The Queen's fort, later renamed Fort Ann, was an important northern defensive outpost for the English in the early decades of the 1700s. At the close of the Seven Years War in 1759, the area began its transformation from remote frontier to a processing center in Philip Skene's 56,000 acre Skenesborough settlement.
Fort Ann's numerous creeks and streams provided ample water power for milling. Kane's Falls, powered by Halfway Creek, supported grist, woolen and saw mills. The timbers for the American Fleet of 1776, built at Whitehall, were milled at Kane's Falls. So much corn meal was ground in Stephen Palmer's ca. 1815 West Fort Ann gristmill, the crossroads there is still called "Johnnycake Corners."
The Saratoga & Whitehall Railroad served Fort Ann starting in the 1848, following the canal that had been in operation since 1819. These transportation corridors enabled town participation in a broad trade network stretching hundreds of miles in all directions. Locally manufactured sash & blinds, timber, wool, meal, and iron were shipped Boston, New York, Chicago and Canada.