NORTH CREEK — Passengers and spectators alike were able to travel back in time via train Saturday during a reenactment celebration of one of the area and nation’s defining moments.
The Saratoga & North Creek Railway sponsored a weekend long celebration at the North Creek Depot, where exactly 112 years prior Vice President Theodore Roosevelt learned by telegram he was to be the 26th president of the United States.
Welcoming renowned Roosevelt reprisor Joe Wiegand for a series of events to commemorate the president’s history with the region, the day’s events including a replication of the 1901 ride on horse-drawn buckboard to the train depot, where Roosevelt learned President William McKinley succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained several days before. Roosevelt boarded the fastest train available at the North Creek station to begin his career and presidency.
“By that afternoon I was in Buffalo taking an oath in a borrowed suit to become the 26th President of the United States,” Wiegand said in historical character.
“This event especially poignant for us because this is local history on a national scale,” said Luisa Sherman, marketing and public relations specialist for the Saratoga & North Creek Railway.
The present day event also featured the arrival of The Leviathan Steam Engine, a much-anticipated debut of an exact replication of an 1868 steam engine of the same name. The original Leviathan was built in Schenectady, though this Saturday marked the first time its descendant puffed down a New York railway.
“It was so cool to see The Leviathan,” said 10-year-old Brian Dee of Queensbury, while waiting to catch his own train to Saratoga with his grandmother.
“Next time I’m riding that one,” he said.
Adults alike were impressed with the day’s historical authenticity.
“This has been delightful. The reenactor is charming and importance of Teddy Roosevelt for our nation and this area is just so important,” said Tracy Pariseau of Pelham, Mass.
“We have a cottage on Trout Lake, and just thinking of what Roosevelt did to preserve our national parks like the Adirondack Park — what’s available to us as a result of his history is priceless,” she said.
The festival continues through Sunday, featuring period music from the Canary Cottage Dance Orchestra and Old Tyme Barbershop Quartet, as well as vintage costumes, crafts, and children’s activities. Both Wiegand as Roosevelt, and The Leviathan steam engine will make appearances to highlight the day’s events.
“This has been like watching a really good memory from the past in action — very well done and put together,” said Maurice Eckard, visiting North Creek on vacation from North Carolina.