Isle La Motte, the northernmost of the Champlain Islands, is 7 miles long by 2 miles wide, and lies close to where Lake Champlain empties into the Richelieu River. It is the place where Samuel de Champlain first landed, in 1609, on the lake that now bears his name.
Isle La Motte’s history goes back to 1666 when a French fort was built by Pierre de la Motte on the site that is now St. Anne’s Shrine. As early as 1832, Fisk Quarry exported a beautiful dark fossil-laden limestone. Highly prized for its rarity and beauty, Isle La Motte black marble can be found in the U.S. Capitol building, the National Gallery of Art and Radio City Music Hall.
In the mid 1800’s orchards, vineyards and dairy farms flourished on the island, which was connected to the mainland by ferry during the warmer months and by foot or wagon over the ice in winter. In 1878 the town was incorporated for the sole purpose of building a bridge to Alburgh, completed in 1882. Today Isle La Motte has about 500 residents that call the island home year-round. This number swells many times over in the summer when the beauty of the island and access to the lake attracts many vacationers, boaters, fishers, bikers and part-time residents. St. Anne’s Shrine brings in tourists from both the USA and Canada. The Goodsell Ridge Preserve is a mecca for scientists and others interested in the unique geology of the island.