Juniper Island (Lake Champlain)

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Juniper Island
Country United States
State Vermont
City South Burlington
Coordinates 44°27′0″N 73°16′36″W / 44.45000°N 73.27667°W / 44.45000; -73.27667Coordinates: 44°27′0″N 73°16′36″W / 44.45000°N 73.27667°W / 44.45000; -73.27667

Juniper Island is a 13-acre (53,000 m2) island in Lake Champlain, approximately 3.15-mile (5.07 km) southwest of Burlington, Vermont's King Street Ferry Dock. The island is home to the Juniper Island Lighthouse. The State of Vermont purchased the island for $200 in 1825 and ceded it to the federal government. A 30-foot (9.1 m) brick tower and keeper's house were constructed. Up to that point, lanterns hung on trees by landowners up and down the lake had served navigation; this would be the first true lighthouse on the lake.[1]

Apparently due to poor workmanship or materials or both, the original lighthouse had to be replaced less than twenty years later. That second lighthouse (a 25-foot (7.6 m) tower consisting of four cast iron rings) is still there, though retired, and is the oldest cast iron lighthouse remaining in the US.[2][3]

A 60-foot (18 m) skeleton tower light took over in 1954. Two years later, Juniper Island was sold at auction to state senator Fred Fayette. The keeper's house was severely damaged by fire in 1962 and not repaired, though the tower and a separate shed for a fog bell were undamaged.

Fayette's family inherited the property, and in 2001 they constructed a new dwelling using nearly 18,000 bricks salvaged from the ruins of the original house.[4] Two years later a new, taller tower replaced that of 1954. The family plans to restore the old tower, but it is unlikely to be relit (as has been done with other lights on the lake) since trees on the island obscure it from the water.