Burlington Breakwater

“The Burlington Breakwater is a breakwater providing shelter to the harbor of Burlington, Vermont from the open waters of Lake Champlain. It was built in several stages between 1836 and 1890, and is a rare example of a 19th-century timber-cribbed stone breakwater. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.[1]

The harbor of Burlington, Vermont is located near the center of Burlington Bay, which extends from Appletree Point in the north to Shelburne Point in the south. Set off from the city’s port area, the Burlington Breakwater shelters that area from the broad waters of Lake Champlain to west. The breakwater consists of a main section 3,793 feet (1,156 m) in length, with a 364-foot (111 m) section to the north, separated by a channel 200 feet (61 m) wide. The structure has seven legs laid out in a zig-zag pattern, laid out to roughly follow the contour of the shoreline. Its visible portions are covered by a variety of stone materials. Its underwater structure consists of timber cribs, most laid on a rubble foundation, that are filled with rubblestone. The cribs are hemlock at the lower levels and white pine at the upper levels, and are joined by notched corners. Most of the upper levels of the cribbing have been replaced by stone because of subsequent rotting. The lake-facing side of the breakwater was largely faced in riprap in 1961. The ends of the breakwater are marked by modern lights.[2]

The oldest portion of the breakwater, about 1,000 feet (300 m) long, was built between 1836 and 1854, and consists of the middle sections of the present structure. It was built as part of a program by the federal War Department to improve shelter for the major port facilities on Lake Champlain.[2]

Near the breakwater’s southern end lies the shipwrecked General Butler, which struck the breakwater during a storm in 1876 and sank, its passengers and crew reaching safety on the breakwater before she sank. It is now a popular dive site.[2]”-https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burlington_Breakwater

“Burlington Breakwater, a prime example of 19th-century timber crib construction, is located in the city of Burlington, Vermont. It was constructed to ease the increased commercial traffic on Lake Champlain – a major commercial artery in Vermont during the 18th century. The construction of this 4,175-foot structure began in 1836. The breakwater contributed to the development of the city and its waterway trade, as planned. The repair and maintenance of the breakwater is carried out by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The breakwater extends from north to south along the waterfront. The underwater investigations carried out by the Corps have revealed that the main method employed was the use of a wooden crib, on a stone or rubble base, with a stone cap. The first “V”-shaped section of the breakwater was completed in 1854, and it was expanded in accordance with the increase in trade and traffic at Burlington’s waterfront. The late 1880s and 1890s witnessed many appropriations directed toward repairing the old superstructure, intending to protect the structure northward and southward. In 1890, a superstructure made wholly of stone was tested on the 360-foot new construction, north of the 200-foot opening. This method proved a constructive one and soon the whole aging timber structure was replaced by stone. Repair work was continued by the Corps in 2001 and 2002, when they removed portions of damaged cribbing, applying a layer of core stone, and armoring the core stones with capstones. Burlington Breakwater was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in June 2003.”-https://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h2308.html

Part of the Burlington Breakwater in February 2022.

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