The French first built a fortress at Crown Point in the 1730s with 12-foot (3.7 m) thick walls named Fort St. Frederic. British forces assaulted it twice during the French and Indian War before the French blew it up in the summer of 1759.
Fort Crown Point was constructed by the British army under the command of Sir Jeffery Amherst following the capture of Fort Carillon to the south (which he renamed Fort Ticonderoga) and the destruction of Fort St. Frédéric. Amherst used the construction of the fort as a means of keeping his men working through the winter of 1759 after pushing the French into modern Canada.
The Fort was never directly assaulted. Lacking the comforts of the smaller Fort Ticonderoga, it was used mostly for staging rather than as a position in its own right.
After the French and Indian War the British left only a skeletal force at the Fort, which yielded easily to the Americans in 1775 in the at the start of the American Revolution. The Fort was used as a staging ground by Benedict Arnold during the Revolution for his navy on Lake Champlain. After the destruction of that navy in 1776 during the Battle of Valcour Island, the Fort was abandoned to the British in 1777. Lacking strategic import, it was abandoned for good in 1780.
The large earthen walls of the Fort are still visible today. A massive, accidental fire in April 1773 entirely destroyed the log and earth fortress, leaving the empty stone ruins of two barracks buildings standing. These ruins still stand and are being carefully preserved.
The Fort was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1968.
Visits by Founding Fathers
- Benjamin Franklin, traveling to Canada, seeking an alliance against the British
- George Washington, July 21, 1783, the farthest north he ever traveled
- Future President James Madison in 1791
- Fort St. Frédéric
- Crown Point State Historic Site
- Crown Point State Historic Site at NYS OPRHP