On Sunday, September 30, 2012, state historic site managers Thomas Hughes at Crown Point, New York, and Elsa Gilbertson at Chimney Point, Vermont, will lead a guided round-trip walk across the new Lake Champlain Bridge connecting New York and Vermont.
For centuries, this crossing has been used by Woodlands Indians, the French, the British, and Americans. The narrow channel passage for water vessels and the peninsulas, or points, on either side made this one of the most strategic military locations along Lake Champlain, especially during the 1700s. Foliage will be at near peak this weekend, and this tour is an official National Public Lands Day (www.publiclandsday.org) activity, while for Chimney Point, this tour is the final public activity of Vermont Archeology Month (www.vtarchaeology.org).
This tour (also the last of the season) starts at 1 pm at the museum entrance at Crown Point State Historic Site. The fee is $5 for adults, free for children under 15.
Crown Point State Historic Site enjoys breath-taking views of the Lake Champlain Bridge and is located at 21 Grandview Drive on the Crown Point peninsula. The public may phone 518-597-3666 for the site’s museum.
Chimney Point State Historic Site is located at 8149 VT Route 17, at the Vermont foot of the Lake Champlain Bridge. The public may phone the site office at 802-759-2412 for information.
Both sites are open and staffed into October on site-specific weekdays plus Saturdays and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Photos: Above, the new Crown Point Bridge from the Crown Point side- Below, the Crown Point Bridge from Chimney Point, which opened in 1929 and was torn down in 2011.
People from all over the northeast begin gathering today at the Chimney Point State Historic Site on Lake Champlain in Addison, Vermont, for this weekend’s annual Open Atlatl Championship. The event is back at Chimney Point after two years at Mount Independence, due to the site’s closure during the Lake Champlain Bridge construction project.
The atlatl is the ancient tool used the world over before the bow and arrow to effectively project darts and spears for hunting. During the bridge project archeology work, a number of projectile points were found here, indicating the atlatl was used historically on the very location of this championship, now in its 17th year. The event is a highlight of September’s Vermont Archaeology Month and is part of the Festival of Nations with the Crown Point, New York, State Historic Site. Come watch or participate in this unusual and interesting event. Competitors range from enthusiasts interested in trying their hand to some of the best in the country. Admission includes the museum with the 2012 exhibit on bridge archeological findings, new exhibits on the 1929 bridge, and shop with books and other items on the area’s Native American, French, and early American history. $3.00 for adults, free for children under 15.
The weekend at Chimney Point features:
Friday, September 21: atlatl workshop with Robert Berg of Thunderbird Atlatl, $65 fee includes materials and instruction, pre-registration required, noon to 5 pm. Berg teaches all over the United States and Europe. Call 802-759-2412 to pre-register.
Saturday, September 22: atlatl competition, from 10:30 until contestants have finished. $5.00 fee for competitors. Girls, boys, women, and men’s categories. All skills and abilities welcome. International Standards Accuracy Competition first, then shooting at painted animal targets to test accuracy, and lastly distance. Demonstrations of Woodland pottery making with Charlie Paquin and atlatl, flintknapping, cordage making and more with Thunderbird atlatl.
Sunday, September 23: small International Standards Accuracy Competition at 10:00, followed by master coaching (approx. 11:00 am). Flintknapping workshop with Charlie Paquin from 10:00 to 3:00—limited slots to participate, pre-registration required, observers welcome.
Saturday afternoon at Crown Point (518-597-4666) offers at the stone outdoor pavilion:
1:30 – 2:30: Va-et-Vient live acoustic concert with Vermont musicians Carol Reed, Suzanne Germain, and George Dunne.
2:30: Clinton Community College Professor David Graham speaks on the French heritage of the United States, particularly New York. Graham was project manager for the second edition of the 2012 book J’aime New York. Book signing follows talk.
The Chimney Point State Historic Site presents the history of the region’s three earliest cultures—Native American, French Colonial, and early American. The site was used by Native Americans for thousands of years, was the location of the 1731 French fort, and the museum is in the c.1785 tavern building. It is located at 8149 VT Route 17W in Addison at the foot of the new Lake Champlain Bridge. The site is open 9:30 to 5:00, Wednesdays through Sundays, with the last day of the season being Columbus Day, October 8. Call 802-759-2412 for information.
The Lake Champlain Bridge construction project helped reveal some exciting historic and archaeological findings at the Chimney Point State Historic Site in Addison, Vermont. On Thursday, June 21, at 7:00 p.m., site administrator Elsa Gilbertson presents an illustrated program about the Chimney Point experience during the bridge project and “what lies beneath.”
Archaeological work confirmed that the site has had a history of human habitation for 9,000 years, since the glacial waters receded, and that this was one of the most strategic spots on Lake Champlain for the Native Americans, French, British, and early Americans. What evidence did all these people leave behind? The doors open to the public at 6:30 p.m. Come early, bring a picnic, go for a walk across the new bridge, and take a quick look at this year’s exhibit, “What Lies Beneath: 9,000 Years of History at Chimney Point,” before the talk at 7:00 p.m. The public is welcome. Free, donations appreciated.
The Chimney Point State Historic Site is located at 8149 VT Route 17, at the foot of the new Lake Champlain Bridge. Call 802-759-2412 for information. The site is open Wednesdays through Sundays and Monday holidays through Columbus Day, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Chimney Point, Mount Independence, and Hubbardton Battlefield State Historic Sites have opened for the 2012 season. The Chimney Point State Historic Site on Lake Champlain in Addison has reopened to the public after two years of closure due to the Lake Champlain Bridge construction project. This location is one of the most strategic on the Lake, important to Native Americans, the early French, and early American settlement.
In the historic tavern’s “ballroom” is a new exhibit, What Lies Beneath: 9,000 Years of History at Chimney Point, highlighting the archaeological findings from the 2009-2011 bridge and temporary ferry project. See evidence of earliest Native American habitation, the 1731 French fort, Moses Bradley’s 1790s redware pottery, and more.
The exhibit was prepared by the University of Vermont Consulting Archeology Program and guest curator Kate Kenney, Vermont bridge project archaeological monitor. Also new are several exhibit panels and media player exploring the history of the 1929 Lake Champlain Bridge. Bring a picnic and take a walk over the new bridge. The site is open Wednesdays through Sundays and Monday holidays, through October 8, 9:30-5:30. Admission is $3.00 for adults and free for children under 15.
Orwell’s Mount Independence, a National Historic Landmark named after the Declaration of Independence, was built on Lake Champlain in 1776-77 to protect the American colonies against British invasion from the north. This year is the 235th anniversary of the American retreat from the Mount. The museum has state of the art exhibits and Revolutionary War artifacts, including two huge logs from the Great Bridge and a cannon recovered from Lake Champlain.
Six miles of scenic walking and hiking trails wind past archaeological sites. The nationally award winning Baldwin Trail with acclaimed interpretive signage, is suitable for outdoor wheelchairs and strollers. The annual Soldiers Atop the Mount encampment is moving this year to September 8 and 9 to commemorate the September 1777 American attempt to retake the Mount from the British. The site is open daily, 9:30 to 5:00, through October 8. Admission is $5.00 for adults and free for children under 15.
The Hubbardton Battlefield State Historic Site is the location of Vermont’s only Revolutionary War battle. It is considered one of the best preserved battlefields in America, retaining most of its original setting. The 235th anniversary of the July 7, 1777, battle will be honored with the annual living history weekend on July 7 and 8. Enjoy other history and astronomy programs throughout the season. The site is open Thursdays through Sundays and Monday holidays, from 9:30 to 5:00. Admission is $2.00 for adults and free for children under 15.
These sites have scenic grounds for walking and picnics, and specialty museum shops with many books and other items. For more information about events visit: http://historicsites.vermont.gov/events/ Join the Vermont State Historic Sites on Facebook.
The Mount Independence and Hubbardton Battlefield Vermont State Historic Sites open for the 2011 season on Saturday, May 28, at 9:30 a.m. Both sites have scenic grounds for walking and picnics, and popular specialty museum shops with many books and other items.
The Chimney Point State Historic Site and grounds in Addison will be closed to the public for the 2011 season due to the ongoing construction of the Lake Champlain Bridge. The site will be open for the bridge opening celebration weekend, at a yet to be determined date this fall. The popular annual Northeast Open Atlatl Championship, September 16 to 18, will be moved again this year to Mount Independence in Orwell.
Orwell, Vermont’s Mount Independence, a National Historic Landmark named after the Declaration of Independence, was built on Lake Champlain in 1776-77 to protect the American colonies against British invasion from the north. This year is the 235th anniversary of the start of construction, as well as of the Mount Independence-Hubbardton Military Road.
The museum’s exhibits include a talking hologram sculpture and exciting Revolutionary War artifacts from the site, including two huge logs from the Great Bridge and a cannon recovered from Lake Champlain. Six miles of scenic walking and hiking trails wind past archaeological sites. The nationally award winning Baldwin Trail is suitable for outdoor wheelchairs and strollers, and has acclaimed interpretive signage.
The season begins on Saturday, May 28, at 8:00 a.m. with the favorite annual Early Bird Nature Walk, led by bird expert Suzanne Wetmore. Other special events include nature and history programs and the annual Soldiers Atop the Mount encampment on July 23 and 24. The site is open daily, 9:30 to 5:00. Admission is $5.00 for adults and free for children under 15.
The Hubbardton Battlefield State Historic Site is the location of Vermont’s only Revolutionary War battle. It is considered one of the best preserved battlefields in America, retaining most of its original setting, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. At noon on May 30 there will be a simple Memorial Day commemoration.
The annual living history weekend, with the battle reenactment, is July 9 and 10, with many other nature and history programs and hikes throughout the season. The site is open Thursdays through Sundays and Monday holidays, including Memorial Day, from 9:30 to 5:00. Admission is $2.00 for adults and free for children under 15.
Citing safety concerns caused by the reconstruction of the adjacent Champlain Bridge, Vermont state officials have announced the immediate closure of the Chimney Point State Historic Site in Addison. Commissioner of Economic, Housing and Community Development Tayt Brooks said the combination of construction activity and limited road access to the area led to the decision to close the site for the season.
“The Chimney Point site and the construction area share a single road, and are literally right next to each other,” Brooks said. “We had hoped to keep the site open, but in practical terms we can’t place the public at risk by having them in such close proximity to a working construction area.”
The Champlain Bridge, which was built to span Lake Champlain and connect Vermont and New York in 1929, was closed due to safety concerns in October 2009 and was demolished using explosives on December 28, 2009.
A new “modified network tied arch” bridge is being built in nearly the exact location, and a temporary ferry is carrying passengers across Lake Champlain while the bridge is being rebuilt.
Brooks said the Division for Historic Preservation – part of his department – and officials from the Agency of Transportation had worked together to try to keep the site operating despite the noise, dust, odor, and delays that were inevitable as a result of the construction.
But as the staging area for materials and equipment was selected – and expanded – adjacent to the site, the risk of an accident involving visitors had become too great.
“We tried, but VTrans officials recommended – and I agreed – that the site should be closed for this season, and possibly next,” Brooks said. “We will re-evaluate before next spring after we see where the construction stands.”
The site had 2,962 visitors last year on the 99 days it was open, Brooks said, or an average of about 29 per day. It has generated roughly $3,000 in admissions and $9,000 in gift shop revenues in the current fiscal year, which began on July 1, 2009.
Before last week, the site had seen only 73 visitors in the 8 days it had been open, he said, adding that the Agency of Transportation will reimburse the Division for Historic Preservation for the lost revenue while the site is closed.
The state will examine whether some special events scheduled at the site – such as the Northeastern Atlatl Championship, part of the Festival of Nations in September – can be re-located, Brooks said.
Vermont Days, June 12 and 13, a weekend of free admission at the Vermont State Historic Sites and State Parks, will be the occasion for a number of special events at the Mount Independence, Hubbardton Battlefield, and Chimney Point State Historic Sites. All events are free and open to the public. At the Mount Independence State Historic Site in Orwell—
–Saturday, June 12, 1:00 PM Mad Matt the Democrat Historian Vincent Feeney talks about Matthew Lyon, indentured servant, Green Mountain Boy, son-in-law to Thomas Chittenden, land speculator, entrepreneur, and Vermont congressman. Lyon served at Mount Independence and in 1785 bought its abandoned cannons and other scrap iron. Sponsored by the Vermont Humanities Council.
–Sunday, June 13. 1:00 PM Wildflowers of the Mount Join wildflower expert Ann Honan on another walk to discover the wildflowers of Mount Independence. What blooms in June? Wear sturdy shoes and dress for the weather. Sponsored by the Mount Independence Coalition.
Mount Independence is six miles west of the intersections of VT Routes 22A and 73 near the end of Mount Independence Road. Call (802) 948-2000 for information. At the Hubbardton Battlefield State Historic Site in Hubbardton–
–Saturday, June 12: Staying Connected: Wildlife Habitat, 1:00 PM Monica Erhart, Linkage Coordinator for Staying Connected, talks about Vermont’s critical wildlife corridors and their importance for wide-ranging mammals. Hubbardton is in the center of an important corridor between the Green Mountains and Adirondacks. A wildlife-focused walk follows, if weather allows.
–Sunday, June 13: War Stories: New Tales from the Battle of Hubbardton, 1:00 PM Historian Kate Kenney from the University of Vermont Consulting Archeology Program shares fascinating “new” stories about the soldiers of Hubbardton from her recent research in Revolutionary war pension records and other period sources. “Who were those guys?”
The Hubbardton Battlefield is on Monument Hill Road, six miles east of Vermont Route 30 in Hubbardton or six miles north of exit 5 on US Route 4 in Castleton. Call (802) 273-2282 for information.
At the Chimney Point State Historic Site in Addison—
–Saturday, June 12, Second Saturdays, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Explore the French colonial past at Chimney Point (Pointe a-la-Chevelure) with hands-on activities for all ages. Try the dress-up box, play games, and learn what archaeology and the study of period sources can reveal.
–Sunday, June 14, Sunday Afternoon Special, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Hands-on activities and period games. Learn about ancient stone tools or how to throw an atlatl, play period games, and enjoy other fun for all ages.
Chimney Point is located in Addison at the intersections of Vermont Routes 125 and 17, just west of the temporary Lake Champlain ferry. Call (802) 759-2412 for information.
As the unofficial start of summer – Memorial Day weekend – approaches, so does the opening day for most of Vermont’s Historic Sites.
Most of the state-owned historic sites – President Calvin Coolidge, Mount Independence, Justin Morrill Homestead, Hubbardton Battlefield, Eureka Schoolhouse, Old Constitution House, and Chimney Point State Historic Sites – open for the 2010 season on Saturday, May 29. The Bennington Battle Monument site opened for the season on April 17, and the Chester Arthur Birthplace and the Hyde Log Cabin sites will open on July 3. The state’s underwater preserve – consisting of five shipwrecks in Lake Champlain – is open May 29 through mid-October depending on weather conditions.
“The state’s historic sites are a perfect way for families to get outdoors together,” said John Dumville, historic sites operations chief at the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. “The fact that Mount Independence has been recognized as a 2010 Editors’ Choice in Yankee Magazine’s Travel Guide to New England as the ‘best hike through history’ really underscores the recreational aspect of many of the sites.”
The first of several hikes at Mount Independence will take place Saturday, May 29, at 8:00 a.m. when bird expert Suzanne Wetmore will lead the annual Early Bird Nature Walk. The site features the Baldwin Trail, which meets outdoor standards for handicapped accessibility.
On Sept. 12 and Oct. 3 there will be hikes of the military trail and Mount Zion, respectively, at the Hubbardton Battlefield site.
Other events this summer include the June 5 “Climb of Your Life” at the Bennington Battle Monument, a fundraising “race” up the 34 flights of stairs at the state’s tallest building to raise money for the American Lung Association, and the 5th Annual Battle Day 5K Road Race at the monument on August 14.
Opening weekend also includes artistic and cultural events, including History Happens at Old Constitution House!, where 18th-century re-enactor Carl Malikowski his wife Carolyn demonstrate a variety of period activities including brewing, cooking, woodworking, powder horn carving, and more.
There will be a Memorial Day commemoration at noon on May 31st at the Hubbardton Battlefield site.
As part of Open Studio Weekend May 29 and 30, Vermont artisans will temporarily relocate their studios to the Coolidge State Historic Site, where visitors can watch Irene Ames of Derby demonstrate basket making in the Sweetser family tradition. In addition, Dolores Furnari of Brandon and Pat Lacy of East Wallingford will offer stenciling activities for children- Mary Perry of Salisbury, NH will demonstrate reverse painting on glass- and Rhonda Nolan of Keene, NH will stencil with bronze powders.
On August 7, the Coolidge site will host Plymouth Old Home Day, a daylong celebration featuring wagon rides, a chicken barbecue, sheep shearing, old time fiddling, traditional Vermont craft demonstrations, and children’s activities as well as the grand opening of the new President Calvin Coolidge Museum & Education Center.
Dumville said interest in the historic sites may have been piqued by the demolition of the Champlain Bridge adjacent to Chimney Point State Historic Site, which has allowed archeologists to examine the area of proposed construction further.
That led to the discovery of the foundation of what may be a small French fort dating back to 1731, and a special exhibit showcasing the archaeological work as the result of the demolition and construction has been set up at the site.
Historical re-enactment events at the sites during the season include the annual Battle of Hubbardton Revolutionary War Encampment on July 10 and 11- the Soldiers Atop the Mount re-enactment weekend July 24 and 25 at Mount Independence- and Anniversary Celebration of the Battle of Bennington August 14 and 15.
Art lovers can attend the Grace Coolidge Musicales throughout the summer at the Coolidge site, or the Plymouth Folk & Blues Concerts on September 4 and 5 at the same venue or the Homestead Gallery in the Gardens art showing at the Justin Morrill site’s beautifully restored gardens July 2 through July 18.
Finally, the fall season brings the annual atlatl competition at Chimney Point Sept. 17 through 19- the Plymouth Cheese & Harvest Festival on September 19- and the19th Century Apple and Harvest Festival at the Justin Morrill Homestead on October 10.
A project that helped celebrate the 400th anniversary of the navigation of Lake Champlain by Samuel de Champlain is being held up as an example of how partnerships between public broadcasters, libraries, and other entities can benefit communities.
The Vermont Division for Historic Preservation joins the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) in announcing the release of a new publication, Partnership for a Nation of Learners: Joining Forces, Creating Value, which offers guidance on creating effective community collaborations. The publication profiles the recent Lake Champlain Voyages of Discovery project of the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation and Chimney Point State Historic Site, with its partners—Vermont Public Television, Broadwing Productions, and the Bixby Memorial Free Library.
This project received a $250,000 grant from the Partnership for a Nation of Learners program, which united libraries, museums, and public broadcasters to address issues of central concern to their local communities.
“This program made it possible for our partnership to use many disciplines to look at the relatively unknown early history of Lake Champlain from before Samuel de Champlain’s arrival in 1609 up to the time of the American Revolution, engage our communities to participate with us, and to generate valuable resources for – as well as interest in – the 2009 Champlain 400th anniversary,” said Elsa Gilbertson, Voyages project director and Chimney Point administrator.
“The project products, including the New England Emmy-award winning documentary Champlain: The Lake Between- publication (Lake Champlain Voyages of Discovery: Bringing History Home)- forthcoming web site- exhibit at Chimney Point, new books and other materials at the Bixby Library- and Bixby educational kits for local schools will have a long-term effect on the region and how we understand this history,” Gilbertson said.
“I am gratified that the Partnership for a Nation of Learners project will live on through this publication, which spotlights exemplary community partnerships across the country, such as the one with the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, and shares ‘how-to’ information on successful collaborations,” said IMLS Director Anne-Imelda Radice. “In these challenging economic times, partnerships are more valuable than ever.”
“Libraries, museums, and public broadcasting licensees are valuable and respected assets trusted by the public,” said Patricia de Stacy Harrison, President and Chief Executive Officer, Corporation for Public Broadcasting. “Together, they have an important role to play ensuring our democracy comprises an informed and educated citizenry, by providing lifelong learning opportunities for everyone.”
The new report is based on the work of the 2005 and 2006 PNL Community Collaboration Grants, which provided seed investments for 20 collaborative projects across the country. It can be read online at: www.imls.gov/pdf/PNLReport.pdf
The new IMLS book profiles illustrate how vital community organizations can collaborate to effectively tackle important local issues and achieve outcomes that would be unattainable for a single organization. It also provides a lessons learned section on best practices for successful partnerships.
The Chimney Point State Historic Site in Addison is located at the intersections of Vermont Routes 125 and 17, at the foot of the Lake Champlain Bridge, overlooking Lake Champlain.
It was the site of military installations in 1690, 1731, and during the American Revolution. The 1785 tavern building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, houses exhibits interpreting the Native American, French colonial, and early American history of the area.
In the summer of 1759, as British forces closed in, the French retreated north into Canada, destroying their forts and burning their houses so that only the chimneys remained, lending the area its name.
Vermont’s and New York’s annual shared celebration of Lake Champlain, The Festival of Nations, hosted by the Chimney Point and Crown Point, N.Y., State Historic Sites will be held Sept. 18-20 and will feature a wide variety of events, including the 14th Annual Northeastern Open Atlatl Championship at Chimney Point.
The event honors the Native American, French, and early American history of the region and includes music- food vendors- Native American and primitive life and craft demonstrations- exhibits- showings of the award-winning documentary film Champlain: The Lake Between- a colonial French encampment with re-enactors- tours of Crown Point’s historic forts- historic, cultural, educational, nature, and family activities- a ceremony re-dedicating the Champlain Memorial lighthouse- and fireworks on Saturday night. The nearby DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) State Park will offer camping on a first-come, first-served basis. The atlatl, a shaped wooden stick, acts as an extension of the throwing arm, so hunters can throw long, flexible darts with greater accuracy, energy, and speed. The atlatl was one of the earliest prehistoric weapons, pre-dating the bow and arrow, and was used by many cultures, including Native Americans.
On Friday, there will be a workshop held at Chimney Point at which participants can learn modern and ancient atlatl construction as they build their own dart-thrower and projectiles and learn how to use them. The fee of $65 includes instruction by champion atlatlist Robert Berg and all materials. Pre-registration is required.
On Saturday competitors of all ages test their prowess in using the atlatl to “hunt” wooly mammoth, bison, and other game targets- shoot at modern day bulls-eyes (International Standards Accuracy), and compete in a distance challenge.
The winners in each category compete in a shoot-out at the end of the event for the title of Grand Champion. At 5:30 p.m. and leading up to the start of the fireworks, enjoy lively music from Atlantic Crossing, well-known for their vast repertoire of music highlighting and honoring the history of the region. The Seth Warner Mount Independence Fife and Drum Corps will also perform.
On Sunday morning, from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. one lane of the Lake Champlain Bridge between Addison and Crown Point, N.Y. will be open for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. The Sky Blue Boys, Banjo Dan and Willy Lindner, will be performing their lively music near the Vermont end of the bridge from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m.
On Sunday morning there will be another International Standards Accuracy competition at 10:00 a.m., followed by master coaching for youth and the young at heart, as well as conversations with Samuel de Champlain and wood carving demonstrations.
Saturday’s and Sunday’s contests are $5 and $3 respectively to enter. Admission to the site on each day is free.
Photo: John Morris using an atlatl. Morris, along with Greg Maurer, will be offering master coaching on Sunday, as well as competing on Saturday. Courtesy Vermont Division for Historic Preservation