The Lake Champlain Quadricentennial brought some renewed attention to the lakes many shipwrecks. These Lake Champlain, particularly Burlington, shipping disasters must have been easily viewed from Burlington's Hill Section, where many of the historic homes here still feature widows walks. From these rooftop perches, captains could view their ships at anchor in Burlington Harbor and captains wives could view the safe return of their spouses.
Lake Champlain Historic Shipwrecks
Lake Champlain is home to more that 300 historic shipwrecks! A recent Vermont Public Radio series details these historic shipping disasters on Lake Champlain (History Under the Waves).
This fascinating series describes the sinking of several ships including one of the first steamboats in the United States. The Phoenix was a side-wheel steamer active during the early 1800s. It sank engulfed in flames after a pantry fire spread throughout the ship on September 5, 1819. The ship sank just north of Burlington at Colchester Reef.
The tale of this disaster includes casualties, a theft, a lifeboat shortage, and the bravery of a substitute captain (the ships captain was home with the flu, his son filled in for him on this momentous occasion). Learn more about the Phoenix.