CROWN POINT - The Crown Point State Historic Site will not be closed as part of New York State's budget deficit reduction effort.
Although the site was on a list of proposed cuts, it was not included on the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation's final closure list, according to Tom Hughes, Crown Point site manager. The final closure list was released Feb. 19.
In his state budget proposal, Gov. David Paterson called for a $29 million cut in the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation budget.
New York State faces an $8.2 billion budget deficit in 2010-11.
Paterson directed the agency to come up with a list of parks to be closed. A preliminary list was announced Feb. 13 and included the Crown Point State Historic Site.
"The 2010-11 executive budget included reductions to every area of state spending," explained Carol Ash, state parks and recreation commissioner. "As such, the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation has put forward proposed closures and service reductions to meet its agency savings target. These actions were not recommended lightly, but they are necessary to address our state's extraordinary fiscal difficulties."
Crown Point State Historic Site is one of 35 historic sites and 174 parks operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
It boasts two National Historic Landmarks on 380 acres of Lake Champlain waterfront, the stone remains of the French-built Fort St. Frederic (1734-1759) and the British Crown Point fort (1759-1773).
Both sites have endured through the centuries as authentic ruins, allowing guests to see the foundations of the forts in their original locations and to imagine the forts as they were in the 1700s, when they teemed with activity.
Each year the site hosts a pair of major events, a French & Indian War encampment in August and the annual Festival of Nations in September.
Construction of Fort St. Frederic was complete by 1734. It included a four-story high tower, commander's quarters, canon, a powder magazine, bakery and other buildings surrounded by an outer stone parapet wall that was nearly square and had six corner bastions covering about an acre. It was the base of three major French operations until July 1, 1759, when the British forced its 200-man garrison to blow up the tower and retreat.
The British did not build a new fort on top of the French ruins. Instead they took three years to construct a new fort, Fort Crown Point, adjacent. A stone and timber fortress, the new fort was a half mile in circumference and shaped like a pentagon. The parade ground covered six acres and contained three stone, two-story barracks, a guard house and an armory. The 40-foot high outer wall was 22-feet thick of timber and limestone, making it Britain's greatest military installation in North America.
Fort Crown Point was the launching point for British forces that brought about the surrender of Montreal in 1760. The fort was destroyed April 23, 1775, when a fire ignited the powder magazine and its 100 barrels of powder causing a huge explosion.
Americans captured the remains of the fort May 11, 1775, and its 111 canon. They transported 29 of the canon overland to Boston to lift the British siege.