About 10 miles west of Westport  and Lake Champlain  on Route 9N lies Elizabethtown, the Essex County seat. Settled in 1791 by pioneers from Vermont , Elizabethtown was at first known for its lumber mills and later for its resort hotels.
In the town’s center on Court Street (Rte. 9N) is the Essex County Court House, where the body of abolitionist John Brown lay in state on the way to burial in nearby North Elba. His wife and other members of the funeral entourage spent the night at the town’s Deer’s Head Inn while four young men from the village stood guard over the body.
Today, the courthouse features a mural of Brown speaking in his own defense at his 1859 trial in West Virginia. Another mural depicts Samuel de Champlain firing his arquebus at the Iroquois.
Housed in a big old schoolhouse on the edge of town, the laid-back Adirondack History Center (Court St./Rte. 9, 518/873-6466, www.adkhistorycenter.org , 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat. and 1–5 p.m. Sun. June–Oct., adults $3.50, seniors $2.50, youths 6–16 $1.50) corrals an enormous hodgepodge of exhibits. A re-created log-cabin kitchen and artifacts from an iron mine take up one floor; on another is an exhibit on the Iroquois and displays pertaining to the lumbering industry.
A light-and-sound show offers some perspective on the French and Indian War, while Adirondack guide boats, early farm implements, antique bobsleds, and a roomful of dolls tell their stories of everyday life.