Frequently Asked Questions

Were there Native Americans here?

They were the first inhabitants, coming to the area about 9,000 years ago after the glacial waters receded.  This was an important and strategic location to gather, cross the lake, and trade, including after the Europeans arrived in 1609. Their presence has continued to this day.

What is an “atlatl” and how do you pronounce it?

Atlatl is an Aztec word for this spear thrower that was used around the world before the development of the bow and arrow. It is pronounced at-lat-al, with the emphasis on “at.”  It provides the hunter with the ability to throw a spear or dart with more force and accuracy.

Where was the French fort and can I see it?

The French built a fort in 1731 on the flat area occupied by the Chimney Point tavern building, the lawn, and under the bridge. It was about 100’ x 100’.  Any evidence left is under the ground.  Some artifacts and more information are available inside, and on an outdoor interpretive sign (to be installed in 2013).

Where is the chimney?

In 1759 the French left this area, burning everything, and headed back to Canada as the British were getting closer.  The story is that all that remained were the chimneys, and after that people called this spot Chimney Point.  A chimney appears on this point on some drawings and paintings from 1759 and slightly later, but it is not known when it fell over or disappeared.  During the 2009-2010 archaeological investigations under the 1929 Lake Champlain Bridge,in preparation for the construction of a new bridge, an H-shaped fireplace base was discovered.  Chimney Point staff later noticed a c.1760 British map labeled “the chimney” on that approximate location.  The discovery appears to be the chimney of Chimney Point.  The chimney base is beneath the ground under the new bridge.

How old is the building?

The original 2 story tavern was built c.1785, after the American Revolution was over and it was safe to live here again.  The brick veneer was added in the very early 1800s, and additions were built soon after.  The wooden wing and the porches were added in the late 1800s.

Is that a new bridge?

Yes.  The bridge was built and opened in November 2011.  It replaced the original Lake Champlain Bridge, which opened in 1929 and had to be closed and demolished in 2009 for safety reasons.