Lake Memphremagog

Lake Memphremagog

Lake Memphremagog (Lac Memphrémagog in Quebec) is a fresh water glacial lake located between Newport, Vermont, United States and Magog, Quebec, Canada. The lake is 27 miles long with 73 percent of the lake's surface area in Quebec, where it drains into the Magog River. However, three-quarters of its watershed, 489 square miles, is in Vermont. The total is 687 square miles, with 198 square miles located in Quebec.

The lake elevation is is 682 feet (208 meters). The lake has 20 islands.

The name Memphremagog is derived from Algonkian, in which it means "where there is a big expanse of water".


Like many other lakes, Memphremagog is faced with accumulating phosphorus, sediments, and other pollutants from a variety of sources. In addition, exotic species infestations are a concern, with an existing Eurasian water milfoil population and the potential for a zebra mussel infestation. Since the 1970s, significant efforts have been made to reduce the polluting effects of direct discharges into the lake and its tributaries, and lake quality has improved.

In 1994, a Lake Memphremagog Watershed Association was formed to focus on solving lake and river issues.


Three Vermont rivers directly empty into the lake: the Clyde, Barton, and the Black.

In the middle of the winter, the ice can become thick.

Natural history


Some claim Lake Memphremagog contains a reptile-like monster named Memphre (or Memphré), which has received sightings since the 18th century and continues on in the folklore of the area in a similar vein as the Loch Ness Monster. It is claimed that Memphre has been spotted as recently as 2000.


In 1753, the Abenakis brought the ransomed John Stark down the lake and came ashore where Newport is now.

Rogers' Rangers were forced to retreat south following their attack on Saint-Francis, Quebec in 1759. To confound their avenging pursuers, they split up on the east shore of the lake.

The Lady of the Lake steam excursion/ferry boat started operating in 1867. It stopped operations in 1917. It was based in Newport.


Lake Memphremagog is known to have had at least three lighthouses used in aiding boaters in navigating the waters of the large lake. All three of the original lighthouses have been demolished.

Maxfield Point Light

The Maxfield Point Light was a small lighthouse constructed on the Vermont side of Lake Memphremagog in 1879. A conical, cast iron structure, it was 25 feet (7.6 meters) tall, with a focal plane 40 feet (12.2 meters) above sea level. It showed a fixed white light, visible for 10 (16 km) miles. The lighthouse no longer exists; it is unknown what happened to it, or when it was deactivated.

Newport Wharf Light

The Newport Wharf Light was a tower that was built in the Newport section of Lake Memphremagog in 1879. The lighthouse was a steel skeleton tower, painted red, that was fixed on a concrete foundation. The tower showed a fixed red light that was visible for up to 12 miles (19.3 km), with the height of the focal plane being 37 feet (11.2 meters). As with the Maxfield Point Lighthouse, the date this lighthouse was demolished is unknown.

Whipple Point Light

Whipple Point Light was a tower that was built on the end of a pier on Whipple Point in Lake Memphremagog. Built in 1879, the tower was constructed of wood in a hexagonal shape and stood 13 feet (4 meters). The light was fixed white and was visible from up to 10 miles (16 km) away, with a focal plane of 25 feet (7.6 meters). The lighthouse was deactivated around 1906 and was demolished at an unknown date.


The watershed in Vermont is largely agricultural and forest land with residential development increasing in recent years in both Vermont and Quebec.

Pop Culture

The Canadian band The Tragically Hip mentions Lake Memphremagog in their 2002 unreleased song Problem Bears; part of their In Violet Light album sessions.


External links

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