Monitor and Merrimack 

Find a history steeped in iron ore culture. Discover Lake Champlain’s role in the American Civil War, at a time when ironclad warships took the stage for the first time. A new era in navel warfare began with the battle between two iron warships, the Monitor and the Merrimack, during the American Civil War’s Battle of Hampton Roads.

Learn about the race between the Union and the Confederates to acquire iron ship, and discover why the Monitor was unlike any other ship built before it. Lake Champlain’s part in this epic Civil War battle literally came from deep within the ground of the Adirondacks. The iron used to build the Monitor was mined in the nearby hamlet of Hammondville, separated in Ironville, processed in Crown Point and shipped by railroad along Lake Champlain. 


Ironville’s other claim to fame is as the birthplace of the Electrical Age. Ironville was the first site for the industrial application of electricity in the United States. Iron from the Adirondacks had many uses throughout history.

Discover for yourself

Lake Champlain’s rich iron history is waiting for you to come and explore. Plan a visit to the Penfield Homestead Museum, dedicated to preserving the area’s history of the ironworking industry, or to the Moriah Historical Society and Iron Center Museum, with its railroad and mining exhibits. You can also follow the steps of the USS Monitor on a self-guided tour.

Come for the history and stay for the beauty, recreation and relaxation that is unique to Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Coast.

An exhibit at the Moriah Historical Society.


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