The Crown Point Road–Vermont’s first interstate highway

In 1759, the British Government surveyed, constructed, and paid for Vermont’s first interstate highway.

Named the Crown Point Road, it was built during the French and Indian War because, following England’s defeat of French forces at Forts Carrilon and St. Frederic on Lake Champlain, British General Jeffery Amherst, wanted to pursue the French into Canada, but desperately needed to replenish troops and supplies.  Amherst needed a quicker route to Crown Point than using the slow and cumbersome passage up the Hudson River and through Lake George with all the overland portages that route required.

Granite marker placed alongside Route 131 in the town of Amsden.

For centuries, native Americans in this area had followed the waterways leading from Canada to the coast.  One of the most-traveled routes connected Lake Champlain and the Connecticut River following Otter Creek and the Black River.  Coincidentally, this footpath led from Amherst’s strategic position at Crown Point, New York to an important military post, Fort No. 4 on the Connecticut River.  Using this route, Amherst tasked Captain John Stark, commanding Rogers Rangers, to cut and mark the road which was then constructed, and served to aid the British during the remainder of the French Indian War.

During the American Revolution, Colonial militias, schooled by the British during the French Indian War, turned the tables on the British and utilized this road to their own advantage, contributing to the ultimate British defeat.  After the Revolution, this road played a huge part as a conduit for the great influx of settlers coming to the area to establish many of the towns and homesteads that still exist today.

Bronze plate alongside Meadowbrook Farm Road in the town of Reading.

Although much of this road has grown over, there is still a wooded trail, with stone markers placed along the way, that runs from Charlestown, New Hampshire to Chimney Point, Vermont.  The Crown Point Road Association, organizes hikes along this historic route from time to time.  Check their website for more information.

By |2012-09-20T11:03:43+00:00September 20th, 2012|Historic Roots & Local Lore|