Many residents of Plattsburgh pass by the towering Macdonough Monument every day without giving it a second glance. It has become almost a natural part of the landscape for people in the area, and today serves as an invaluable hub for the community to gather around. But for Steven Engelhart, it is much more than that; for him, the monument is a glimpse into history, with a storied past that goes well beyond just the Battle of Plattsburgh. Not only does it commemorate one of the most significant events ever to take place around the city and the lake, but the construction and design of the memorial is itself a testament to the cultural attitudes of our region in centuries gone by.
Steven grew up right around here, learning about the many layers of local history that the region is so fortunate to have, and which are much broader and more complex than simply our significance in the War of 1812. He has devoted time and effort to educating others about the intricacies of our past, and how they connect to the modern era. One of these connections presents itself quite clearly, in the form of a hundred-foot tall obelisk in the middle of downtown Plattsburgh, which can remind us every day of the societies that preceded us, if only we stop for a minute to look.
Overview written by Maxwell Schaefer
Steven Engelhart is the Executive Director of Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the regional historic preservation organization of the Adirondack Park. AARCH's mission is to promote better public understanding, appreciation and stewardship of the region's built environment. Among AARCH's many activities are: sponsoring a series of tours of historic places during the summer and fall; conducting workshops; giving slide presentations on a variety of subjects; publishing a Newsletter; staffing Camp Santanoni, and providing technical assistance to individuals, organizations and local governments. For more about AARCH, see www.aarch.org.
Steven is a native of the region and has a bachelors degree from SUNY Plattsburgh and a masters degree in historic preservation from the University of Vermont. He is the author of Crossing the River: Historic Bridges of the AuSable River, a small book about bridges and local history of the AuSable Valley. He resides in Essex.