Scenic USA - New York

Champlain Memorial Lighthouse

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Champlain Memorial Lighthouse - Crown Point, New York

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

Champlain Memorial Lighthouse - Lakeside view    Serving as a border between northeastern New York and Vermont, Lake Champlain has been an important waterway since its discovery by Samuel de Champlain in 1609. As the lake narrows to the south, key points were fought over in efforts to control lake bound traffic during the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War. One of the keys, a narrow half mile channel between New York's Crown Point and Vermont's Chimney Point, was protected by the French at Fort St. Frederic.
   Following the Revolutionary War, an increase in lake traffic prompted a 1938 report emphasizing the need for a lighthouse. It would take another 20 years before the first Crown Point Lighthouse to be lit. The blue limestone tower featured a 5th order Fresnel lens and remained in service for 50 years. Lakeside Viewpoint - Champlain Memorial Lighthouse, New York
   Looking for a way to honor the one who discovered Lake Champlain, a commission was established to plan a tri-centennial event beginning on July 4, 1909. A suggestion surfaced in a local newspaper spelling out a plan to convert the Crown Point Lighthouse into a memorial to Samuel de Champlain. Completed in time for the celebration, the memorial is one of the most unique and decorative lighthouses in the country. Surrounded by eight Doric columns, and topped with an ornate cornice, parapet and lantern room, the memorial surrounds the original interior brick and spiral staircase. A bronze sculpture, depicting Champlain, a Huron Indian and French soldier, was designed by Carl Heber. Famous French sculptor, Auguste Rodin, also donated a bronze bust. Gearing up for another celebration, the site began a restoration project in 2004 Old Crown Point Bridge - demolished in 2009for the 400 year anniversary of Champlain's discovery. Now surrounded by a park and campground, plans included repair of a lakeside covered pier and restoration of the lighthouse itself. Built in 1929, the nearby Crown Point Bridge eliminated the need for a lighthouse. Only one of two bridges that cross Lake Champlain, the Crown Point (Lake Champlain) Bridge was closed in 2009 for safety reasons. Opened on November 7, 2011, the new (replacement) Lake Champlain Bridge reconnects Crown Point and Chimney Point, Vermont.

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