Resource for Historians, Educators, Students and Visitors since 1997
By James P. Millard
NOTE: This material is provided as a public service. America's Historic Lakes is not affiliated with the
To the casual visitor the small town of Crown Point, New York, may seem to be just another pleasant hamlet. As one passes through this area, it is easy to dismiss the signs pointing east toward the lake to the Crown Point State Historic Site. For the peacefulness and quiet beauty of this area, belie the fact that at one time Crown Point was one of the most important places in Northern New England.
Literally carved out of the wilderness, Crown Point was a virtual hub of activity. Standing on the lakeshore at a place where the waters of the lake came close together-this place was the center of civilization for the white man in the area. Accessible only by water, the place was fortified first by the French in 1734. They referred to this place (both sides of the lake) as Pointe à la Chevelure. This impressive fort— Fort St. Frédéric, was by 1742, the strongest work held by the French with the exception of Quebec. Until 1759, Fort St. Frédéric was the seat of French power on the lake. To learn more about Fort St. Frédéric, click here.
After the French left the Crown Point in that year, destroying their fortifications behind them, the area became the center of British activity on Lake Champlain. General Jeffrey Amherst built the fortress shown on these pages- a very expensive undertaking for the Crown. This impressive bastion- though never completely finished- was to be 3 to 4 times larger than the French fort, and would eventually become possibly the largest British fortress in colonial America. The entire fortification complex, including redoubts, blockhouses and redans, covered over 3.5 square miles. This place- midway between Albany and Montreal, became the center of communication between New York and Canada. For an in-depth history of Crown Point, click here.
Plan of the fort and fortress at Crown Point with their environs. With the disposition of the English Army under the command of Genl. Amherst encamp'd there 1759.
Entrance to the fort
Bake oven re-creation
Across parade ground
Another wall view
One of the main reasons the ruins at Crown Point are so compelling (aside from the major historical significance of the place) is that the site appears to be reasonably unaltered by the ravages of time, the elements, and modern-day humans. Recently, however, we have noticed subtle changes to the site- the bake oven recreation is a good example. It may or may not be an authentic replica of a colonial bake oven, yet we hope that changes and additions to the grounds are kept to a minimum. Crown Point, in addition to being a site of great archaeological significance, is, after all, the final resting place of countless colonial soldiers and settlers. We respect the fact that others may differ with us, but our opinion is that this very special place should remain pristine; without modification beyond what is necessary to preserve the ruins.
This series of photos shows in detail the impressive stone barracks.
A third barracks structure was never finished, little of it remains today.
These photos were all taken from within the barracks.
More information about Crown Point on America's Historic Lakes:
Champlain Memorial Lighthouse by James P. Millard
Crown Point (Pointe à la Chevelure): An Outline History by Gregory T. Furness
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James P. Millard
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South Hero, Vermont 05486-0262
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