Click here to learn more about this site Click here to return to our home page Click here to visit our "clickable" map of local historic sites Click here to visit Part I of our huge two-part Table of Contents Click here to visit our Gift Shop. The perfect place for unique and wonderful things! Click here to search the site Click here to learn about using the images and materials published on this site Click here to contact us

The Online Resource for Historians, Educators, Students and Visitors since 1997
This is a graphics-intensive publication, to fully experience the site we recommend you have JavaScript enabled.

Find us on Facebook!
Please consider "liking" our pages on Facebook and following us on Twitter!


 

Guest Contributors...                            James G. Bailey

Finally, in 1985 "For Sale" signs went up around the island and a city realtor was listing it--"$150,000, would subdivide." Over the following winter a second plaque disappeared from the monument.  Subsequent publicity about the island resulted in the voluntary relinquishing of the "souvenir" at a downstate home, and it is now in the custody of the Clinton County Historical Association.
   In the spring of 1986 people, including the writer, met and formed an Ad Hoc Committee for a Public Crab Island.  Dr. James Dawson, then president of C. C. H. A., and the writer were co-chairmen.  Members represented such groups as American Legion, V. F. W., Champlain Islands Trust, C. C. H. A., and Lake Champlain Committee, as well as area municipal officials and other concerned citizens.
   The committee discussed court action against G. S. A. to void the 1967 sale, but decided it would be more expedient to persuade New York State to purchase at the asking price.  The office of Parks, Recreation, and Historical Preservation was the most appropriate state agency because of its charter to procure and protect historic sites.  Initially, 0. P. R. H. P. declined involvement.  The Ad Hoc Committee made contact with governments and organizations throughout the Champlain Valley, asking them to adopt resolutions urging state purchase.  Under this kind of pressure, 0. P. R. H. P. began to react favorably.
   Commissioner Lehman, who came up to Clinton County in June formally to open Point Au Roche State Park, was given a boat ride around Crab Island by committee members.  By midsummer, state appraisals had been made and money set aside, from the 1972 Environmental Bond Act, for the purchase.
   But in late summer, Walter ("Roger") Jakubowski of Ventnor, N. J. entered the picture. Jakubowski, who had made his fortune on the Alantic City boardwalks, was remembered as the purchaser of the former Post estate, Topridge, near Paul Smiths.  He raised the offering price beyond what the appraisals would, by law, allow the state to pay.  Mr. Troise, despite his 1975 vows that the historic aspects would be properly recognized, turned down the 0. P. R. H. P. offer--reputedly well above the asking price--in favor of Mr. Jakubowski's $190,000 bid.
   News of "the second Battle of Plattsburgh Bay" had been spreading around the state and

5  < Back

beyond.  Articles appeared in the New York Times and in Boston papers.  Historians across the state wrote 0. P. R. H. P. and the governor.  N. B. C. considered sending a television crew to Plattsburgh, such was the media appeal of this story.  So, the state entered negotiations with Jakubowski for its purchase.
   At about the time of the September 1986 sale by Troise, the town of Plattsburgh took a crucial step.  To close a loophole in its master plan-when adopted in the early 1960s the plan excluded all federal lands--the town board voted protective zoning regulations for Crab Island commensurate with its historic significance.  Essentially, this ruled out extensive subdivision, the most lucrative possibility.
   Reporters and state negotiators were unable to discover from Mr. Jakubowski exactly what his plans were for the historic site, although many rumors abounded.  More petitions for state acquisition were collected at Veterans' Day that November. 0. P. R. H. P. continued negotiations off and on through fall and winter 1986-87, rumored to include discussion of exchange of state land near Camp Topridge.  But no agreement could be reached.
   With the call for public stewardship of the sailors' graves remaining strong, the state began to mention the use of eminent domain, a forced sale at fair market price.  A public hearing was scheduled for July 29, 1987 in Plattsburgh to allow comment on the issue.  The turnout was large and overwhelmingly in favor of state ownership.  It was not unanimous: Mr. Jakubowski was one of the speakers.
   There is a reluctance of governments to invoke eminent domain, which explains the year-long hiatus after Troise's sale.  The issue swinging public opinion in this case was the feeling that the federal government had bungled badly in allowing the veterans' graveyard to be classed as unwanted, surplus property.
   With public opinion on record, the state moved to acquire by eminent domain.  Once again, private appraisers were called in to suggest the fair market value.  At 11 a.m. on Jan. 11, 1988--174 1/3 years to the hour from Macdonough's victory--papers for state ownership of Crab Island were filed in the County Clerk's office.  The court-set price was $210,000, which afforded Mr. Jakubowski a $20,000 profit.


Next >


Other Crab Island related links on America's Historic Lakes:

The Secrets of Crab Island by James P. Millard

The Battle of Plattsburgh- The War of 1812 on Lake Champlain

Dr. James Mann's account of the Battle of Plattsburgh

Return of killed and wounded on board the United States squadron on Lake Champlain, in the engagement with the British fleet, on the 11th of September, 1814 - official listing of American losses from the naval engagement.

Help Support This Site. Visit our Book Shop!

*America's Historic Lakes is a favorite of educators around the world. You can feel confident that the material
on this site is accurate, well-researched, properly cited and presented.

Creative Commons License
America's Historic Lakes by James P. Millard and Guest Contributors is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

 Privacy Policy


James P. Millard
Post Office Box 262
South Hero, Vermont 05486-0262
contact@historiclakes.org

Terms of Service and Disclaimer of Liability

The historical information on this web site is provided as a public service by James P. Millard. I  have attempted to be as accurate as possible in my presentation of this historical material. However, I make no claims, guarantees or promises about the accuracy, currency, or completeness of the information provided. In no event shall the publisher; James P. Millard, be liable for any errors or omissions with respect to any information on this site. Material submitted by guest contributors and published on the site is the property of the contributor and may be removed at any time at my discretion or upon request of the contributor. This website occasionally provides links to sites of other organizations maintained by third parties. These links do not constitute an endorsement of the content, viewpoint, accuracy, opinions, policies, products, services, or accessibility of that website. Links to third-party websites are provided as a public service and convenience to users of our site; James P. Millard/America’s Historic Lakes does not control, endorse or recommend the content on sites we may link to. Once connected to another website, you are subject to the terms and conditions of that website.