Click here to learn more about this site Click here to return to our home page Click here to visit our "clickable" map of local historic sites Click here to visit Part I of our huge two-part Table of Contents Click here to search the site Click here to learn about using the images and materials published on this site Click here to contact us

The Online Resource for Historians, Educators, Students and Visitors since 1997
This is a graphics-intensive publication, to fully experience the site we recommend you have JavaScript enabled.

All About Lake Champlain- The Boathouse at the Burlington, Vermont waterfront

" 'Here a scene of indescribable sublimity burst upon us. Before us lay the waters of Lake Champlain, a sheet of unruffled glass, stretching some ninety miles to the south, widening and straitening as rocks and cliffs projected in the most fantastic shapes into the channel. On each side is a thick and uninhabited wilderness, now rising up into mountains, now falling into glens, while a noble background is presented toward the east by the Green Mountains, whose summits appear even to pierce the clouds. On the west mountains still more gigantic in loftiness, pride and dignity. I cannot by any powers of language do justice to such a scene.' "

R.G. Gleig, a member of Gen. Fraser's staff, Burgoyne Campaign
 June 1777

Beautiful Lake Champlain, stretching south from Quebec and dividing New York and Vermont, has justifiably been called the most historic body of water in North America.

Map of Lake Champlain- Click on the towns to learn about themClick here to see a full size aerial photo of Crown Point on Lake Champlain by AHL Guest Photographer Doug HarwoodLake Champlain has long been part of an important waterway passage between the St. Lawrence and Hudson Rivers. Flowing south to north, the lake stretches some 120 miles from its beginning at Whitehall, New York to the Richelieu River in Quebec.

The first European to discover the lake was Samuel de Champlain in 1609. Champlain claimed the waterway and the virgin forested lands surrounding it for his sovereign, setting in motion a long conflict between France and Great Britain.

Lake Champlain, together with Lake George, played a crucial role in the early history of the United States and Canada. Due largely to its strategic importance as the only navigable passage between the Adirondack and Green Mountains, many important forts were built and several critical battles were fought upon its shores. Among these are some of the most storied names in colonial history- Ticonderoga, Crown Point, and Valcour Island to name but a few. The lake also figured prominently during the War of 1812, culminating in the Battle of Plattsburgh (also known as the Battle of Lake Champlain).

Click here to see the Burlington waterfront circa 1885Once these early conflicts ended the lake lost its strategic importance to military planners. During the mid-nineteenth century the lake became a vital transportation corridor for all sorts of cargo, especially after canals were constructed on both ends of the lake. Sailing vessels gave way to steamboats, which eventually were replaced by the railroads. As the lake became less important for commercial carriage, it became a recreational haven.

Today, Lake Champlain, together with Lake George to the south, is an important recreational playground for millions. The lake faces challenges brought upon by it by increased recreational use and population growth but it retains its appeal and natural beauty.

Click here to see the US Navy Memorial at the Burlington, Vermont waterfront on Lake Champlain   Lake Champlain Facts:

   Elevation: 95.5 feet above sea level
   Length: 120 miles
   Width: 12 miles at widest point
   Drains: South to north into the Richelieu River at
   Rouses Point, New York
   Number of islands: Over 70
   Maximum depth: 400 feet, average depth is 64 feet.
   Shoreline: 587 miles- New York, Vermont and Quebec



Lake Champlain's Valcour Island with South Hero, Vermont in the distance     Grand Isle, Vermont— Cumberland Head, NY Ferry     Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration Weekend, Plattsburgh New York     The Burlington, Vermont waterfront     The shoreline of Lake Champlain at Grand Isle, Vermont     Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks at the mouth of Otter Creek
Images of Lake Champlain
Photos by Jim Millard, aerial photos courtesy of Doug Harwood
(Click on the thumbnails to see a full-size image)

*America's Historic Lakes is a favorite of educators around the world. You can feel confident that the material
on this site is accurate, well-researched, properly cited and presented.

Creative Commons License
America's Historic Lakes by James P. Millard and Guest Contributors is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

 Privacy Policy

James P. Millard
Post Office Box 262
South Hero, Vermont 05486-0262

Terms of Service and Disclaimer of Liability

The historical information on this web site is provided as a public service by James P. Millard. I  have attempted to be as accurate as possible in my presentation of this historical material. However, I make no claims, guarantees or promises about the accuracy, currency, or completeness of the information provided. In no event shall the publisher; James P. Millard, be liable for any errors or omissions with respect to any information on this site. Material submitted by guest contributors and published on the site is the property of the contributor and may be removed at any time at my discretion or upon request of the contributor. This website occasionally provides links to sites of other organizations maintained by third parties. These links do not constitute an endorsement of the content, viewpoint, accuracy, opinions, policies, products, services, or accessibility of that website. Links to third-party websites are provided as a public service and convenience to users of our site; James P. Millard/America’s Historic Lakes does not control, endorse or recommend the content on sites we may link to. Once connected to another website, you are subject to the terms and conditions of that website.