Visitors to this past weekend's "Trekonderoga" Star Trek convention in Ticonderoga, New York, got to tour a near-perfect replica of the original series set, housed in a building downtown. Now thanks to a gift from the wife of an heir to the Mars Candy fortune, that building will become the set's permanent home.
James Cawley, a Ticonderoga native and Star Trek superfan, is behind the set replica and also the internet series Star Trek: Phase II, in which he formerly played Captain Kirk.
"There's a ridiculous number of tourists that go through here who are always looking for something to do other than Fort Ticonderoga and/or the lakes," Cawley told Vermont Edition Monday. "And you know, you'd be surprised how many of them are Star Trek fans."
Cawley says Star Trek was "one of those childhood passions" for him, adding that he "always wanted to be a part of the show" and that desire to experience it firsthand eventually led to the creation of the replica set.
"It speaks to so many people that once we did build the set, the thrill of being able to share it with so many, you know, like-minded, kind, terrific people was just an amazing thing to feel," he says.
Cawley said he wanted for the set to be located in his hometown, expressing a desire to contribute to Ticonderoga's downtown community.
The ability to give the replica a permanent home is thanks to a unique partnership. A monetary gift made to the Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance was intended for Cawley as a loan to buy the building, he explains — so now as Cawley pays back the loan to the alliance, that money can again be dispersed to other parties.
"It's a win-win for the community," he says.
As far as what lies ahead for Star Trek attractions in Ticonderoga, Cawley has some ideas.
"We're always looking at different ways to add," he says. "There's a couple of other sets from the series that we would like to realize in the future. You know, we're talking about maybe doing a Star Trek bed-and-breakfast to connect to the tour, to make it even more of an event.
"You know, there's no limit really. I mean, there's no limit to your imagination, so that's kind of my philosophy."
Broadcast live on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017 during the noon hour; rebroadcast during the 7 p.m. hour.