CROWN POINT - The Crown Point State Historic Site will mark its centennial during the annual Festival of Nations.
The Friends of Crown Point Historic Site have planned a reception at the site Saturday, Sept. 18, at 1 p.m. to commemorate 100 years as a state-owned historic site.
The site will host an informal bring-your-own picnic hour with picnic tables under a tent prior to the centennial ceremony. The Friends reception will take place rain or shine.
The historic fort ruins at Crown Point became a permanently-preserved state park April 22, 1910.
The annual Festival of Nations will be held Sept. 17 and 18 at the site. It notes the heritage of nations which left a deep imprint on this region: Canada, France, Great Britain, Native American Indian tribes and the United States. The event is co-hosted by Mount Independence in Orwell, Vt.
Students from New York and Vermont will attend the Festival of Nations Sept. 17 for education programs.
Students will be able to attend an 18th Century British and American concert by Linda Russell at 9:15 and again at 11:40 a.m.
Storyteller Jonathan Kruk will portray "Peter Kalm, Traveling Botanist" at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the museum. The first-person performance brings to life the Scandinavian botanist who arrived at Crown Point's Fort St. Fr d ric on July 2, 1749, and stayed for 18 days, all the while noting the landscape, fossils, plant and animal life, and the food production of the French military.
Paul R. Huey, PhD, a career archeologist and researcher, will lead 30-minute indoor tours of the archeological artifacts in the exhibit galleries at Crown Point State Historic Site's museum building at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
John Grady of the New York State Department of Transportation will teach locally-relevant bridge building lessons in the pavilion at 12:30 p.m., comparing the 1929 original and the 2011 replacement Lake Champlain Bridge.
After the school day, the public is invited to return to the museum auditorium at 7 p.m. for a first-person performance of British General Amherst, portrayed by English-born Howard Burnham. His subject is the career of the military leader whose troops founded the largest British fort in North America (Crown Point), created Crown Point's 1759 British fleet on Lake Champlain, and built the 77-mile-long Crown Point military road from Bridport, Vt., across the Green Mountains to Charlestown, N.H., on the Connecticut River.
The festival will continue Sept. 18.
Tom Hughes, Crown Point State Historic Site manager, will speak on the site's history at 9:20 a.m. in the museum.
Charlotte Mehrtens from the University of Vermont, will lead an outdoor walking tour, "Geologic History of the Champlain Basin as Understood from Crown Point rocks," at 10 a.m. Participants should park their vehicles and gather at the pavilion.
At 11 a.m. Bruce Sterling will present "Flat site archeological discoveries" in museum auditorium.
A display of early postcards of Crown Point State Historic Site, shown by owner/collector William Trombley, will be available 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the museum gallery.
The centennial celebration will begin at 11:55 a.m. with the bring-your-own picnic lunch with bagpipe music by Michael Murdock. A program by the Friends of Crown Point State Historic Site will be at 12:45 p.m. and the centennial cake-cutting Ceremony will be at 1 p.m.
Afternoon programs include "How We Built the new Crown Point Scale Model" by Clarke Dunham and Delia Bowstead at 1:15 p.m. in the museum auditorium; a viewing of "Eye of the Storm," the high-def audio-visual show, at 1:45 p.m. in the auditorium; "35 years of Bird Banding during May at Crown Point State Historic Site," presented by retired forest ranger, naturalist, and author Gary Lee, at 2 p.m. in the museum; a slide lecture on 18th and 19th century lime kilns by Victor Rolando at 3 p.m. in the museum; and a visit to an on-site lime kiln with Rolando at 3:45 p.m. at a remote outdoor location.
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.
For more information, contact Crown Point State Historic Site at 597-4666 or visit www.nysparks.com