The C.L. Churchill, a 50 year old wooden tugboat, has been named Tug of the Year for the 2014 Waterford Tugboat Roundup. The Roundup is an annual three-day event in Waterford, NY highlighting the area’s heritage of waterborne commerce.
The C.L. Churchill is the accompanying tug to the Lois McClure, a replica canal schooner of the type which operated on some of the canals of New York State and Lake Champlain in the 19th century. The Roundup bestows the honorary Tug of the Year title to a different tug each year, typically one that brings its own unique history to the event.
The 34-foot Churchill, originally steam-powered, was built for Chester Churchill in Cohasset, Massachusetts and launched in spring of 1964. Named for Chester’s wife, Priscilla, the boat was renamed and re-powered that fall.
The boat had a series of owners after Churchill sold it after just a couple of years. It was acquired by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in 2004 and has been the constant companion of the Lois McClure, literally on hip, for the past 10 years.
The Lois and Churchill have toured the inland waterways, eastern Great Lakes, Lake Champlain, the Hudson River and into New York Harbor for the past 10 years, telling the story of 19th century inland navigation and related stories of the development of the Northeast. This year, the two vessels are finishing up a 3 year tour highlighting the story of the War of 1812 with stops along the routes of the Hudson and Champlain Valley’s. The Lois is open to the public at most stops along the route and a full schedule can be found at www.lcmm.org.
Photos courtesy Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.