New battlefield memorial underway

KAYLA BREEN/STAFF PHOTOPlattsburgh Town Supervisor Michael Cashman (left) announces plans for the Battlefield Memorial Gateway on the shores of Lake Champlain with local historian and Friends of Crab Island Commodore John Rock (center) and Assemblyman Billy Jones during a news conference on Friday. The new site will be located within sight of historic Crab Island and Valcour Island off Route 9 near WIRY Radio Station and across from Clare and Carl's restaurant.

PLATTSBURGH — The North Country has long been known as home to many great stewards of the nation's history, and the tradition will continue with a new memorial site.

Work will soon begin on the Battlefield Memorial Gateway on the shores of Lake Champlain on Town of Plattsburgh property just south of the City of Plattsburgh.

The site is tucked in a lightly wooded area off Route 9 near the WIRY Radio station, and across from Clare and Carl's restaurant.

It served as a fuel delivery port for the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base in the 1950s and 1960s, explained local historian John Rock.



Plattsburgh Town Supervisor Michael Cashman said the site will feature historic markers, an interpretation display, a trail out onto the two breakwaters on the lake jetty, a children's play area and a grand view of nearby Crab Island and Valcour Island.

Crab Island is where some 150 soldiers are buried who perished during the pivotal Battle of Plattsburgh in September of 1814 in the War of 1812.

It is purported to be one of the only places in the world where American and British soldiers are buried in the same graves.

Valcour Island was the site of a famous Revolutionary War lake battle when America's forces were led by Benedict Arnold.



The Battlefield Memorial Gateway will become the third point of the "Triangle of History" on the lake that includes the two historic islands.

Eventually, a small dock will be installed on one of the breakwaters for boats that will transport visitors to the islands for sightseeing visits.

"This could be more popular than Fort Sumter (famous Civil War site)," said Rock, who serves as commodore of the Friends of Crab Island.

Cashman said planning for the project has been ongoing for several years.

"In the town, we bring our plans down to the level where we can get things accomplished," he said at Friday's ceremony kicking off the project.

"We don't just produce a bunch of paper and talk about things."



To help move things along, the town partnered with the American Legion of Clinton County.

Ron Poland, commander of Post 1619 in West Plattsburgh, said all eight legion posts in the county will be lending a hand with fundraising for the project and rounding up volunteers.

"We'll have about 1,600 people behind this," he said.

The gateway will eventually be connected to the Terry Gordon Bike Path along the lake and will provide visitors with a chance to ingest even more of the area's history.

"We hope this will become a signature item for hopefully the whole country," Cashman said.

Rock said many American history buffs look for places like the gateway to reflect on history and honor veterans.

"We want to honor our past and present, and hopefully this will be a proper place to honor the birth of our nation," he said.



Phase 1 of the project will begin this summer with the help of a $250,000 state grant secured by Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay).

"What better way to celebrate our rich history and our veterans," he said.

"This project will be transformational."

Information on the project and where to make donations can be found at



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Twitter: @jlotemplio


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Staff Writer at Press-Republican since November of 1985. Has covered just about all beats at the paper, including sports.Currently covers government and politics. Graduated from Plattsburgh State in 1985. Originally from Rochester, NY.

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