The Center for Land Use Interpretation Newsletter

Unusual Real Estate Listing # 6384 Fort Montgomery, NY

442 Fort Montgomery projects into the Richelieu River, on the Canadian border. The property comes with 365 acres, 88 of which are under water. CLUI photo365 ACRES WITH FRONTAGE ON, and under, Lake Champlain is for sale in northern New York. The property comes with a 19th century fortification, Fort Montgomery, that while in need of some repair, is still largely intact. Furthermore, the property abuts the Canadian Border, making this an excellent opportunity to add to the defense of the nation.

It’s happened before. In 1814, a General named George Provost, a former governor of Nova Scotia and the Commander in Chief of British Forces in Quebec planned and executed an attack on the United States during the War of 1812. The plan called for an attack by land and by water, with the naval forces coming down the Richelieu River into Lake Champlain, past the current site of Fort Montgomery. A Naval battle commenced, on September 11, in Lake Champlain, and Prevost, and his plan, were defeated by the American Navy, and militia from New York and Vermont. The Battle of Baltimore occurred a few days later, an event that led to the end of the war, and the creation of the American national anthem.

Clearly though, the north end of Lake Champlain needed to be fortified, and in 1816, construction started on a fort on the American side of the border, established at the 45th parallel. A new survey however placed the parallel ¾ of a mile south of the new fort, putting it inside Canada. That fort was abandoned, and a new one built south of the line. The old fort, referred to as Fort Blunder, was plundered for its construction materials.

An international treaty in 1842 established the border back at its original location, ¾ of a mile north of the 45th parallel at the Richelieu, even though this was originally drawn in error. Work began on a new fort there in 1844. Construction and improvements continued over the years, until 1871. It was deactivated in 1900, having never been involved in any battle, and its armaments were removed. Fort Montgomery was sold to the public at auction in 1926. This is the fort that is there today.

The fort is on an artificial island, linked to the shore by a causeway. It is located at the northern end of the lake, near Rouses Point, where the lake becomes the Richelieu, the river that connects the lake to the St. Lawrence, near Montreal. The fort was built in a five-pointed star formation, in a manner more typical of a coastal fortification, and a type that is rarely found in the interior of the country. It has 40 foot tall stone walls projecting out of the water, though portions of it were removed in the 1930’s during the construction of a nearby bridge.

It is currently owned by Victor I. Podd, of Boca Raton Florida, whose father, Victor T. Podd, bought it in 1983, and built the headquarters for his company, Powertex, a maker of plastic liners for shipping bulk materials, on the western end of the property. Victor I. Podd has tried to interest the Department of Homeland Security in the site, suggesting that it be used to watch boats that can easily cross the international border on the river. But as of this writing the property is still listed on Ebay, where Mr. Podd has brokered other deals, including the sale of a nearby former missile base.

Asking price is $9,950,000, though so far no one has entered anything more than the $3,000,000 starting bid.