Lake Champlain Ferryboats by Ralph Nading Hill A short history of Lake Champlain and the story of over 200 years of Lake Champlain ferryboats
Chapter 1 To Seize Control-The Conflicts over Lake Champlain
Discovery of Lake Champlain
French and Indian Wars
The American Revolution
The War of 1812
Chapter 2 Two Centuries of Ferryboating on Lake Champlain
Roll Call of Early Lake Champlain Vessels
Principal Ferries on Lake Champlain Since World War I
CANIADERI GUARUNTE WAS WHAT THE Iroquois Indians had named her: the lake that is the gate to the country." After Lake Champlain's discovery in 1609, over two centuries of conflict would ensue before a young America would finally guarantee her safe future. Control of the lake during this period would be contested by the armies and navies of France, Great Britain, and the American colonists. Military control over this gateway between the heart of the colonies and Canada meant control over a large part of the northeast.
Once the sounds of cannon fire had ceased, Lake Champlain became a gateway for commerce. Visitors and residents appreciate the lake today as a prized resource cradled by the Adirondacks of New York and the Green Mountains of Vermont. But during the 17th, 18th, and three quarters of the 19th centuries, this lake provided the only practical means of transportation not only between the settlements along the Vermont and New York shores, but as a long and vital link in the through traffic between Montreal and the cities down the Hudson River to New York. Travelers seeking a direct route between these two cities-or points in between-made their way either on foot, horseback, or in stagecoaches over miles of rugged trails. Or they could relax in the comparative comfort of the vessels plying Lake Champlain between Whitehall, New York and St. Jean, Quebec. Local ferryboats also provided local travelers with a relatively comfortable and expedient link among the lakeshore ports.
LAKE CHAMPLAIN FERRYBOATS briefly traces the lake's historic role as a gateway for military conquest between 1609 and 1814. With peace the lake became a gateway for commerce focused on lumber, and mining operations. Ferryboating evolved, and this sixth largest lake in the country remains today one of the few with a busy fleet of ferries. Their lively story is presented here with a wealth of fascinating anecdotes reflecting the times as vividly as the boats and the men and women who ran them.
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