August 15, 2005 Lois McClure
Ship's Log


Art Cohn

Art Cohn is the Executive Director of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. He is a professional diver and has coordinated and participated in Lake Champlain's archaeological projects for the past twenty years. Cohn is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology at both the University of Vermont and Texas A&M University. He serves aboard Lois McClure as a tugboat operator and able-bodied crew member.

August 16 & 17, 2005
As the schooner Lois McClure tours down to the World Financial Center in New York City, her sponsors, including Cabot Creamery and the State of Vermont, are setting up two days of fun and activities, showcasing all that Vermont has to offer.

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Many Thanks to our Sponsors, without whom this trip would not have been possible:


West Point, Constitution Island
Art Cohn

What a great experience it was visiting these two special historic venues. Located at the entrance to the Highlands at what is known as “World’s End”, this is the deepest and most dynamic part of the river. While at West Point we had the great pleasure of having Lois herself, daughter Barbara and son-in-law Bill Benedict, a West Point alum, aboard.

During the American Revolution, to prevent the British from invading up the Hudson from the south, West Point and Constitution Island were heavily fortified. My research focus has generally been the Lake Champlain perspective with the British attempting to invade the colonies from the north. In the Lake Champlain story, Benedict Arnold is a central character and a hero. In the West Point story Arnold is a central character but the worst kind of villain.

For me, the visit to the place where Benedict Arnold attempted to subvert this vital post was very powerful. The historic “Fort Arnold” has long ago been renamed “Fort Clinton”. In the Old Cadet Chapel where plaques commemorate all the Generals of the American Revolution, Arnold’s name was removed from his plaque and only his year of birth still legible. We hosted a spirited lecture aboard the Lois that focused on the American Revolution. Dr. Jim Johnson from the Hudson River Valley Institute and historian Doug Cubbison from West Point presented the Hudson River perspective, while I was able to provide the related Champlain Valley story.

Located just across the river on the eastern shore, Constitution Island turned out to be one of the most interesting venues of the Journey. Lying just opposite West Point it was actually fortified before West Point before engineers realized the superior defensive position of West Point. Constitution Island remained fortified and did provide an anchor point for the “Great” iron chain and log boom that crossed the river to provide a barrier to British warships that might attempt to use the river to invade the north. After the war, the Island was acquire by the Warner family and the story of the two Warner sisters, Susan and Anna, now preserved and interpreted by the Constitution Island Association was fascinating.

On behalf of the crew, we want to extend our sincere thanks to the Constitution Island Association, Island caretaker Roddy and the West Point Harbormaster for their generous hospitality. We look forward to stopping over at the Island in the coming weeks, as we work our way north and south along the great and historic Hudson River.

Constitution Island Artifact Conservation and Curation
This winter the Conservation Lab at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum entered into an agreement with the United States Military Academy to curate and conserve several collections of artifacts from a variety of excavations that took place on Constitution Island over the last three decades. These collections consist of a wide variety of artifact types including military hardware, constructions elements, faunal remains, personal items, glass, and ceramics, the complete collection numbers nearly 4,000 items. Conservation will focus on representative samples from the numerous lots of artifacts. The other artifacts will be repackaged into archivaly safe containers and organized in a way that will make them more easily accessible for researchers. In addition to work on the artifacts themselves all paperwork and photographs associated with the collections will also be repackaged and recopied onto archival quality paper. The conservation and curation of this collection is expected to last through mid 2006 after which it will be returned to West Point for display. It is hoped that this will be the first of a series of collections that will be worked from West Point.

Phone: 802-475-2022