Lake Champlain Bridge Commemorative Book cover.
Denton Publications and New Market Press recently released the 132-page “Lake Champlain Bridge Commemorative Book” to celebrate the new bridge connecting Crown Point, N.Y. and Chimney Point, Vt.
The book was released on Nov. 4, just three days before the span was opened to vehicular traffic on Nov. 7 following an hour-long ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“We felt an obligation to bridge the states of Vermont and New York, along with the counties of Addison and Essex, by printing a book filled with the shared history of Chimney Point and Crown Point,” said New Market Press Publisher Edward Coats. “After all, it’s a commitment we make every week covering Lake Champlain community news in The Addison Eagle, the Times of Ti and six other weekly newspapers.”
The 8.5-by-11-inch full-color glossy book includes 38 stories and more than 90 photographs and was produced by staff at the companies’ New York and Vermont newsrooms. The collection of memories was designed to explore the history of the original 1929 bridge and the construction of the new one.
“This book is a tribute to all those who worked night and day through the frigid cold of our North Country winters and the blistering summer heat to restore the Lake Champlain Bridge,” said Denton Publications Publisher Daniel Alexander. “None of us will ever cross this bridge without thinking of its importance to the people who live here and have come to depend so heavily on the strength of its existence.”
The editorial of the “Lake Champlain Commemorative Book” honored Carl F. Peterson, editor of the Essex County News in Port Henry, N.Y., who wrote an editorial in 1923 that eventually led to the construction of the 1929 bridge. There is also a copy of Peterson’s original editorial printed in the book so readers could see how it all started.
Contributors to the book were: Renee Cumm, of Peru; Andy Flynn, of Saranac Lake; John Gereau, of Westport; Fred Herbst, of Ticonderoga; Jon Hochschartner, of Lake Placid; Keith Lobdell, of Westport; Jeremiah Papineau, of Carthage; and Lou Varricchio, of Middlebury, Vt.
Stories for the bridge book were organized in four categories: 1) old bridge, 2) bridge transition, 3) new bridge, and 4) historical resources from both sides of Lake Champlain.
Old bridge: The history of the 1929 bridge is fully explored with timelines of its construction (1923-1929) and its lifespan (1929-2009); personal stories from people who had attended the Aug. 26, 1929 opening ceremony; a story about how the steamer Vermont III dictated the height of the span; and an investigative piece exploring why Ticonderoga’s lobbying efforts to have the bridge built in that community fell short. There is also a story about the lake’s first bridge, built in 1776 between Fort Ticonderoga, N.Y. and Mount Independence, Vt.
Bridge transition: When the original Lake Champlain Bridge was closed on Oct. 16, 2009, residents and visitors were forced to make a 100-mile commute around the lake before a free 24-hour ferry was opened next to the bridge site on Feb. 1, 2010. Stories explore the impact of the bridge’s closure to businesses, commuters, lake security and the ferry. There is also a story about blowing up the original bridge with explosives on Dec. 28, 2009.
New bridge: Stories documenting the construction of the new Lake Champlain Bridge include interviews with the designer Ted Zoli and builders at Flatiron Construction; naming the new bridge; the impact the bridge construction had on tourism in Port Henry and Crown Point; and the historic journey of the bridge arch, which was floated from Port Henry to Crown Point on Aug. 26, 2011, exactly 82 years after the first bridge opened.
Historical resources: The book features resources on Lake Champlain history from the Crown Point State Historic Site, the Chimney Point State Historic Site, and the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vergennes.