Fort Edward is strategically located where the Champlain Canal joins the mighty Hudson River. The present Village of Fort Edward was called “Wahcoloosencoochaleva”, or The Great Carrying Place” because it was the starting point of a portage between the Hudson River and Lake Champlain. The Great Carrying Place became a most important strategic military base of operations throughout the 18th century. Rogers Island is the site of one of the most significant historic settlements of the French and Indian War. Together with the adjacent fort on the mainland, the site became the staging ground for invasions northward into French Canada by the British and Provincial troops who would eventually drive the French out of New France.
Thousands of troops encamped in and around Fort Edward, most notably on the banks of the Hudson River and on the “Great Island” later known as Rogers Island. Fort Edward became the third largest city in colonial North America. Although the fort itself was in ruins during the Revolutionary War, Fort Edward remained strategically located on the Great Military Warpath and troops garrisoned in the remaining barracks on the Island.
In modern times, Rogers Island remains the centerpiece for heritage tourism initiatives. The State is presently in the process of protecting 17 acres with the intent of utilizing it as a heritage preservation area and public park. The eastern portion of Rogers Island has been the setting for several major archeological investigations and the site for the Rogers Island Visitors Center. Redevelopment of the Island as a tourist destination is an important component of the village and town’s community and waterfront revitalization efforts. A joint endeavor between the town and village to define a community vision for the future of Rogers Island was completed in 2009. The Vision Plan illustrates the present and planned projects along the waterfront and how the Rogers Island river corridor “fits” into the national, statewide, and regional planning strategies. Fort Edward completed the rehabilitation of the historic D&H Train Station in 2009. Not only does the restoration provide a significant historic asset, but also provides facilities for train passengers.