New Smartphone Experience For Lake Champlain History

The Ethan Allen Homestead Historic Site and Museum has created “Ethan & the Boys @ Fort Crown Point” which uses smartphones to tell the tale of the Green Mountain Boys and their capture of the New York Forts Ticonderoga and Crown Point. The cannon “liberated” at those forts were delivered to George Washington in Boston to end the British siege.

The videos, in both English (with closed captioning) and Quebecois French, at can be downloaded for viewing on an iPhone or iPod. One can see and hear our history as they tour throughout the region, using Google Maps to navigate to the historic sites. By integrating storytelling and navigation, both visitors and locals can enjoy a richer experience as they are guided to discover their own “sense of place”.

The project was funded by a Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership Grant from the Lake Champlain Basin Program and is a partnership of The Ethan Allen Homestead Museum in Burlington and the Crown Point Historic Site in New York, with help from friends at the McCord Museum in Montreal, Canada.

Music was courtesy of Vermont musicians Atlantic Crossing, Jesse Bruchac, Renewal Chorus, Va-et-Vient, Hanaford’s Volunteers Fyfe and Drum Corps. and Pete & Karen Sutherland. The music can be found on “Thrufters & Through-Stones, the Music of Vermont’s First 400 Years”, produced by Burlington’s Big Heavy World.

Quebecois translation and narration were performed by staff and students at St. Francis Xavier School in Winooski, Vermont.

Program producer Barbara Smorgans Marshall intends this pilot program to be the first of a series of regional “Smartphones & Storytelling” mobile audio/visual interpretive stories.

Atlatl Contest Highlights Chimney and Crown Points Festival Of Nations

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

Historic Vessels Arrive in Plattsburgh For Events

The historic canal motorship Day Peckinpaugh arrived in Plattsburgh today as it travels the Champlain and Hudson Corridor on its 500-mile Quadricentennial Legacy Voyage. The 259-foot canal boat, built in 1921, will be joined by the replica 1862 canal schooner Lois McClure and 1901 Tug Urger at the Wilcox Dock in Plattsburgh on August 11-12 and at the Burlington waterfront on August 14-16. The public is invited to step on board free of charge (see tour schedule below for hours).

The Day Peckinpaugh was the first canal motorship ever built and is the only one that remains. Rescued from the scrap yard in 2005, it is now the largest single item in the collection of the New York State Museum. The tour marks its first voyage in its new role as a traveling museum.

Tour Schedule

Tuesday-Wednesday, August 11-12
Plattsburgh, Wilcox Dock
Free tours: 11 am &#8211 7 pm
Experience the breadth of maritime history on display with vessels including the canal schooner Lois McClure, Tug Urger, and the Day Peckinpaugh together on the dock at Plattsburgh. Enjoy music and food on shore throughout the day.

Friday, Saturday & Sunday, August 14-16
Burlington, Perkins Pier
Free tours: Friday 4 – 7 pm- Saturday-Sunday10 am &#8211 6 pm
Working on Water Weekend- Tour the Day Peckinpaugh, Tug Urger, replica Canal Schooner Lois McClure, and Tug 8th Sea on Vermont’s own “great lake.” Also visit the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum to learn about the history of Lake Champlain boating from the 1600s to the present.

Wednesday, August 19
Crown Point, Crown Point Pier
Free tours: 11 am &#8211 7 pm
Join the festivities as the Day Peckinpaugh is welcomed to the newly refurbished Crown Point Pier at the DEC campground in Crown Point. The Champlain Memorial Lighthouse also invites visitors to examine and explore its recently renewed sculpture and structure. A climb to the top offers breathtaking scenic vistas.

For more information and schedule of events at fourteen ports of call, visit:

Photo: The Day Peckinpaugh docked at Albany’s Corning Preserve on it’s maiden voyage in 1921. The D&H Building can be seen in the background.

Crown Point Pier and Champlain Lighthouse Reopened

Restoration work on the Crown Point Pier and Champlain Memorial Lighthouse has been completed and both facilities are once again open to the public. Restoration work on the pier included reenforcement of the bulkhead and piers, removal of zebra mussels, refurbishing of the metal trusses and decking, repair of the roof &#8212- including replacement of broken slate shingles, thorough cleaning of exterior and interior surfaces and placement of new signs.

Work on the lighthouse included restoration of the Rodin sculpture, thorough cleaning and repair of outer stonework and thorough cleaning, resealing and painting of the interior. The Rodin sculpture has not been placed back on the lighthouse, but will be prior to the Quadricentennial Celebration in September.

The facilities are located on the shore of Lake Champlain in Essex County on the grounds of DEC Crown Point Public Campground. Other nearby by historic features are the Crown Point Reservation, which includes Fort Crown Point and Fort St. Frederic, the Crown Point Bridge and the Toll Keeper’s House.

The Lake Champlain Quadricentennial celebrates the 400th anniversary of the French explorer Samuel de Champlain’s 1609 sighting of the lake that now bears his name. Champlain is noted as the first European to have recorded his exploration of the lake and the surrounding region.

While celebrations and events will occur throughout the summer, New York’s premier Quadricentennial Celebration will be hosted at the DEC Crown Point Campground and the OPHRP Crown Point Reservation on September 18-20. New York will celebrate the role that Lake Champlain and the Champlain Valley played in the history of our country and the state, and the natural wonders and recreational opportunities of the lake.

The Crown Point steamboat pier was constructed in 1929, serving as a point of embarkation and disembarkation passengers accessing Crown Point from one of the many large steamboats that plied up and down Lake Champlain during that era.

The Champlain Memorial Lighthouse was originally constructed in 1858 and the surrounding land was acquired in 1910 by the New York State Conservation Department &#8211 predecessor to the DEC. In 1912, the States of New York and Vermont and the Province of Quebec worked together to reconstruct the lighthouse as a monument to Samuel de Champlain, in recognition of the 300th anniversary of his explorations.

The Champlain Memorial Lighthouse, the Crown Point Pier and the Toll Keepers House are eligible for listing in the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The entire Crown Point Reservation is also a National Historic Landmark.