Whiskey on the Lake – Smuggling on Lake Champlain

Whiskey on the Lake

Lake Champlain has a long history of being a major smuggling route between the U.S. and Canada. From the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 through Prohibition and beyond smugglers have used this natural water highway to try to avoid government taxes, tariffs and embargoes.

Whiskey on the Lake video presentation

U.S Revenue Cutter, Pickering


Smugglers moved contraband both north and south to markets hungry for products that were in short supply, banned or too expensive. Early smuggling operations after the wars included the infamous Black Snake Affair in which two people were killed and resulted in the execution of one of the smugglers.


This video presentation of ‘Whiskey on the Lake’ from the Milton, VT Historical Society deals with more recent events as Dr. Scott McLaughlin tells how Lake Champlain was important thoroughfare for smugglers during the Prohibition era.



Lake Champlain

This 128-page softcover book features stunning historical images from the archives of Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and other regional collections, and includes chapters on Patriotic Sites and Celebrations; Commerce in the Canal Era; The Age of Steam; Crossing Lake Champlain; Recreational Boating; Summer and Summer Folk; Hunting and Fishing; and Winter. ‘Lake Champlain’ tells the story of this historic, busy commercial corridor and recreational destination.

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