Lighthouses of the United States: Vermont
As its name suggests, the U.S. state of Vermont is located in the
Green Mountains south of the Canadian border and northeast of New
York. This is far from the ocean, but the state has half a dozen lighthouses
nonetheless. These lighthouses are on the eastern side of Lake Champlain,
which is part of an international waterway connecting the St. Lawrence
and Hudson Rivers. The lake drains northward to the St. Lawrence through
the Richelieu River, and it is connected to the Hudson by the Champlain
six more lighthouses on the west side of the lake in the state of New
York. For almost 70 years none of the Lake Champlain lighthouses
was active, but starting in 2002 the Coast Guard has reactivated
several lighthouses in each state. Lighthouse Digest has
a December 2002 article on
the relighting effort.
At one time there were also three lighthouses on the Vermont side of Lake Memphremagog,
but none of these towers have survived.
Navigational aids in the United States are operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, but ownership (and sometimes operation) of historic lighthouses has been transferred to local authorities and preservation organizations in many cases. Lighthouses on Lake Champlain are operated by the Coast Guard First District in Boston, Massachusetts.
ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. USCG numbers
are from Vol. I of the USCG Light List.
- General Sources
- New England Lighthouses:
A Virtual Guide - Vermont
- Outstanding historical accounts and photos by Jeremy D'Entremont.
- Excellent photos and historical accounts posted by Kraig Anderson.
Guard Lighthouses - Vermont
- Historic photos and notes posted by the U.S. Coast Guard Historian's
USA auf historischen Postkarten
- Historic postcard images of U.S. lighthouses posted by Klaus Huelse.
- Lake Memphremagog Lighthouses
- Historic postcard images posted by Michel Forand.
Windmill Point Light, Alburg, June 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Jimmy Emerson
- Chittenden County (Burlington Area) Lighthouses
- **** Colchester
- 1871 (Albert Dow, designer). Inactive since 1933 (a decorative light
is displayed). 35 ft (11 m) square cylindrical wood tower with lantern
and gallery, mounted on a 2-story wood keeper's house. The original
fog bell is mounted beside the tower. Jimmy Emerson's photo is at right,
Anderson also has a good page for
the lighthouse, Jim Millard has a fine photo,
and Google has a street view and a satellite
view. The designer, Albert Dow, was a Vermont native. Numerous
lighthouses of his design were built, including Rose Island, Sabin
Point, and Pomham Rocks in Rhode Island, Bridgeport Harbor and Penfield
Reef in Connecticut, and Esopus Meadows, North Brother Island, North
Dumpling, and Long Beach Bar in New York. The lighthouse was closed
in 1933, and a battery-powered light was
installed on a skeletal tower next to the building. The lighthouse
was relocated in 1952 to the Shelburne Museum. The museum's web site
includes a page on
the lighthouse, and the Coast Guard has a small historic
photo of the lighthouse at its original location. In September
2006 a light was lit in the lantern for the first time since 1933.
In the spring of 2009, the museum excavated and repaired the foundations
of the building. Located on US 7 about 7 miles (11 km) south of Burlington.
Site open; lighthouse open daily (admission fee)
mid May through October 31. Owner/site manager: Shelburne
Museum. ARLHS USA-182.
- 1846 (station established 1826). Inactive since 1954. 25 ft (7.5
m) round cast iron tower with lantern
and gallery. Tower painted white, lantern black. The original keeper's house burned in 1962. Wood fog bell house preserved. The oldest of
the ten surviving Lake Champlain lighthouses, this is also the oldest
surviving cast iron lighthouse in the U.S. Anderson has a fine page for
the lighthouse, the Coast Guard has a historic
photo of the light station, and the lighthouse is seen
in a Google aerial
view. The present owners completed
rebuilding the 2-story brick keeper's house in summer 2003, and by 2010 they had restored and repainted the light tower; Lynn and Tony Querrey have a photo (almost halfway down the page).
This lighthouse won't be reactivated, however, because trees nearby
have grown tall enough to obscure its light. Located on Juniper Island,
about 5 mi (8 km) west southwest of Burlington. Site and tower closed.
Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-410.
Colchester Reef Light, Shelburne, June 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Jimmy Emerson
- Juniper Island (4?)
- 2003 (station established 1826). Active; focal plane 125 ft (38 m); white flash
every 4 s. Approx. 40 ft (12 m) square cylindrical skeletal tower. Anderson has a photo, Jim Millard has a view from the lake, and Google has an aerial view. Located a short distance southwest of the historic lighthouse. Site and tower closed.
Owner/site manager: private. USCG 1-39710.
Breakwater South (1) (replica)
- 2003 (replica of 1857 lighthouse). Active. 26 ft (8 m) square pyramidal
wood tower with a small square lantern. Lighthouse painted white. Anderson's page has additional photos, Lighthouse Digest has a photo
by Shirin Pagels, and Google has an aerial
view. Like the north light, this tower was completed
in September 2003. Lighthouse Digest has D'Entremont's story
on the reconstruction. The original tower was destroyed by a storm
in 1876 and replaced by a larger tower; the Coast Guard has a historic
photo of the second light. Located on the breakwater near Perkins
Pier, just south of the ferry terminal. Accessible only by boat
(the breakwater does not connect to the shore); in the summer there's a good
view from ferries between Burlington and Port Kent, New York. Site
open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: City
of Burlington. ARLHS USA-1106; USCG 1-39680.
Breakwater North (2) (replica)
- 2003 (replica of 1890 lighthouse; station established 1857). Active;
focal plane 35 ft (11 m); white flash every 2.5 s. 35 ft (11 m)
square pyramidal wood tower with lantern and gallery. Fog horn (2
s blast every 15 s). Lighthouse painted white; lantern dome painted
red. Rob Friesel's photo is at right, Anderson has a good page for the lighthouse, Lighthouse
Digest has one of D'Entremont's photos
of the replica, the Coast Guard has a historic
photo of the original lighthouse, and Google has an aerial
view. A keeper's house built for this station, but never occupied
by a keeper, was relocated to Archibald Street onshore and is
used as a private residence. The lighthouse, which replaced a
35 ft (11 m) skeletal tower, was completed
in September 2003. Located on a short detached breakwater north
of the ferry terminal in downtown Burlington. Accessible only by
boat. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: City
of Burlington. ARLHS USA-1105; USCG 1-39615.
- [Colchester Reef (3)]
- 1952 (station established 1871). Active; focal plane 51 ft (16 m); white
flash every 4 s. Square skeletal tower mounted on the crib of the historic
Colchester Reef lighthouse (see below). The tower carries diamond-shaped
daymarks painted in a green and white checkerboard pattern. A closeup photo
is available, Anderson has a photo,
and Google has a satellite
view. Also, the Coast Guard has a small historic
photo of the original light station. The lighthouse was relocated
in 1952 to the Shelburne Museum south of Burlington (see below). Located
about 1500 yards (1370 m) off Colchester Point, north of Burlington; should
be easily visible from shore. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS
USA-182H; USCG 1-39540.
Burlington Breakwater North Light, October 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo
by Rob Friesel
Grande Isle County (Northern Lake Champlain) Lighthouses
La Motte (1)
- 1829 (inactive since 1856). 2-story stone house. A light was displayed
from a second story window until a stone beacon was built in 1856.
Site closed. Owner/site manager: private.
- Isle La Motte
- 1881 (station established 1829). Reactivated (inactive 1933-2002);
focal plane 46 ft (14 m); white flash every 4 s. 25 ft (7.5 m) round
cast iron tower with lantern and gallery; 300 mm lens. Painted red
years ago, the tower has faded to a faint rose color; the lantern
is more freshly painted red. Fog bell (inactive). A sibling of Ten
Pound Island Light in Massachusetts. The original 1-1/2 story wood
keeper's house is now a private residence. Jimmy Emerson's photo is at
right, Anderson has an excellent page with good photos,
Marinas.com has aerial
photos, and Google has a satellite
view. The light was moved to
a nearby skeletal
tower in 1933, but the Coast Guard returned the light to the
lighthouse on 12 October 2002. Located on La Brecque Road at the northern end of Isle
La Motte. The island is connected to the Vermont shore of the
lake by a bridge off VT 129. Site and tower closed. Owner/site
manager: private. ARLHS USA-405; USCG 1-39165.
- Isle La Motte (4)
- 1933. Inactive since 2002. Approx. 40 ft (12 m) square skeletal
tower with an enclosed equipment shelter in the base. Tower painted
black, equipment shelter white. D'Entremont has a photo, and Google has a satellite view.
In March 2014, the Coast Guard announced it would remove the skeletal tower, unless someone wants to take ownership of it. Located adjacent to the historic lighthouse. Site and tower closed.
- 1858. Reactivated (inactive 1931-2002); focal plane 52 ft (16 m);
white flash every 4 s. 40 ft (12 m) octagonal limestone tower with
lantern and gallery, attached by a passageway to a 1-1/2 story granite
keeper's house; 300 mm lens. Originally red, the lantern has faded
to orange. Jimmy Emerson's photo is at the top of this page, Anderson's page also has
Huelse has a historic postcard
view, the Coast Guard has a historic
photo, and Google has a satellite
view. The lighthouse, a sibling of the Point aux Roches
Light in New York, marks the northern end of the
the lake and the entrance to the Richelieu River. The light
was moved to a skeletal tower in 1931, but with the cooperation
of the owner the Coast Guard returned the light to the lighthouse
on 7 August 2002. The skeletal tower remains. The light
station is a private residence. Located at the end of Windmill
Point Road, off US 2, opposite Rouses Point, New York. Site
and tower closed. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS USA-895;
Isle La Motte Light, Isle La Motte, June 2008
Creative Commons photo
by Jimmy Emerson
- Windmill Point (2)
- 1931. Inactive since 2002 and largely demolished in 2013. Approx. 60 ft (18 m) square skeletal
tower with an enclosed equipment shelter in the base. Tower painted
black, equipment shelter white. Anderson has a photo, and Google has a satellite view.
In November 2013 a contractor for the Coast Guard demolished most of the tower; property owner Rob Clark salvaged the base and mounted the upper portion on it to create a miniature version of the original. Located adjacent to the historic lighthouse. Site and tower closed.
Information available on lost lighthouses:
Point (1879-?), Lake Memphremagog. Forand has a historic postcard view. ARLHS USA-1039.
Wharf (1879-?), Lake Memphremagog. ARLHS USA-1040.
Point (Newport Stake) (1879-?), Lake Memphremagog. Forand has a postcard view of the original lighthouse, and another historic photo that shows that lighthouse collapsing into the lake in 1906. There is still a light at this location, off the west side of the lake north of Newport; Google has a satellite view. It is the only USCG-maintained light on the lake. ARLHS USA-425; USCG 1-40100.
Notable faux lighthouses:
- Newport (2011), Lake Memphremagog. This lighthouse is not intended as a navigational aid; it serves as the ticket booth for tours of the lake on the excursion boat Newport Belle. A closeup and another photo are available, and Google has a street view and a satellite view.
Adjoining pages: North: Southeastern Québec
| West: Upstate New York
Return to the Lighthouse Directory index | Ratings key
Posted 2001. Checked and revised December 29, 2014. Lighthouses:
10. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill.