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History of Point Vivian began in 1877, when a group of investors from Evans Mills, NY were interested in purchasing land along the St. Lawrence River for the development of a small community of summer residences. During this period, the opening of the “Crossman Hotel in Alexandria Bay and a few years later, President Ulysses S. Grants visit to the area heightened national awareness to the 1000 islands. Also, increased accessibility to the area by steamships and railroads to Clayton, NY would explain why investors would find this area as a promising opportunity. Hotels and cottages were springing up along the river at a rapid rate with tourists flocking to the area.
The land the investors selected was called “Houghton Point”, which was owned by Captain W. H. Houghton. It is a peninsula situated on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River about two and one-half miles upriver of Alexandria Bay, and down river of the Thousand Island Park. The land had a long and promising section along the river which was optimal for a dock but was mostly rock and woods.
In October of 1877, the investors had a survey prepared of “Houghton Point”, by H.L. Scott Engineer. A map was created dividing the area into 40 lots plus reserving some land for public areas. Scott at about the same time made a couple of copies of the map on cloth. Today one cottage member has an original cloth version of the map. It can be surmised that one member of the investors was chosen to negotiate the deal for the land.