About the Friends of Crown Point


Our purpose is to support the improvement, development, and preservation of Crown Point State Historic Site, which is administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. We sponsor educational programs and activities, in keeping with the nature of the site, for the enlightenment of members and especially for the public. This Friends group participates in fund-raising activities, and seeks to foster increased awareness, interest and appreciation of the historical significance of Crown Point, and encourages original historical research on the many aspects of Crown Point, and assists in the publication and dissemination to the public of the reliable knowledge acquired.


About Crown Point State Historic Site

Crown Point State Historic Site encompasses two National Historic Landmarks: the ruins of French-built Fort St. Frédéric (1734-59) and the ruins of Crown Point's British fort (1759-73), all located at the southwest end of the Lake Champlain Bridge. This peninsula served as an important site for French, British, and American troops throughout the 18th century.  The site contains the ruins of “Fort St. Frederic” and the British fort known as “Crown Point.”  A museum exhibits select artifacts unearthed from throughout the site that relay the history of its inhabitants and their lives.

At the beginning of the 17th century, Europeans were looking to expand their empires through trade, industry and colonization.  After establishing a settlement in Quebec, Samuel Champlain made his way south via waterways.  With Algonquians as his guides, they were stopped by the Iroquois near the Crown Point peninsula and a brief battle ensued between warring tribes. 

Over the course of that century and into the next century, there were more wars including King George’s War and the Seven Years’ War.  Without roadways, Lake Champlain was viewed as a strategic thoroughfare in this part of North America.  After building a small stockade fort across the lake in 1730, the French decided to construct a more imposing, permanent structure at the location seen today.  For the quarter century from 1734 through mid-1759, the French occupied Fort St. Frederic and defended their position from British attacks.  British General Jeffrey Amherst, determined to overtake the French stronghold in summer 1759.  The French abandoned their forts, deciding to destroy Carillon (soon to be re-named “Ticonderoga”) and destroy Fort St. Frederic, so as to leave less for the British.  The British built at this narrow point on Lake Champlain the largest British fort in North America.  The complex included three redoubts, blockhouses and a fleet.

They occupied this site until 1775, when both Crown Point and Ticonderoga were overtaken by American patriot troops: the Green Mountain Boys.  The artillery that they liberated was immediately inventoried, documenting that the patriot rebels gained 111(!) cannon on May 11, 1775.  The troops used the area as the staging grounds and embarkation point for the invasion of Canada in 1775 and retreated here after their defeat in Quebec in 1776.  

At the turn of the 19th century, the land was granted to Union and Columbia Colleges by the State of New York and later was divided into smaller parcels and sold as farms.  Sylvester Churchill purchased the property in 1828 and was committed towards the preservation of the ruins of the forts.  In the deed of sale for the property, Churchill stipulated future owners could not tear down any of the ramparts or walls or remove any materials.

In 1910, the State acquired the 25 acres of land, on which both fort ruins stand, as a gift from the Witherbee, Sherman Company, an iron-ore mining operation based out of nearby Port Henry.  It was placed under the jurisdiction of the Department of Environmental Conservation.  New York State has acquired surrounding parcels, expanding the site to its current size of 440 acres.  The Crown Point Campground and Day-Use Area is located west of Bridge Road and was constructed in 1915.  Subsequent additions expanded the campground to its current capacity of 66 campsites in an open setting.  The Campground includes a boat launch, picnic area, and historic structures – a pier, the Champlain Memorial Lighthouse, and two of the three British redoubts.