S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE Page keywords = Champlain college Associated ACUNY Plattsburg Plattsburgh SUNY Hamilton Harpur Endicott Cortland Mohawk Middletown Sampson adirondack mountain north woods Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute RPI Marguerite van Bree Sampson AFB

Updated:   31 Jul 2013, 16:30  ET
[Page created 27 Jul 1999; converted 20 Dec 2011
  - some missing images restored 31 Dec 2012 -
    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]

URL:  http://sbiii.com/champcol.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/champcol.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's


Champlain College Page

Plattsburgh, New York

{Save yourself a lot of embarrassment}
Don't even think of it!
(especially if you don't even know the meaning of the word "defunct"!)
[See further admonition below.]

S. Berliner, III's

Champlain College Page

Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"
Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher
Popularizer of Science and Technology


of Plattsburgh*, New York

(the late, if unlamented - NOT the newer#
Champlain College of Burlington, Vermont,
nor any of the others that keep coming out of the woodwork!)

The seal of ACUNY (not Champlain, alone), with Mohawk, Sampson, and Champlain,
left, center, and right on the scroll (from the title page of the Gilbert book).

* - The city in the far northeastern corner of New York State,
on the northwestern shore of Lake Champlain,
just south of the Canadian border and Montréal, is Plattsburg (no "h");
the Pennsylvania city far to the southwest, has an h on the end - Pittsburgh -
but Champlain College was located in Plattsburg
(no matter what they call it now!).

[Ah!  But see "spelling" on page 2.]

If you love the North Country or the Adirondack Mountains, you'll love the Adirondack Museum smack dab in the heart of the Adirondacks at Blue Mountain Lake, New York.  It tells the story of the Adirondacks far better than any book could.  I heartily recommend a visit!  If you can't get there, you may wish to visit my Adirondacks page.

You will find some yarns about my time at Champlain there.

Be sure to visit the Continuation Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, and Page 4, as well.

note-rt.gif  ACADEMIC RECORDS {on Continuation Page 3}!

note-rt.gif  I had recommended that you also see the Champlain College Website of Strat Simon, quite the capable photographer, who had put up six pages on Champlain on his photo site, where you could have clicked on the blue college seal at lower right, or you could have gone directly there by clicking but his sites are now gone.  I had hoped to be able to reproduce all, or at least most, of his old site here - stay tuned!   new (01 Jul 2013) and   rev (01 Jul 2013)

Well, Strat came through nobly; the first 21 of his pix, some of which are reproduced elsewhere on these Champlain College pages and some of which are new to me, are now on a separate page, http://sbiii.com/chamsspx.html.   new (31 Jul 2013)

In addition to SUNY's Plattsburgh State University ("our" old PSTC - Plattsburgh State Teacher's College), Plattsburgh now hosts Clinton Community College, in the old Hotel Champlain at Bluff Point, south of "our" campus; take a look at their history.

CHAMPLAIN ALUMNI/NAE - we have both a snail-mail list (not in use) and an e-mail list (active); if you are interested in being found or getting e-mail, let me know.  There are 327 listings (checked), incuding 32 couples which I assume represent single attendees, one dual attendee couple, and one couple separately listed, one administrator, and and two faculty brats, plus 26 known deceased (~7½% - not bad for a bunch of 70-somethings - it's that bracing North Country air) [Eff.:  26 Jul 2003].

1948 Champlain College Yearbook on e-Bay!  Gail Teel advised on 29 Sep 2001 that she had listed Item #1469964003, a "hard to find year book from Champlain College Plattsburg New York.  Plattsburgh is spelled without the h in the yearbook.  This book is from the Associated Colleges of Upper New York.  It was founded in 1946 just after World War II.  College closed in 1953.  This is the 1948 du Lac.  There are some wonderful pictures of the campus along with Faculty, and students."  First bid was only $4.99!

Another 1948 Champlain College Yearbook on e-Bay!  Cal Castine wrote on 08 May 2002, "There's a 1948 Champlain College yearbook on e-bay, starting price $3.00:  "This is a 1948 Upper New York College Annual.  It has some nice advertisement in the back of the annual.  It is in good shape with some age wear.  No torn out pages.  No water damage.  It does have a nice Coke ad in the back.  It is Champlain College Associated Colleges of Upper New York Plattsburg, NY.  The Coke ad says Drink Coca-Cola 5 cent Refreshment headquarters Plattsbur Coc-Cola{sic} Plattsburg, New York.  On the advertisement.  Along with some other advertisement."

{Emphases mine - Dean Gilbert's 1950 ACUNY (book (on Continuation Page 2) states that
the "du Lac" was the Champlain College yearbook of 1949 and 1950, only - strange!}

Page 6 on Strat Simon's old site showed Tom Metzner's copy of the 1952 du Lac!  Here, courtesy of Strat is the full image:

(Photo courtesy of S. Simon - all rights reserved)
That's the SUNY seal, shown here (the ACUNY seal is shown at the top of this page):

(Image courtesy of S. Simon -
reconstructed from a mug, no less!)

There was a REUNION on Friday-Sunday, September 22-24, 2000, with a get aquainted social and BBQ on Friday night at the "Barracks" Officers Club on the AF base, a boat ride on the lake on Saturday, Hors d'Oeuvres at the Bluff Point Country Club on Saturday night, and a champagne brunch back at the "Barracks" for goodbyes on Sunday. How much of this came off I'm not sure (I wasn't able to get away that weekend) but you can read about it in the Press Republican, as noted below.

Here, then, is a little bit of the story of the original Champlain College at Plattsburgh, New York.

I don't know if you'd count Plattsburgh and the surrounding great plateau to the west as part of the Adirondacks but I'll lump it in for socio-historic (yarn-spinning) purposes.

The old Champlain College of Plattsburgh, New York, founded just after World War II, was a member of the now-vanished Associated Colleges of Upper New York (ACUNY), a GI-Bill group (the "G. I. schools") including Champlain, Hamilton, Harpur, and two others (Albert?  Cortland?  Endicott?  Hobart?  Who remembers which they were?).  One of the two is supposed to have been Sampson; although I don't truly remember any such.

An alum told me (16 Aug 2000) that he started at Mohawk in 1948 before transferring to Champlain and that Mohawk was an ACUNY school; not in 1952 to my recollection!  I may not remember which schools were the other two but I'm quite sure Mohawk was not one of them.  O.K.!  No sooner written than in came more info: ACUNY started in 1946 with the following colleges: Mohawk (in Utica), Sampson (the old Sampson Navy Training base), and Champlain (then at the Middletown Collegiate Center).  Mohawk closed in about 1948 and the next year Sampson closed.  Middletown became the Orange County Community College, and Champlain was the only remaining college.  In 1948, it became part of the State University of New York.  Well, that can't be right.  Perhaps it became part of ACUNY then, along with Hamilton, Harpur, Sampson, and the missing one; there were definitely five (5) schools in '52-'53.

A lady wrote in June 01 that she has a 1948 Associated Colleges of Upper New York yearbook, from Sampson - Senecan College, and the cover has the original 1946 crest with Mohawk, Champlain and Sampson printed on it (she may be willing to part with it).

Tom France (see Continuation Page 1) confirms (13 Aug 2001) Sampson and advises that the fifth one was MOHAWK!  Thanks, Tom.

So, ACUNY (SUNY or no SUNY) consisted of (alphabetically):

1.  Champlain (former Plattsburg Barracks),
2.  Hamilton (existing College),
3.  Harpur (not even mentioned in 1950 ACUNY book),
        [this is probably completely wrong!]
4.  Mohawk (former Rhoads General Hospital), and
5.  Sampson (former Sampson Naval Training Centre).

There was also the small facility at Middletown Collegiate Center, which actually preceded Champlain.

On 21 Aug 01, Ben Bisk (48-50) suggested that Geneva was the fifth school; not so's I remember.  Can anyone verify this with documentation?  Ben was in Ticonderoga room 257 with Ted Gramas and Joe Italiano.

Binghamton University's history page reveals that it started out in 1946 as Triple Cities College of Syracuse University and became, in 1950, as Harpur College, the liberal arts college of the newly-established State University of New York.  Nary a peep about ACUNY; I suppose I'll have to "make enquiries".   new (31 Jul 2013)

The other Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont, is a newer school (by name#), unrelated in any way to the one in Plattsburgh and neither its, nor SUNY Plattsburgh's, site make mention of the old Champlain or ACUNY.

# - I am happy to note, per a message from the Burlington Champlain's Web Site Manager on 24 Apr 01, that that school was actually founded as Burlington Business School in 1878; it changed its name in 1958 to Champlain College but their lineage can thus be traced back to 1878 and they are therefore technically and institutionally older.

I found yet another Champlain College, part of Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada (between Toronto and Ottawa), but it's a residential college within the main Symons Campus.

O, mon Dieu; et encore! Il y'a un autre Champlain College à l'Université Bishop's (Bishop's University) à Lennoxville, Québec, Canada (peut être 5km sud-est de Sherbrooke).

Un autre Champlain Québecois est Champlain Regional College, sur les environs de Montréal (actually, it is English-speaking and is just south across the St. Lawrence River in St. Lambert); it appears to include Lennoxville (above) and another campus at St. Lawrence (Québec, not New York), near Québec City.

Neither the old Champlain nor ACUNY came up on searches of the General Education Online (GEO)@ site's Colleges and Universities - United States Universities@ page nor on its Colleges and Universities - United States Community Colleges@ page nor SUNY's nor on Web search engines.

Champlain was closed in 1953 to become SAC's Plattsburgh AFB (it had originally been the rather-cushy U. S. Army Plattsburgh Barracks*) and vanished without a trace when ACUNY was absorbed into SUNY (the base closed ca. 1995).

* - The Plattsburgh Barracks was once reputed to be as fine a posting as,
or better than, Fort Myer in Alexandria, Virgina
(serving Washington, D.C.), the ne plus ultra of Army posts.

Enraged by the enforced conversion of a fine school into a war facility, the students and staff held rallies to protest the involuntary closing and, in one last, final act of frustration, (the students, NOT the faculty) built a huge bonfire in the center of the Parade Ground fueled by the sets of the Drama Department, which we had so lovingly crafted (I finally found my old pictures of this blaze; see CC Cont. Page 1).

Champlain's entire Engineering Department, having been established and staffed by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, was completely absorbed by RPI; there is no mention of Champlain or ACUNY on RPI's site, either.

Making inquiries about ACUNY, I recalled (28 Feb 00) that all Champlain student records* were sent to the Registrar at Hamilton (i/c/o a Miss Marguerite A. van Bree - what a feat of memory, if correct, eh?  Actually, I am quite sure of my ground here.  Sure wish I could find that old ACUNY or SUNY postcard to this effect).  Tom Metzner advised (13 Oct 01) that, when Champlain closed in 1953, she transferred to the New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse University and that our records were to go with her; he has no idea happened after that.  That may be so, but I remember that postcard most vividly (I had to get my transcripts).

* - see ACADEMIC RECORDS note at top of page!

O.K. - progress - however limited.  Hamilton has no record of her (our last record of her had her living in Jamesville), but a very nice lady at Harpur took the trouble to look in their history of Binghamton University and found this paragraph:

"Jun 1953, Champlain, which had been established in 1946, closed down,
 leaving Harpur College the only liberal arts college in the SUNY system -
 10 of Champlain's faculty and staff members came to work at Harpur that
 fall - we also received the complete contents of the Champlain library
 which included 16,000 non-duplicate volumes."
(slightly edited)

That's wrong - Champlain was definitely ACUNY, not SUNY (see Note 1), at the time of her closing (I vas dere, Cholly!).

The Clinton County Historical Society in Plattsburgh mounted a temporary exhibit on Champlain College in the late 1990s; an intern who worked on the project reports that she discovered many primary materials both at the Historical Society and at Plattsburgh State's Special Collections.

One of the nicest memories I have of the campus area is of Clare & Carl's "TEXAS RED HOTS" stand, just across Route 9 and slightly south of the main entrance, where Carl (NOT "Tex"), himself, served a hot dog smothered in chili and onions and kraut and American cheese and what-have-you!  My, those dogs were good; so good, in fact, that on 10 May 1975, coming home from the early-morning bicentennial re-enactment of Ethan Allen's successful attack on Fort Ticonderoga, I detoured up to P'burg to take the wife and kids for a treat and, not only was Carl still there, he even recognised me, 23 years and full whiskers later!  I hear they are both gone now but the stand continues in business.  There is also Nitzy's (NOT Nitzie's), which is not far away, diagonally south across on the other side of Route 9, also still in operation, which I truly do NOT remember (I was loyal to a fault to Carl, eh?), which maintains a long tradition of selling "Michigan Hot Dogs" {whatever they might be* - I'll have to try one}.

[* - Texas Red Hots ARE Michigans!  Michigans are upstate New York hot dogs in (not "on") a soft roll, buried in sauce and fixin's.]
  added (31 Dec 2012)

Now, here, courtesy of Strat Simon, are both noble establishments as pictured by Ralph Heineman's wife Mary in Sept 2001:

Clare & Carl's Nitzie's
[Photos Sep 2001 by M. Heineman, from the S. Simon site - all rights reserved;
(C&C-TRH photo enhanced slightly by SB,III)]

Well, I was up there on 19 Jun 2002 on my way up to Québec, stopped for a Red Hot (which wasn't, and that's a good thing), and took the first picture, of the north side of the shack, and then stopped on my way down from Montréal to the Adirondacks on 25 Jun and did it again, this time taking a shot of their '57 {?} Chevy wagon, with (horrors!) Nitzy's in the background, and the south side of the shack, and a shot of McSweeney's (still Nitzy's - see the roof sign):

Clare & Carl's N Clare & Carl's Chevy

Clare & Carl S Nitzy's
[Cropped from 19 & 25 Jul 2002 photos by and © S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved;]

A grandaughter was working at Clare & Carl's.  They use an "&" (ampersand), not "and", and use an " ' " (apostrophe); and Nitzy's was NOT "Nitzie's" (see the signs).

Also, I took a photo tour of the old campus on 25 Jun 2002 and will put those shots up soon.

It seemed a shame that there was no place on the Web (of which I was aware) where this history could be found, so I added this page (et seq.).

Incidentally, I suppose I should have added from the onset that I was a transferred-in Freshman with Advanced Standing (thus accounting for my having a car on campus) in that fateful last year of 1952-53.

Now here is a photo to send you back in time (almost to Champlain days); the main drag, in front of the Union Hotel, courtesy of Stratis (Strat) Simon.  If my memory serves me, this is looking north, and the Monkey Ward's is across the street to the right (east) and behind the camera (south) about a block or less and the ice-cream parlor was on the same side as the camera (west) and on the southwest corner behind it (as I recall).

Plattsburgh ca. 1956
(Photo ca. 1956* courtesy of S. Simon - all rights reserved)
{* - per Chrysler Corp. car in right foreground, almost certainly
a '56 Dodge Royal Lancer hardtop coupé - $2,693 new.}
Strat confirmed ca. 1956 and says it was actually only $2,681.
It was $2,693 if you opted for the clear vinyl seat covers that
would not turn yellow until the following year!

Gordie Little (not a CC alum.), who came to work on the the construction of PAFB in the '50s and returned in 1961 to work at WEAV and at WIRY, now writes a weekly nostalgia column for the Press-Republican and does a weekly television program on public access called "Our Little Corner."  He's a gold mine of local information and I am indebted to him for much of the Plattsburg(h) color herein.  He advises that the photo shows Margaret Street with Woolworth's and Fishman's and that there was a talking bird, "Butch", in one of the downtown stores (Woolworth's).  Gordie wrote about "us" on Sunday, 17 Sep 2000; click here to read the article.

Strat really came through for us!  Here are his pictures of Champlain College; the Quad (the Parade Ground) and the Student Union looking west {?}, Clinton Hall (looking northeast?), the Flying Club's Aeronca Champ×, and Ticonderoga and Saratoga Halls (looking northeast):

Champlain Quad 1950

Student Union 1950

Clinton Hall 1950

CCFC Aeronca Champ

Ticonderoga & Saratoga Halls 1950
(All photos from the S. Simon collection - all rights reserved)
{the Quad photo was taken by J. Ortner and the Aeronca photo is undated.}

Looking at the pictures and at a map of the campus on page 193 of Dean Gilbert's book, it dawned on me that I lived in Clinton (NOT Ticonderoga) on the second floor in a four-man room all to myself in the rear of the building, looking out between giant trees to Valcour Island and Burlington.  I had to have been in Clinton because it's the only one parallel to, and directly above, the bluff (and RR) and north of the infirmary; also I was in the southeast corner of the rear center of the building, diagonally opposite the entrance, because Jim Decker's room was on the west side but south of my area, which was like the outer end of the middle of an "E", facing the lake.  Also, I remember being opposite an entrance, quite a haul from the classrooms, which must have been the northerly one, across from the Band Stand and between the President's House and the Faculty Club; the southerly one was between the Administration Building (which also housed the Library and Post Office) and the Bookstore and much closer to the classrooms, which mostly clustered in the southwest corner of the campus.

× - That Aeronca Champ lives!  Click HERE.

On 23 Jan 2002, I found these pictures from '52-'53; the front door of Clinton and the view from my rear window looking E and from the south window looking SE out to Valcour* Island (or a nuclear missile sub or Champ):

Clinton Champ 52-53 Champ Valcour Is E 52-53 Champ Valcour Is SE 52-53
(1952-53 photos by and © 2002 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved.)

[* - Actually, looking at Google Maps, I realized that the island was tiny CRAB Island, not Valcour, which is two miles further south.  Crab Island, although appearing heavily wooded on the satellite view, was almost barren, with a surface wholly covered with "fossil" seashells (can a calcium shell be considered a fossil?) ]
{this was on these pages long since but seems to have disappeared}   added (31 Dec 2012)

I also found pix of someone's furnishings hanging from, and stacked to, the ceiling in a dorm room, but they aren't particularly meaningful.

For many more pictures, I'd told you be sure to visit Strat's "http://personal.lig.bellsouth.net/lig/s/t/strat13/" photo site; however, his site is down and he kindly sent me his photos to post on my new Strat Pix page., .   rev (31 Jul 2013)

Gordie further advised that the joint was to have been hopping the weekend of 09-10 Sep 2000 as they commemorated the Battle of Plattsburgh which happened on 11 Sep 1814, and that the late Bob Venne, who did a public access TV show before Gordie's, was also a graduate of Champlain College.

    Wow; there should be some big doin's on 11 Sep 2114!   new (31 Jul 2013)

Some more Champlain musings and random sightings on the Web {moved to the new Champlain College Continuation Page 1 on 14 Aug 01}.

Note 1. - Benson Schaffer, who graduated "on the Twenty-Second day of June One Thousand Nine Hundred and Fifty-Two" (and now is out in San Diego), got his BA from the "State University of New York - Champlain College" (in Plattsburgh).  There's no mention of ACUNY on his diploma, of which he sent me a xerocopy to prove his point that Champlain WAS, after all, a component of SUNY!  Can't argue with that, but I knows what I knows; I went to an ACUNY school!  Some day I may find my Champlain catalog and then we'll see!  Incidentally, the diploma is signed by Oliver C. Carmichael, Chairman of the University Board of Trustees, William S, Carlson, President of the University, and F. A. Morse, Provost of the College.

As noted above, ACUNY became a part of SUNY in 1948.

Tom France (see Continuation Page 1) got his certificate in Pre-Engineering from ACUNY in Jun 1949!  Hah!  Vindication!

HELP! - moved to Continuation page 1 on 04 Dec 01.

This page is about the CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE
that was in Plattsburgh, New York.

{Save yourself a lot of embarrassment}

Don't even think of it!
(especially if you don't even know the meaning of the word "defunct"!)

[If you still insist on applying, click here.]

If you think this admonition and the one at the top of the page are a gag, think again!
I have had a steady trickle of requests for application forms - really, truly!

One of the applicants had the courtesy to tell me it was on CompuServe and, sure enough, I found this listing there (probably generated by this page - although I'm not convinced this would cause application requests to come in):

"Champlain College (of New York)

  Champlain College, one of five Associated Colleges of Upper New York (ACUNY) closed in
  1953; this site keeps its memory alive.

[Of course, that was the old URL.]

Sampson A.F.B. Veterans - There are two Websites for you guys, http://www.homestead.com/sampsonvets/ and http://www.sampsonvets.com/.  I never knew my late buddy, Bill McPhillips, was one of you (nor did he know of, let alone that I went to, Champlain)!  So, for Bill and his buddies, there are a few photos of Sampson from Dean Gilbert's book on my Champlain College page 2.

Be sure to visit the Continuation Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, and Strat Simon Pix Page, as well.

of this series of Champlain College pages.


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


See Copyright Notice on primary home page.

U.S.Flag U.S.Flag


THUMBS UP!  -  Support your local police, fire, and emergency personnel!

Contact S. Berliner, III

(Junk and unsigned e-mail and blind telephone messages will NOT be answered)

© Copyright S. Berliner, III - 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013  - all rights reserved.

Return to Top of Page