CHAMPLAIN - Efforts to tout the history in the Northern Tier have just gotten a shot in the arm.
The village of Champlain was recently named the recipient of a War of 1812 Interpretive Trail Wayside Exhibit Grant through the Lake Champlain Basin Program, Grand Isle, Vt. The grant - valued at $1,500 - will provide "interpretation, translation and design assistance along with complete fabricated interpretive signs" as part of a plan by the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership to develop a War of 1812 Interpretive Trail commemorating the 200th anniversary of the conflict.
Bilingual interpretive panels will be erected in the village at the historic home of village founder Pliny Moore on Oak Street and a stone farmhouse on Prospect Street that was used as a British commissary when the British marched to Plattsburgh in September 1814. The Pliny Moore home is currently owned by Reginald F. Clark and occupied by M.B. Clark Funeral Home; the stone farmhouse is currently owned and occupied by Allen Racine.
David Patrick of Colchester, Vt. - whose descendants hail from Champlain and who has long been a proponent of Champlain history - spearheaded the effort for the village's grant application. Patrick, who is also known locally for creating annual calendars that depict historic places and events in the Champlain area, said he was particularly interested in the village obtaining interpretive panels to educate others on the history with which he and many others are already familiar.
"The town of Champlain, especially the village, saw more military activity than any other village in the county during the War of 1812," said Patrick. "Champlain was a revolving door for military on both sides of the border. There's a lot of history in the town of Champlain that's just waiting to be talked about. What I'm trying to do is bring out this history through my calendars and other material, and through these panels."
The two locations are among the most recent to receive funding for interpretive panels through Patrick's efforts. Previously, grants for panels were awarded and used for panels at Point au Fer and St. Mary's Church. Last November, the town of Champlain was awarded a grant for an interpretive panel at the former Dewey's Tavern, located at the intersection of State Route 276 and Prospect Hill Road. The building there was where two of the four Prisoner of War treaties negotiated during the War of 1812 were signed and was home to American and British army encampments during the conflict.
The Dewey's Tavern interpretive panel and panels for the Pliny Moore home and stone farmhouse are expected to be completed and installed later this summer.