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Visiting Rouses Point, New York: Location of a Georgian Revival US Border Inspection Station Building, Dating From 1931

Updated on July 27, 2019
State flag of New York
State flag of New York | Source
Friends and Family. Custom Office, Rouses Point, 1935  Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec and Wikimedia Canada under the Poirier Project.
Friends and Family. Custom Office, Rouses Point, 1935 Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec and Wikimedia Canada under the Poirier Project. | Source
US Border Inspection Station at Rouses Point, NY
US Border Inspection Station at Rouses Point, NY | Source

In the U.S. National Register of Historic Places

[Please note that the close proximity of this U.S. Government facility is not ordinarily open to the public other than for those on business there, unless by special arrangement.]

In Clinton County, New York, at the border village of Rouses Point, stands a building included in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, namely the U.S. Border Inspection Station (1), at St. John's Highway, New York Route 9B.

Executed in Georgian Revival style, the building dates from 1931. The editors of the U.S. General Services Administration website state: "This station at Rouses Point is a fine example, and the most elaborate of the border stations, of the Georgian Revival style. Its construction is of the highest quality materials and workmanship. It has integrity of setting and feeling associated with its function, and has retained the integrity of its materials." (2)

The Acting Supervising Architect for the U.S. Treasury was James A. Wetmore ; in the course of its construction, the Supervising Architect responsibility passed to Louis A. Simon.

At its St. John's Highway elevation, the building thus has the appearance of Neoclassical mansion. Among the features which contribute to the Neoclassical appearance are the symmetrically spaced rectangular windows at the St. John's Highway frontage. I have supplied, above, both a contemporary photo and one from 1935.

The facility itself dates from 1913. In the year following the Volstead Act, 1919, during the era of Prohibition, the U.S.- Canada border at Rouses Point was often a hive of activity for smugglers who thus gave U.S. Customs officers a continuous detection challenge. It was substantially the sheer extent of Customs work posed by the border crossing at Rouses Point that brought about the decision to expand the facility, of which the 1931 building, which still stands, was the result. (The advent of the F. D. Roosevelt Administration in 1933 brought about the repeal of the Volstead Act.)

The landscaping around the Border Station, which includes symmetrically planted spruce trees and hedges, may be seen in the context of Lady Bird Johnson's strong support for the Highway Beautification Act, 1965 (3).

July 27, 2019

Notes

(1) To give it its fuller name, the Rouses Point - Lacolle 223 Border Crossing.

(2) See also: https://www.gsa.gov/historic-buildings/us-border-station-rouses-point-ny-0#significance

(3) See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highway_Beautification_Act

Lady B.Johnson & an unident. woman look on as M.Humphrey, wife of VP H.Humphrey shovels dirt around a dogwood tree planted along I-95 in Virginia, during her "Landscape-Landmark Tour" into Virginia on May 11, 1965. US Dept. of Transp.,FHA, pub.domain
Lady B.Johnson & an unident. woman look on as M.Humphrey, wife of VP H.Humphrey shovels dirt around a dogwood tree planted along I-95 in Virginia, during her "Landscape-Landmark Tour" into Virginia on May 11, 1965. US Dept. of Transp.,FHA, pub.domain | Source

Also worth seeing

Various localities in the surrounding Clinton County, New York, may be good bases to explore Adirondack Park.

In Rouses Point, itself, with is bridge to Vermont across Lake Champlain, well appointed marinas attract many enthusiasts for recreational boating.

Malone, New York (distance: 50.1 miles / 80.6 kilometres); here, US Vice President William Wheeler (cited by John F. Kennedy in 'Profiles in Courage', 1956), a historic resident of Malone, is commemorated; there is also some significant ecclesiastical architecture.

At Fairfield, Vermont (distance: 35.5 miles / 57.1 kilometres) is commemorated the President Arthur State Historic Site, where Chester A. Arthur was born in 1829.

Montreal, Quebec, Canada (distance: 46.3 miles / 74.5 kilometres). The architectural and cultural attractions of Montreal are too numerous to mention here, but of special note, among many others, are the domed Bonsecours Market (Marché Bonsecours), dating from 1847, which was a venue used to house the Parliament of United Canada, prior to Confederation. The Notre-Dame Basilica (Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal ) was built mainly between 1824 and 1829; many Montrealers attend annual performances of Handel's 'Messiah' there. The Olympic Stadium (Stade Olympique) in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district, used for the 1976 Olympics, has the world's tallest inclined tower, at 175 metres.

...

How to get there:

Plattsburgh International Airport (distance to Rouses Point : 30.5 miles / 49.1 kilometres), where car rental is available, is served by a variety of airlines, including US Air, which flies to Boston, with many North American connections. I-87 and I-89 extend to the US- Canada border on the New York and Vermont sides of Lake Champlain respectively. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. You are advised to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

Map showing the location of this village within Clinton County, New York. Data source: 2010 U.S. census
Map showing the location of this village within Clinton County, New York. Data source: 2010 U.S. census | Source

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