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The Secrets of Crab Island by James P. Millard

The Secrets of Crab Island

By James P. Millard

Just outside of Plattsburgh, NY, south of Cumberland Bay and north of famous Valcour Island there sits a small, heavily wooded limestone isle. Fairly unremarkable in appearance, it has all that one would expect to find on one of the many islands in this deep and lovely lake- rocky shores covered with shale, mixed forests of conifers, maples and oaks, and great bunches of poison ivy growing profusely in the few open patches between shore and forest.

(Click for map)

Click here to see a large size image of the Crab Island MonumentYet, tiny Crab Island is different from many of its better-known sister islands. One of the keys to its difference lies in the small clearing on the northwestern shore- here one can find a tall granite obelisk, surrounded by a rusting fence. The monument does not tell why it stands- the bronze plaques that once adorned its sides are gone. The mighty granite eagles adorning each face have had their heads broken off by vandals. The large granite blocks have gaping holes where mortar once held them together.
click here to see the stone chimney at Crab Island

Continuing our walk along the western shore, we notice an opening in the woods. To our right, leading down to the shore, is a large concrete ramp. It stops just short of the water's edge. Returning to our path, we notice a large stone chimney entangled in thick brush and trees. Closer observation shows the chimney culminates in a large fireplace set within the foundation of what was some sort of building. From the looks of this, it may very well have been a substantial structure.

Click here to see an eagle from the Crab Island monument. Click here to see the concrete ramp leading down to western shore of Crab Island Click here to see the southwestern shore of Crab Island Click here to see the old ice house- sole remaining structure on Crab Island Can this be a clue to one of the secrets of Crab Island?

Might this be one of Crab Island's secrets?

A little further south one can find a small shed, not much bigger than an outhouse- the sole surviving building on Crab Island.

Beyond this shed, there is a clearing with other signs of human activity. It is obvious someone has worked here on the island clearing the thick brush and poison ivy. Within this recently cleared area, the careful observer will notice a concrete pad, encircling a dark patch that appears to be soil.  This pad is, in turn, surrounded by other, less prominent concrete sections. Each has a severed steel cable attached to it. Here we find the island holds yet another of its secrets.

Continuing down the Trillium and Jack-in-the-Pulpit bordered path we finally reach the southwestern shore. The shore is littered with sharp and jagged rock- shale and limestone- harboring more mystery.Click here to continue on to Part I

Crab Island has many tales to tell. The monument, ramshackle shed, the concrete pads in the clearing, and even the rocks on the shore are clues to its secrets.

These are the Secrets of Crab Island...

On November 11, 2002, Crab Island was featured in a WPTZ/Lake Champlain Basin Program Champlain 2000 feature story. Unfortunately the video and story are no longer available online.

Visiting Crab Island...
Crab Island is publicly owned land- the property of the people of New York. It is also a very special, unique place that merits respect and consideration. Keep in mind the island is covered with Poison Ivy. It is also the home of protected fauna and flora. Look, but do not touch. Metal detectors and digging are strictly prohibited on the island.

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