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45th Parallel Towns of the Lake Champlain Valley

Updated on January 16, 2015

What's so Special About The 45th Parallel?

The '45th parallel north' is the circle of latitude at 45 degrees north of the Earth's Equator. The 45th Parallel crosses over North America, the Atlantic Ocean, Europe, Asia and the Pacific Ocean. It is often called the halfway point between the Equator and the North Pole, but the true midway point between the Equator and the North Pole is actually about ten miles (10.1 miles) north of the 45th Parallel. This is because the earth's shape is not perfectly round.

In the northeastern United States the 45th Parallel roughly approximates the border between the United States and Canada in the area of the U.S. states of New York and Vermont and the Canadian province of Quebec. In the area the parallel is sometimes referred to as the "Canada Line". The Vermont-Quebec border is actually about 3,300 ft (1 km.) north of the parallel because of an error in a 1772 survey.

At this point the 45th Parallel intersects Lake Champlain, which is shared by the two countries (making Lake Champlain an international waterway). Most of the Lake is located within the United States, but a good portion of its northeastern arm, Missisquoi Bay lies in Canada.

There are many towns and villages throughout the world that lie on the 45th Parallel, but we'll restrict our focus here to those in the Lake Champlain Valley, which are also situated on the U.S.-Canada border.

Photo from Wikipedia

The 'Best' Vermont Atlas and Maps

Vermont Atlas & Gazetteer
Vermont Atlas & Gazetteer

This is outstanding guide to not only the main roads, but also secondary roads and trails. I've used this to find some great fishing spots and some interesting "off the beaten path" locations.+++

 

Alburgh, Vermont - 45th Parallel Towns of the Lake Champlain Valley

45th Parallel Towns- Alburgh, VT
45th Parallel Towns- Alburgh, VT

Photo by Mary Fortin

Alburgh is located in the north-western corner of the state of Vermont. Part of Vermont's Grand Isle County, referred o as the Lake Champlain Islands; it is the only town in the county that is not on an island. But it's not connected to the United States mainland either!

Alburgh sits on a peninsula of land called the Alburgh Tongue that extends southward from Canada. The border between the United States and Canada is the 45th Parallel, which separates Alburgh and Noyan, Quebec. As a 45th Parallel Town, Alburgh is situated halfway between the Equator and the North Pole.

Alburgh is connected to the U.S. mainland by bridges to Rouses Point, New York and Swanton, Vermont; it's connection to the rest of Grand Isle County is via bridges to Isle LaMotte and North Hero, Vermont.

Technically Alburgh, Vermont is considered an exclave of the United States, because it is not connected by land to the rest of the U.S. From a practical standpoint though, the three bridges that connect it to the rest of the country make this somewhat irrelevant.

There is a two acre part of Alburgh called Province Point, located on Missisquoi Bay, that is not connected to the the rest of the U.S. or even to the rest of the town. The only way to reach it is by road through Quebec or by boat from Alburgh or Highgate, Vermont. Learn more at: Alburgh, Vermont: An Exclave.

Lake Champlain Islands - (Images of America)

Lake Champlain Islands, VT (IMG) (Images of America)
Lake Champlain Islands, VT (IMG) (Images of America)

Samuel de Champlain canoed south from Canada into the lake that now bears his name on July 3, 1609, and found four islands, now called the Lake Champlain Islands. Located in the far northwest corner of the state, the islands serve as a shoreline retreat for all of New England.

With a small-town feel and picturesque farmlands, this birthplace of Vermont has rich soil and early settlers found success growing local varieties of apples, which they shipped by steamboat. Several large deposits of unique, dark limestone brought marble trade to the area, and these materials are still mined in working quarries today. The Lake Champlain Islands are a tranquil, yet vibrant area of Vermont, where historical buildings are often used as schools, museums, libraries, and private homes.

This book offers a collection of images that chronicle the history of this unique area.

 

Highgate, Vermont - 45th Parallel Towns of the Lake Champlain Valley

The Famous Highgate Manor
The Famous Highgate Manor

Photo by Auction Marketing Group

Highgate, Vermont is home to the Highgate Manor, which was built in 1818 by Capt. Steve Keyes. He also built the The Manor Mayfair, which was situated across the village green from the Highgate Manor. During the Civil War the Manor was used as an Underground Railroad stop - featuring tunnels that ran from under the house to the river. These tunnels are still in existence today.

The Keyes family owned the property until 1870 when it was sold to Dr. Henry Baxter. In the custom of the day, Dr. Baxter operated his medical practice from his home - The Highgate Manor. The wooden floor of what is now a library still show bloodstains from his operating table.

Now the legend of the Highgate Manor began to grow. Many of Dr. Baxter's children died of strange illnesses, and many did not live past ten years old. Locals believed Dr. Baxter experimenting on his children and that their spirits remain in the Manor to this day.

After Dr. Baxter died in 1898 the Manor, was taken over by Philip Schmitt. In 1917 the Manor became an exclusive and incredibly successful vacation resort. Manor Mayfair, the Manor Annex, and a brand new dance hall were added to the Highgate Manor. The dance hall was touted as the largest and best dance hall in the North Country. Because of the Manor's exclusivity, many high profile dignitaries - including Al Capone - frequented the Manor Estate and the speakeasy (hidden in a cave beneath The Manor).

Benny Goodman and other stars of the Big Band Era performed regularly in the Manor's ballroom, and The Manor continued as a vacation destination through the 1940s. On May 22, 1950 a worker burning leaves accidentally started a fire which destroyed the Manor Mayfair.

Guests often report strange presences in 'Capone's', the basement bar (named after patron, Al Capone), and ghostly voices have been heard that some think are the ghosts of Dr. Baxter's children.

Franklin, Vermont - 45th Parallel Towns of the Lake Champlain Valley

Lake Carmi in Franklin, Vermont
Lake Carmi in Franklin, Vermont

Photo by Michael Carpentier

Franklin, Vermont is home to a large number of dairy farms.

It is also home to the beautiful Lake Carmi and Lake Carmi State Park.

Rouses Point, New York - 45th Parallel Towns of the Lake Champlain Valley

fort blunder
fort blunder

Photo from Wikipedia

Rouse Point, New York is a village in the township of Champlain, New York.

It is home to Fort Montgomery, also known as 'Fort Blunder'.

Rouses Point, New York History - The Rutland Railroad

Champlain, New York - 45th Parallel Towns of the Lake Champlain Valley

Rouse Point Train Station (last stop in the U.S.)
Rouse Point Train Station (last stop in the U.S.)

Photo from Wikipedia

Photo of the old Delaware & Hudson (D&H) train station in Champlain (Rouses Point), New York.

Champlain, New York is the northeasternmost town in the State of New York. It is situated on the shores of Lake Champlain, where the borders of Canada and the states of New York and Vermont meet.

It contains two incorporated villages: Rouse Point and Champlain Village.

What Are Your 45th Parallel Experiences?

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    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 4 years ago from New York

      What happen to the Mayfield Manor went it burned down in 1950? Was it completely burned down, or just the ballroom? I am assuming it was completely rebuilt and refurbished. Who owns it now, if it did survive? Very interesting read. I love this area of New York and Vermont. I will be back there this May. can hardly wait.

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