“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Peru in Clinton County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Lakes to Locks Passage

The Great Northeast Journey

— Lake Champlain Region —

Lakes to Locks Passage Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, March 28, 2022
1. Lakes to Locks Passage Marker
( left panel )
Lakes to Locks Passage takes you through a spectacular landscape laden with history. Follow this map to find your way through four story-filled regions that connect the historic waters of Lake Champlain and Lake George with the Champlain Canal and Hudson River to the south and the Chambly Canal to the Richelieu and St. Lawrence Rivers of Quebec to the north.

Waypoint Communities are poised to greet the traveler along Lakes to Locks Passage, offering sites to visit, lodging, dining and shopping experiences. Streams of history flow through these valleys, reflecting "lives” that continue to unfold. Be sure to visit the Waypoint Community Heritage Centers located throughout the region for interpretive exhibits that reveal the stories of the Four Lives of Lakes to Locks Passage.

The Four Lives
Natural Forces and Native Peoples shaped the landscape and culture of the inland waterway rich with resources.

Conflict and Settlement traces the exploration, warfare and peacekeeping activities of nation-building along the waterway.

Local Section of Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, March 28, 2022
2. Local Section of Marker
Click or scan to see
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of Commerce
explores the trade in furs, timber, stone, minerals, farm products and technology that flows through these valleys. Magnet for Tourism reveals the evolution of tourism and stewardship of the environment.

(left illustration) American row galleys and flagship Saratoga engage the British brig Linnet in Plattsburgh Bay in this detail of "MacDonough's Victory on Lake Champlain” by Henry Reinagle, 1816.

(right photo) Overlooking Lake George. Photo by Gary Randorf.

( right panel )

Legend is that early settlers thought that the mountains surrounding the town resembled those of Peru in South America, which is how the Town earned its name in 1795. Quakers established a settlement known as "The Union” in 1789 near the present Keese Homestead and Quaker Cemetery, on what is now Union Rd. These early Quaker settlers, or "Friends” as they preferred to be called, were mainly farmers that came from Dutchess County, N.Y. and previously England. In the mid-19th century, the Quaker heritage and Peru's location on the easily navigable waterway made the Town a hotbed for abolitionist activities. Many residents illegally harbored fugitive slaves, and assisted their trek across the Canadian border.

Harvesting abundant timber became Peru's first industry. John Cochran founded the Village of
Lakes to Locks Passage Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, March 28, 2022
3. Lakes to Locks Passage Marker
Peru in about 1795 when he built a house, sawmill, gristmill as well as a house for his miller on the banks of the Little AuSable River. On this site, A. Mason & Sons Lumber Mill flourished for nearly a century, from 1883 to 1972. Specializing in finished lumber the mill was the town's largest employer for most of those years.

After the lands were cleared of timber, the area's rich and fertile soil gave rise to agriculture, which persists to this day in the form of dairy farms and extensive apple orchards, several with excellent roadside stands. A record number of clear days, a rolling landscape and cool nights, provides for excellent apple growing conditions. Lake access is used for recreation these days, with a NYS boat launch just south of the Silver Stream outlet and a lovely State day beach and campground where the AuSable River greets the lake.

Points of Interest
•   The AuSable River and the Little AuSable River meet at the AuSable Marsh Wildlife Management Area forming a broad marsh that is ideal for walking, snowshoeing, nature study, fishing, hunting and canoeing. This extensive marsh hosts thousands of migrating birds in spring and fall and attracts flocks of birding enthusiasts.

•   Put your boat in at the Peru Boat Launch or the State Boat Ramp, on the access road to AuSable Point State Park.

•   In the center
Lakes to Locks Passage Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, March 28, 2022
4. Lakes to Locks Passage Marker
of the hamlet Heyworth/Mason Town Park contains the only surviving building of this once busy mill site, as well as trails and interpretive signs.

•   Accessible only by boat, Valcour Island State Park offers primitive camping, hiking, and bird watching. The 1874 lighthouse was decommissioned in 1931. To schedule an appointment to visit the lighthouse, contact the Clinton County Historical Association.

•   Surrounded by state land, Macomb Reservation State Park has a wilderness atmosphere. Visitors can swim in man-made Davis Pond, use non-motorized boats, and fish in the pond or the Salmon River. The park has a self-guided nature trail, a hiking trail and camping.

•   The Babbie Rural and Farm Learning Centre offers visitors an entertaining environment where visitors can learn about rural and farm life in the Champlain Valley and Adirondacks prior to the 1950s with hands-on demonstrations.

•   Mother Cabrini's Shrine at St Patrick's Oratory was built to honor Frances Xavier Cabrini, the first U.S. citizen to be declared a saint of the Catholic Church. For several years after it was dedicated in 1947 the stone grotto shrine, and later stations of the cross, saw thousands of pilgrims visit for her help and cures. A beautiful wooden pavilion has recently been built around the shrine to protect it from the elements. The scenic view from this site
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is spectacular.

•   To the south, Keeseville is home to the North Star Underground Railroad Museum, which interprets the Champlain Line of the Underground Railroad, Take a guided or self-guided trip along the Underground Railroad Freedom Trail and discover the homes of Peru residents Stephen Keese Smith and Samuel Keese, which are documented "stations” along the Underground Railroad.

•   To the north, Plattsburgh is home to the U.S Oval Historical District, which claimed to be the oldest continuous combat installation in the United States until it closed in 1995. When the Plattsburgh Air Force Base opened in 1953, thousands of military personnel settled in Peru. Today, the U.S. Oval is home to a museum campus.

phone: (518) 597-9660
PO Box 65, Crown Point, NY 12928

( photo captions )
—   Peru Landing and Port Jackson grew into very busy ports where white pine and other timber were shipped by raft to Quebec. The bustling ports led to rail lines and stations being built at Valcour, Lapham's Mills and Peru Village. Port Jackson is now the site of the Valcour Conference Center. Image from Balou's Pictorial Drawing Room Companion, March 5, 1859 courtesy of the Town of Peru Historian's Collection
—   Springtime
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at the Irwin Farm, Jarvis Road. Image courtesy of John Ryan.
—   On October 11, 1776, the Revolutionary War put Peru's waterfront on the world stage as Benedict Arnold led a tiny, makeshift American Navy against a seasoned British force in the channel between Peru's shore and Valcour Island. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress
Erected by NEw York State, Scenic Byways NY, America's Byways.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Settlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical date for this entry is March 5, 1859.
Location. 44° 34.797′ N, 73° 26.466′ W. Marker is near Peru, New York, in Clinton County. Marker is at the intersection of U.S. 9 and Ausable Point Road, on the right when traveling north on U.S. 9. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Peru NY 12972, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Peru Landing (approx. 0.4 miles away); Bear Swamp Road (approx. 0.6 miles away); To Site of Peru Blockhouse (approx. 0.6 miles away); Jonas Platt Home (approx. 1.2 miles away); Robert Platt Home (approx. 1.3 miles away); Port Jackson (approx. 1.8 miles away); Battle of Valcour (approx. 1.8 miles away); Peru’s First Settler (approx. 2.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Peru.
Also see . . .  Welcome to Lakes to Locks Passage. (Submitted on April 5, 2022, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
Credits. This page was last revised on April 5, 2022. It was originally submitted on March 30, 2022, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. This page has been viewed 95 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on March 30, 2022, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. • Michael Herrick was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 28, 2023