The National Trust for Historic Preservation defines heritage tourism as “traveling to experience the places, artifacts, and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present.”
Here in Lewis County, the Historical Society sits right at the center of heritage tourism locally – we work to define what parts of our North Country legacy should be more fully recognized, preserved and shared; we collect, preserve and exhibit materials and artifacts of historical significance; we support educational efforts for the preservation and enjoyment of Lewis County’s historic cultural and natural heritage; we encourage the use of historic assets for economic development and community revitalization; we work hard to enable people to experience and appreciate local historic resources through heritage tourism and education programs; we champion sustainable historic resource management strategies, with a focus on heritage tourism; and we are the folks to consult to identify cultural and heritage activities to participate in.
If you are interested in the history of Lewis County, of Tug Hill, or the Western Adirondacks or even the North County generally, before you go anyplace else, you might want to get ahold of us. If we can’t give you the answer directly, or put our hands on something for you to look at in doing your own research, we can generally always point you in the right direction.
What we have found here at the Lewis County Historical Society is that people are traveling more and more to experience places, artifacts and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past – particularly their own past. But they are often not sure where to start.
How do we know this: because we not only receive regular visitors and inquiries from our own County, but from counties all over New York State, Ft. Drum, Canada, all reaches of the Adirondacks, many of our 50 states, and even from overseas, particularly Europe. And we listen to why they have come to see us.
For many, turning to their family tree for inspiration has become the latest interesting way to plan a trip. We have had people through our doors who have travelled thousands of miles specifically to see where their great, great grandparents got their start – and to find out more about them and the area from which they carved out a life.
For others, they have come initially to our County for another reason – to experience and enjoy the outdoors, the mix of seasons, and the natural beauty of our area. Yet it doesn’t matter whether they are doing so by foot, bike, kayak or canoe, skis, power boat, ATV or snowmobile, or whether they have a fishing pole, a bow, a gun or a camera in their hands, what we find is that at some point many of them begin to get interested in the history of this area.
Still others are out-of-town second home buyers here for a season or two a year, or people coming up on retirement who are thinking about a retirement home away from the city or some other part of the world – and so too are many of them looking to learn a bit more about the area in which they are putting down new roots.
We love the traveler, the visitor, and the out-of-towner, whether here for the first time or the fiftieth. But lest there be any doubt, we do feel rather strongly about one thing: “there’s no place like home.” Whether you are cross-town or just up the street, in one of our neighboring villages or hamlets, up on the farm, deep in the woods, or living somewhere out in the lovely Lewis County countryside, we do love our locals.
It doesn’t matter whether you are eight or eighty, you too will find at the Historical Society that there’s always something new to learn or involve yourself with.
Regardless of who you are, what brings you to Lewis County or where in the county you’re from, the Lewis County Historical Society should be your first stop in exploring any interest in the history of this area.