In 1853, Henry B. Smith, collector of customs at Plattsburgh stated the need for a lighthouse at Crown Point. His reasoning was that those used to navigating Lake Champlain felt a light to guide vessels through the narrow channel between Crown Point and Chimney Point was needed more than at any other point on the lake. Construction began in 1858. Crown Point Lighthouse originally consisted of a fifty-five-foot-tall octagonal limestone tower connected to a wooden, Cape-Cod-style cottage.
Looking for a way to honor the man who discovered Lake Champlain, a committee was established to plan a tri-centennial event beginning on July 4, 1909. Inspired by a suggestion published in a local newspaper, which proposed that a local lighthouse be converted in his honor, Crown Point Lighthouse was eventually chosen to become a memorial to Samuel de Champlain.
Completed in time for the celebration, the memorial is one of the most unique and decorative lighthouses in the country. Surrounded by eight columns, and topped with an ornate cornice, parapet and lantern room, the memorial surrounds the original interior brick and spiral staircase. A bronze sculpture, depicting Champlain, a Huron Indian and French soldier, was designed by Carl Heber.
Famous French sculptor, Auguste Rodin, also donated a bronze bust. Gearing up for another celebration, the site began a restoration project in 2004 for the 400 year anniversary of Champlain's discovery.
The lighthouse is owned by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Grounds open, tower open to the public in season.