DURING THE WAR OF 1812, the land at the edge of Northwest Bay was filled to create a dock area. A bustling industrial town, from 1847 to 1895, Westport sported two lakeside blast furnaces, contributing to making the Champlain Valley the country’s second largest producer of smelted pig iron. Pig bars were carried down the Hudson River via the 1823 Champlain Canal, in sailing canal boats. 19th century commercial docks gradually gave way to recreational use. The original dock house was rectangular as seen in a 1910 postcard, which shows horses with buggies, and long skirted women waiting for a steamer. This and many other historic views can be found in the photos along the restaurant walls.
THE CURRENT ARCH-ROOFED BUILDING with hand-hewn trusses, replaced the original structure in 1941. The new space, for boat and sea plane storage, became The Galley dining room.
Remodeling in 1989 removed the dirt floor and marine railway tracks for boat storage. Our rail winch house can be seen at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum at Basin Harbor, Vermont.
Notice the restored desk and its “pigeon holes,” dating from 1900 to mid 1930s, formerly used in the freight office of the old dock. A window replaced by a mirror, was used for peering into the waiting room and for selling tickets to lake steamer passengers. Now the old desk houses our paperback book exchange.
The antique safe, adjacent to deck door, was in use until 1989. Too heavy, the safe did not move to the office upstairs.
Photos dating back to 1875 depict Westport’s waterfront history. See guides on the desk.
Westport was “homeport” to the Ticonderoga, last of the great steamers on Lake Champlain. The “Ti’ has been beautifully restored and is “anchored” at the Shelburne Museum, in Shelburne, Vermont.
The wheel of our retired tour boat, Philomena D, is above the door to the deck.
IN THE SPRING OF 2011, during hurricane Irene, Lake Champlain rose to 103.27 feet above sea-level. This is, to date, its all-time highest level. On April 28, water invaded the Westport Marina flooding the entire property for six weeks. The Marina and The Galley were able to open on July 1 because of the generous time and energy provided by nearly 100 volunteers, filling, placing and removing sandbags, scrubbing, constructing, painting, donating space and supplies, raking, lifting, and carrying. The Carroll Family is extremely grateful for each and every volunteer!