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Crowds leaving the steamers at Crown Point forts. July 5,1909

The Tercentenary Celebrations on Lake Champlain

In 2009 the region celebrates the 400th anniversary of the discovery of Lake Champlain by Samuel de  Champlain. 100 years earlier, Vermont, New York and Quebec invited the world to come see and celebrate what the intrepid French Explorer had found— a rich and beautiful place which had been inhabited by native peoples for generations before. This is Part II of the story of those festivities.

By James P. Millard

Part II
Monday, July 5 at Crown Point Forts


"Crown Point was the principal place of interest. Gov. and Mrs. Hughes with the Governor's military secretary, were taken on the yacht Valcour belonging to Hon. Joseph Sibley, from Bluff Point to Port Henry. Here, the party with the speakers of the day and members of the commission were entertained  at luncheon by Hon. W.C. Witherbee. Later, the party crossed to the Point where the crowds awaited the opening of the exercises.

Hon. Seth Low of New York was the principal speaker, following the incisive opening address of the Governor. Judge A.C. Barnes of Chicago, a native of Chimney Point opposite, well fitted by his knowledge of local history and legal training, made an able defence [sic] of Crown Point as the probable site of Champlain's first battle with the Iroquois."1

  Crown Point in 1909: vintage view of ruins         Governor and Mrs. Hughes arrive         Speakers at the podium         Another contemporary view of the British ruins
Crown Point in 1909: left to right; vintage view of ruins, Governor and Mrs. Hughes arrive,
speakers at the podium, another contemporary view of the British ruins.
(click on thumbnails to see a large images)

Not since it was the site of vast military encampments had Crown Point been the scene of such activity. Anchored off shore was the impressive new steamer Ticonderoga, the  steam yacht Valcour, and the replica of Champlain's ship, Don de Dieu. There were even small vessels from the United States Navy in attendance. Filling the narrow channel was a host of smaller vessels, each filled with onlookers anxious to see the notables in the crowd.

Earlier that morning, a "sham battle," the precursor to today's re-enactments, had taken place. At 1:30 the guns of the naval ships had announced the arrival of the Governors of New York and Vermont. Following speeches by the assembled dignitaries the tenth regiment of the New York National Guard was reviewed by Governor Hughes. After the review there were "Indian Pageants", and a fireworks display that evening2.

The Governors, Commissioners and other distinguished guests left that evening for Ticonderoga. In the meantime, back at Plattsburgh exciting things were happening...

Continued here...  


2 The Champlain Tercentenary: Report of the New York Lake Champlain Tercentenary Commission.1911:Prepared by Henry Wayland Hill, LL.D., Secretary of the Commission. Albany: J.B. Lyon Company, State Printers.

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