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Clinton Community College’s Historic Past

As you approach the top of a long, winding hill surrounded by trees, a light appears at the end. An elegant building is perched on the hill. Over 100 years ago, that place was Hotel Champlain. Today, it’s Clinton Community College. Clinton Community College opened in 1969. The views, paths and history continue living in the walls of the college after all these years. Sitting 200 feet above the magnificent Lake Champlain, Clinton Community students see Crab Island, some small islands, and Vermont. Hotel Champlain was built on June 17, 1890. The Victorian wood-framed building contained 500 rooms, and seven…

As you approach the top of a long, winding hill surrounded by trees, a light appears at the end. An elegant building is perched on the hill. Over 100 years ago, that place was Hotel Champlain. Today, it’s Clinton Community College.

Clinton Community College opened in 1969. The views, paths and history continue living in the walls of the college after all these years. Sitting 200 feet above the magnificent Lake Champlain, Clinton Community students see Crab Island, some small islands, and Vermont.

Hotel Champlain was built on June 17, 1890. The Victorian wood-framed building contained 500 rooms, and seven separate cottages surrounded the hotel. Four cottages stand today. The Chateguay steamer and train once brought guests to the hotel, giving them views of the area’s famous greenery. Guests lucky enough to take the Chateguay sailed straight across the lake. On arrival, horse-drawn carriages greeted guests, waiting to carry them up the long slope.

Guests used to participate in activities at Bluff Point Golf Club, one of America’s oldest golf courses. Guests once took wagon rides along bridle paths, strolled along hiking trails and sunbathed on a  private beach. Tennis courts for the adults and playrooms for the kids were a perfect way to have some wholesome family fun.

Other guests spent their days sitting in front of a tree, reading and enjoying the crisp Adirondack air. President William McKinley was one of those guests. When McKinley wasn’t running the country, he sat and read by one of his favorite relaxing spots. The memory of his tree lives on the campus.

“When McKinley died, the tree was struck by lightning,” says Steven Frederick, vice president for institutional advancement. “Today, trees grown from seedlings of McKinley’s favorite tree stand.”

Other U.S. presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, Franklin Roosevelt and Warren Harding stayed at the hotel or the personal cottages during the summer season. New York governors Charles Evan Hughes and Al Smith and New York Yankee Babe Ruth also visited the prestigious hotel.

Today the once magnificent Hotel Champlain serves as the heart of Clinton Community College. Visitors are welcome to explore the rich presidential history and take in the famous view, still breath-taking as ever.

Issue 2: Winter/Spring 2014

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