Queensbury, a town of about 25,000 residents, offers a mix of retail, recreation and tourism-related opportunities for visitors.
The town, which is the seat of county government, surrounds the city of Glens Falls on its eastern, western and northern borders, and is a gateway to Lake George visitors traveling north on Route 9 from Northway exits 18, 19 and 20. The town bumps up against Lake George on the lake's southeastern shoreline.
Queensbury is home to Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom, a 140-acre amusement park, as well as the adjacent Six Flags Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Waterpark.
Just south of Great Escape on Route 9, miniature golf courses and go-cart tracks compete for motorists' attention.
Shopping venues include Aviation Mall, with Target, Sears, J.C. Penney and Dick's Sporting Goods among the anchor stores just off Northway Exit 19, and five outlet plazas, with stores ranging from Timberland to Brooks Brothers along Route 9 north of Exit 20.
West Mountain Ski Center to the west of Exit 18 features lighted skiing and, in the summer and fall, mountain biking with specially equipped chairlifts helping on the way up.
The paved Warren County Bikeway, which winds from Glens Falls through Queensbury to the village of Lake George, provides a scenic (and somewhat challenging) way to see the region. Two ice-cream shops, one in Queensbury and the other in Glens Falls, offer refreshments for parched pedalers along the trail.
The town is host to several inviting public parks, including the 12-acre Hovey Pond, located off Route 9 between Lafayette Street and Glenwood Avenue. The park features a trout-stocked pond with fishing platform, floral gardens and a 200-foot-long elevated wooden walkway that extends into a marsh area. The 44-acre Hudson River Park, at the end of Big Boom Road off Exit 18, offers boat access to the Hudson River, as well as a softball field, basketball court, children's play area, picnic pavilion and cookout sites (swimming is prohibited). The Gurney Lane Recreation Facilities represent the largest of the town parks with more than 125 acres. On site are a large outdoor swimming pool, a picnic pavilion, picnic and cookout facilities, a 1.3-mile educational nature trail and a small trout-stocked pond.
Although now known largely as a shopping and tourism hub, the town has a long history.
During the French and Indian War, the Colonial Army marched through the town from Albany, building a road as it marched in 1755, according to the town's official history. Abraham Wing and a group of 31 Quakers purchased a patent to establish a township of 23,000 acres in 1762, with most of the log homes, saw mills, grist mills, quarries and roads concentrated in the southern part of the town, which is now the city of Glens Falls.
In 1848, a plank road was built between Glens Falls, then a village, and Lake George, and that opened the region to becoming a resort area. In 1908, the city of Glens Falls was incorporated, separating it from the town of Queensbury.
Floyd Bennett Field, an airfield named in honor of a local pilot who flew Admiral Byrd to the North Pole, opened in 1928 on land that became the campus for the Queensbury school system. The county airport is now in the eastern part of the town near the border of Warren and Washington counties.
The town's many commercial and housing developments flourished following the opening after the Northway (I-87) was built and Quaker Road was finished in 1961.
Beyond its stores and tourism-related operations, the town's business base includes several prominent medical device manufacturers, including C.R. Bard Inc. and AngioDynamics.
- Source of historical details: Marilyn Van Dyke, town of Queensbury historian