Historic Crown Point Road / Indian Road
National Register Nomination Information:
One hiker's description of typical sections of the present Crown Point Road which winds through Vermont countryside between the Connecticut River from Fort No.4 to the North Springfield Lake Flood Control Reservoir is as follows:
One half mile north of the Cheshire Toll Bridge is a tablet set in stone marking the site of the ferry and block house. This is where the Crown Point Road crosses the Connecticut River from Fort No. 4 and starts winding its way over the Vermont hills toward Crown Point, New York, on Lake Champlain.
The hiker will take a logging road a few yards south of this marker and climb the hill about 1/2 mile to the old cemetery. From the small cemetery the hiker follows the logging road northwest about a mile to Interstate 91. One has to watch very closely for the orange paint marks on the trees which mark the road through the thick woods. At times some of the original logs that were used for the road-bed may be found. This type of road, with log crossways, is called a corduroy road, and was used to keep the heavy cannons out of the mud.
A few hundred yards past I-91 the hiker crosses Spencer Hollow Brook and climbs the hill through an open field to the Bullard place on the Spencer Hollow Road. For the next two miles the Crown Point Road follows closely, and sometimes exactly, the present town roads, Most all evidence of the old road is blotted out by more modern roads.
Just north of Peggy's spring the road takes to the open pastures, cuts across the corner by the old cemetery, and over the hill through more open pasture. On this section the hiker may see some evidence of the road where it cut into the land on the hillsides. There is an old corduroy road visible in the swamp.
The next section, in the Town of Weathersfield, from the golf course to the Crown Point Camping Area is a fine hiking trail through a heavily wooded area. Here much evidence of the old military road may be seen as the trail winds its way around and over the steep hillsides. Beyond the golf course the hiker must watch for the orange paint markers on the trees and rocks in the thick woods. This section is cleared by the boy scouts and the old Indian Road is very clearly defined in spots.
The wooded trail continues to a famous wild flower garden and through a gate in a deer fence through an apple orchard. From here one follows a dirt road north to marker then into the woods. It is a short walk to a small brook crossed by an old stone bridge. From here it is a fairly easy trail down the hill to a town road leading to the wild pine plantation that is now the Crown Point Camping Area. The road passes here through the northeast corner of the adjoining cemetery. The original ten mile marker on the Crown Point Road is still there about a half mile on the other side of Branch Brook.
The road continues for about 1-1/2 miles through North Springfield Lake Flood Control Reservoir over varying terrain. It closely parallels the original Indian Road most of the way through heavy woods where it has been designated by orange paint markers on the trees. In other places it follows newer dirt roads or open fields. Part of the original Crown Point Road is still evident in the reservoir area.
Preceding the Revolution, during the French and Indian War, one of the most frequently traveled "roads" in Vermont was by way of Lake Champlain, Otter Creek and the Black River. The southeastern part of this route was long known as the "Indian Road." In 1744 Fort No.4 was erected close to the Connecticut River in what is now known as Charlestown, New Hampshire. Its commander carried as a major responsibility a duty to keep scouts or rangers on the "Indian Road" to give notice of the coming of the enemy. In August of 1759 General Amherst sent 200 Rangers under command of Captain Stark to construct a road from Crown Point to Lake Champlain to Fort No. 4 through the wilderness. A road 20 feet wide was completed for 77-1/2 miles by 1760. In many places this road paralleled or coincided with the "Indian Road." The celebrated scout Major Rogers, of Rogers Rangers fame, is known to have traveled this route before and after completion of the road. From 1760 until the outbreak of the Revolution there was little use made of the Crown Point Road for military purposes. However, during the Revolution it was in frequent use and early in 1777 three New Hampshire regiments passed over the road to rendezvous at Ticonderoga, New York. It may be difficult for us today to recognize the very important part the Crown Point Road played in American history. First it was traced by Indians, then more sharply by Rogers, Stark and others in the establishment of the English speaking supremacy of the American continent. The facts of history are that the French had discovered and settled Canada and that the Indian tribes were there allies and hostile to settlers in New England where the English were trying to gain a stronghold. They had to hold New England and New York so as to control the routes to the West, Lake George and Lake Champlain, with their fortifications, were then regarded as of utmost importance. It is clear that the Crown Point Road, opening the door from Massachusetts and New Hampshire to these forts became a key in the defense, as troops and supplies could then be rushed to the fighting armies. There are three main reasons for remembering the Crown Point Road: first, it was largely instrumental in deciding the outcome of the French and Indian War and thus had significant military value; second, it helped to determine that this continent became English rather than French; and thirdly, we will remember the road because of the many names associated with it: Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys, Rogers Rangers, General Amherst and General Stark who, with an army of men subdued the wilderness and through their sacrifices and steadfastness willed us a heritage of freedom.
DATE ENTERED: December 2, 1974.
BACK TO NATIONAL REGISTER PROPERTIES