Burlington Breakwater, a prime example of 19th-century timber crib construction, is located in the city of Burlington, Vermont. It was constructed to ease the increased commercial traffic on Lake Champlain - a major commercial artery in Vermont during the 18th century.
The construction of this 4,175-foot structure began in 1836. The breakwater contributed to the development of the city and its waterway trade, as planned. The repair and maintenance of the breakwater is carried out by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The breakwater extends from north to south along the waterfront. The underwater investigations carried out by the Corps have revealed that the main method employed was the use of a wooden crib, on a stone or rubble base, with a stone cap. The first "V"-shaped section of the breakwater was completed in 1854, and it was expanded in accordance with the increase in trade and traffic at Burlington's waterfront.
The late 1880s and 1890s witnessed many appropriations directed toward repairing the old superstructure, intending to protect the structure northward and southward.
In 1890, a superstructure made wholly of stone was tested on the 360-foot new construction, north of the 200-foot opening. This method proved a constructive one and soon the whole aging timber structure was replaced by stone.
Repair work was continued by the Corps in 2001 and 2002, when they removed portions of damaged cribbing, applying a layer of core stone, and armoring the core stones with capstones.
Burlington Breakwater was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in June 2003.