of commerce grew with the construction of the Champlain Canal in 1823, linking the river with the lake. Trade bound these regions together and made these waterways a gateway to the rest of the country. The influx of new immigrants and ideas caused nature and culture to flourish, inspiring artists from all media, including painting, music, literature and dance. Conservationists of this region inspired others to mirror their innovations, setting national precedents in conservation of the environment.
Today, the Hudson River and Champlain valleys continue to serve as starting points for new ideas, technology and practices. We hope to encourage this legacy of innovation as we set the stage for 2009 and dream about the future 100 years from now.