Press-Republican

Local News

March 23, 2010

Remains near bridge site may be old fort

CROWN POINT — Part of a stone foundation discovered next to one of the old Champlain Bridge pillars could be from a small French fort built in 1731.

The foundation is about a foot and a half from the side of a pillar on the Vermont shore, but archeologists don’t know if it’s from the fort or an early house.

The Champlain Bridge closed Oct. 16, 2009, and was destroyed by controlled explosives Dec. 28. A new bridge is scheduled to be constructed nearby starting this spring.



‘NO IMPACT’

Vermont Agency of Transportation Director of Planning, Outreach and Community Affairs John Zicconi said details aren’t known yet, but some exploration will be done at the foundation site to understand it better.

“This discovery will have no impact to the bridge-construction schedule. The archeological area will be protected during construction. The bridge itself will not impact the area, as it spans over the archeological site and does not have any direct impact to the ground area under exploration.”

The foundation is about a foot below the surface of the ground and was discovered during an archeological site review before construction of temporary ferry docks for the new Crown Point Ferry.

The ferry runs 24 hours a day between Crown Point and Chimney Point, Vt.



HISTORIC SITE

Chimney Point is a hamlet in the Town of Addison, Vt., and the Chimney Point State Historic Site is located next to the foundation.

The Historic Site preserves one of the oldest taverns in Vermont, as well as an intact rural post office. The Vermont Division for Historic Preservation restored the property and opened it as a museum in 1991.

The new ferry operates from an access road just south of the museum, while the bridge was located just north of the buildings.

The fort was built as a square, 125 feet long on each side, and had a garrison of about 30 soldiers. Vermont archaeologists also found evidence of a nearby redware pottery factory that Moses Bradley operated until the 1790s.

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