Champlain Memorial Lighthouse

The site of the Champlain Memorial Lighthouse has a rich historic past. It was originally occupied by a windmill, built by the French in 1737. The Champlain Memorial Lighthouse rises from a small point of land just south of the Champlain Bridge. The construction of the lighthouse memorial was a joint effort of the States of New York and Vermont (two small memorials flanking the lighthouse are inscribed with the names of the members of the two commissioners) as part of the 300th anniversary celebration of Champlain's "discovery" of the lake. Incorporating the memorial with a lighthouse seemed a fitting way to commemorate an explorer and navigator of Champlain's stature. Facing the water, a statue of Champlain, flanked by a Native American and a French Voyageur, was sculpted by American, Carl Auguste Heber. Below the figures is the bust "LaFrance," an exquisite bronze bust sculpted by the famous Frenchman, Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) and spontaneously presented by the French government in May 1912.

Auguste Rodin was hailed as a magician and miracle worker, poet and philosopher, sublime genius, and master sculptor. By 1900, He was considered to be France's greatest living artist. He is best known for his sculpture of "The Thinker." When it was dedicated May 3, 1912, the president of the French delegation remarked in two short sentences: "The United States is raising a monument to a Frenchman, and France sends you, through us, her tribute of gratitude. Once more, the two great democracies are thinking and acting in unison." At the rededication ceremonies in 1959 Congressman John Lindsay's address included, "This monument is a noble testimony to the friendship of two great nations and their abiding respect for enduring traditions."

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