Lake Champlain’s Rouses Point’s Pier was the most important station on the Champlain Line of the Underground Railroad which encompassed the geographical corridor between Albany and Troy and Canada’s Richelieu River. Located a mile below the international border, the bustling 100 foot dock and train depot was a landing for Lake Champlain steamboats and trains from New York City and Boston. Self emancipated men, women and children continued north on trains to Montreal or by rail to Ogdensburg, New York, where steamboats took them to refugee settlements in Canada West. For example, Maryland runaway Charlotte Gilchrist entered Canada on a train from the Champlain Valley in 1854. Two years later, Vermonters helped a fugitive evade his former master and a U.S. marshall and put him on a freight train bound for Canada. A man identified only as “Bill” was forwarded from Massachusetts to Vermont in 1859 with a note that he was not to be sent through Rouses Point because he might be seen and captured. In the winter of 1861, Mrs. Lavinia Bell escaped from Texas to Rouses Point where a Canadian Underground Railroad agent paid her fare to Montreal. Thus, Rouses Point’s Pier became a major transfer station where fugitives from slavery boarded trains for their final destinations in Upper and Lower Canada.
Visitor Information: Currently open to public.
Location: 50 Montgomery Street, Rouses Point, 12979
National Park Unit: No
Ownership: Michael O'Brian
Location Type: Site