Tag Archives: Erie Canal

Peter Feinman: Irene and New York State History


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This past July, a group of educators toured the historic Mohawk Valley. The group consisted of teachers from the region, particularly the Utica school district, people from historical societies, and cultural heritage tourists. The program was described as an “immersion experience”into the history of the Mohawk Valley. Little did we know that the metaphorical image soon would become a literal one. Continue reading

Waterford Tug Boat Round-Up Cancelled


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The annual Waterford Tugboat Roundup scheduled for Sept. 9-11, 2011, at the Waterford Harbor on the Erie Canal has been canceled because of the impacts from Tropical Storm Irene.

High waters and flood damage have hampered navigation along the New York State Canal system. The Hudson River also has high waters.



The Erie Canal remains closed to navigation between Lock 2 in Waterford, Saratoga County, and Lock 19 in Frankfort, Montgomery County. The Champlain Canal remains closed for its entire length. No date has been established on when these canal sections might re-open.

For updates and information monitor 1-800-4CANAL4 and www.canals.ny.gov.

Teacher Open House at Schoharie Crossing


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Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site will host an open house for teachers and parents who home school on Saturday, September 10, 2011 from 9 am to noon at the Visitor Center.

There will be lots of handouts available for use in the classroom, a free raffle for all who attend, and free continental breakfast. Participants will receive 20% off discount in the gift shop on books and historical toys. There will be a guided walking tour of the East Guard Lock, the Original Crossing and the Schoharie Aqueduct at 10 am. Have all your canal questions answered by the Canalgirl. The new and improved 4th grade scavenger hunt will be featured so complete it for yourself. Continue reading

A Black River Canal Musical Mystery


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Dave Ruch, a researcher of traditional and historical songs of New York who also teaches and performs that music, recently offered the lyrics to a canal song he believes may refer to the Black River Canal. The song was related by Des Powell (who was living in Arizona at the time) to folklorist Sam Eskin in 1946. According to Ruch at the bottom of Eskin’s notes he scribbled “Black River Canal”.

O! it’s nine miles to my darlin’, nine miles to go,
Nine miles on the old Rome haul
Gee this boat is slow
O! if ever I get back to my darlin
I ain’t gonna leave her no more
Gonna Settle down in old Rome town and open up a country story

First you pass a foundry and then you pass a mill
Then you pass Walt Waterbery’s place the other side of the hill
Then you pass a graveyard and then a bridge that’s low
Then it’s 9 more miles to my darling

O when last I saw my darlin, she was standin in the toll-house door
The tears run down her pretty little cheeks and they fell with a splash on the floor
O, if ever I get back to my darlin I ain’t gonna leave her no more
gonna settle down in old Rome town and open up a country store
By God and open up a country store.

If that second verse rings a bell, contact Dave Ruch at dave@daveruch.com.

Erie Canal Celebrates 200 Years of History


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April 2011 marked the 200th anniversary of the key decisions for the construction of the Erie Canal, a monumental public works project that transformed the economy of New York State.

Two centuries ago, on April 8, 1811, the state Legislature approved a measure that set into motion the construction of the Erie Canal. This followed the delivery of a report on March 2, 2011 of a report by the original Commission.

The 363-mile-long Erie Canal corridor offers numerous opportunities for shippers, boaters, bicyclists and walkers. The canal-side venues are the scenes of dozens of festivals, fairs and community events throughout the year.

In addition to its traditional role as a transportation corridor, the Canal system serves critical Upstate needs for hydropower, drinking water, irrigation and flood control.

The inter-agency Mohawk-Erie Corridor Study is examining how sustainable transportation assets can promote economic growth in Upstate New York.

The original Canal Commission was comprised of some of the most distinguished citizens of New York: Stephen Van Rensselaer, Gouverneur Morris, DeWitt Clinton, Simeon DeWitt, William North, Thomas Eddy and Peter R. Porter.

It had been directed by the Legislature in 1810 to conduct a survey across New York to examine possible routes for the canal. The Canal Commission suggested that such a canal not only could, but should, be built by New Yorkers to link the Great Lakes with the Atlantic seaboard.

The suggestion that a canal be constructed “350 miles through the wilderness” of upstate New York had been described by President Thomas Jefferson as “a little short of madness.” Still, the Canal Commissioners had concluded that it was not only possible, but that the benefits to New York, and the nation, would be enormous.

However audacious the plan, the Commissioners’ report accurately predicted that the benefits would far outweigh the costs, whatever the price: “Thus, were it (by giving a loose to fancy) extended to fifty millions of dollars, even that enormous sum does not exceed half the value of what, in all human probability, and at no distant period, will annually be carried along the Canal.”

When the Legislature adopted the Commission report, it appropriated $15,000 for the Commission to continue its work and added two more distinguished members Robert L. Livingston and Robert Fulton.

The New York State Canal System is comprised of four historic waterways, the Erie, the Champlain, the Oswego and the Cayuga-Seneca Canals. Spanning 524 miles across New York State, the waterway links the Hudson River, Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes and the Niagara River with communities rich in history and culture. For more information regarding events, recreational and vacation opportunities along the Canal System, please visit www.canals.ny.gov or call 1-800-4CANAL4.

The New York State Canal Corporation is a subsidiary of the New York State Thruway Authority. State legislation in 1992 transferred the Canal System from the New York State Department of Transportation to the Thruway Authority. Canal operating and maintenance activities are supported by Thruway toll revenues.

The New York State Thruway Authority/Canal Corporation offers a free email service called TRANSalert to its customers via email or text messaging to inform them of major incidents and emergencies that may affect travel on the Thruway or navigation on the Canal System. To sign up for the Canal TRANSalert service, visit the website.

Schoharie: ‘Canals during the Civil War’ Exhibit


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The Schoharie Crossing Visitor Center is presenting a temporary exhibit entitled “Canals during the Civil War” in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. This small exhibit opens May 4th and runs through October 29. The exhibit includes photos and maps of the Erie Canal, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and Grant’s Canal near Vicksburg. The exhibit can be viewed during regular Visitor Center hours. Continue reading

Sixth Annual Canal Clean Sweep, April 15-17


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In recognition of Earth Day 2011 and in preparation for the upcoming 187th consecutive navigation season on the New York State Canal System, the New York State Canal Corporation is partnering with Parks & Trails New York, and the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) to sponsor the Sixth Annual Canal Clean Sweep during the weekend of April 15th-17th, 2011.

The Canal Clean Sweep highlights the growing significance of the Canal System and the Canalway Trail System as a recreational and tourism destination across the state by encouraging communities, not-for-profit organizations and volunteers to engage in cleanup and beautification activities along the Canal System and the Canalway Trail.

More than 90 communities, service groups, and businesses across the New York State Canal System are participating in the Canal Clean Sweep by hosting local clean up activities in Canal parks, along public promenades and on Canalway Trail segments in their region.

The New York State Canal System is comprised of four historic waterways, the Erie, the Champlain, the Oswego and the Cayuga-Seneca Canals. Spanning 524 miles across New York State, the waterway links the Hudson River, Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes and the Niagara River with communities rich in history and culture.

For more information on the Sixth Annual Canal Clean Sweep or to help coordinate an event in your community, please visit www.ptny.org or contact Wally Elton with Parks & Trails New York at 518-434-1583 or welton@ptny.org.

Schoharie: Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s Roots


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Schoharie Crossing Visitor Center at 129 Schoharie Street, Fort Hunter, five miles west of Amsterdam will be hosting a lecture entitled “Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s Roots” to celebrate Women’s History Month, on Wednesday, March 16, at 7:00 pm.

Noel Levee of the Johnstown Historical Society will explores Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s early years in Johnstown and how her thoughts were shaped by the people around her. The route of the Erie Canal was a hot bed for social and political change throughout the 19th century which included the Women’s Rights Movement getting started in Seneca Falls, only a stone throw away from the Erie Canal. Continue reading

Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site Seeks Volunteers


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Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site is seeking volunteers, interns and members of their Friends group to help on a regular or semi regular basis around the historic site doing a variety of different jobs. Schoharie Crossing is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the Erie Canal as one of the 19th century’s greatest commercial and engineering projects. The Visitor Center exhibit traces the history of the Erie Canal and its impact on the growth of New York State and the nation. Continue reading

Canal Society Symposium Announced


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The Canal Society of New York State’s (CSNY) daylong 2011 Winter Symposium, will be held March 5th, 2011 at the Monroe Community College campus in Rochester, New York. The Symposium covers topics that are directly or indirectly related to historic or operating New York State Canals, canals and inland waterways worldwide, and the communities through which they run.

This year’s symposium will include a presentation, “Clinton’s Ditch and Enlarged Erie Aqueduct Survey” by Capt. Rob Mangold, Vice President, CSNY; “An Exploration of the Burlington and Desjardins Canals by Robert W. Sears, of the Canadian Canal Society; “Managing NYS Canal Infrastructure in Difficult Economic Times” by Carmella R. Mantello, Director of the NYS Canal Corporation; “Geographic Resources for the Erie Canal”; “Three Generations on the Erie Barge Canal: A Photographic Chronicle” by “High Canals and Deep Rivers—Southern Germany Waterways Tour” and more.

CSNYS membership is not a requirement to attend. Pre-registration cost prior to February 23rd is $40 per person.

Contact:

David L. Kipp
61 Thistledown Drive
Rochester, NY 14617

The $40 per person cost covers a continental breakfast, coffee break, lunch, parking and speaker fees. Provide Davd Kipp with the names of the attendees and a telephone number. A check for $40 should be made payable to: Canal Society of New York State

Registration can be made on the day of the seminar at $50 per person.

A downloadable program can be found at the society’s website.

Historic Canal Tug Urger Concludes 2010 Season


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More than 5,000 schoolchildren visited the historic tugboat Urger during the recently concluded 19th season as an educational resource for the New York State Canal System.

During the summer months, the Urger hosts thousands of visitors at numerous Canal festivals and events throughout the Canal Corridor. The Urger also provided one of the many highlights at the 2010 World Canals Conference held in Rochester in September.

Canal Corporation Director Carmella R. Mantello said, “The tug Urger educational program has once again been a great success. Thousands of schoolchildren from across New York State participate every year in hands on activities to learn about the significant and unparalleled role New York’s Canals have played in shaping our state and nation. The Canal Corporation is pleased to partner with communities and schools throughout the Canal corridor to allow the public to learn firsthand about this historic vessel and to learn about the past, present and future of the New York State Canal System.”

The tug Urger logged more than 3,000 miles traveling across the Canal System during 2010. During the spring and fall educational programs, the Urger visited more than 30 communities. Students in fourth-grade classes at local schools take field trips to the tug and participate in shoreside, “hands-on” educational sessions. There they learn about the history of the Canals and the role construction of the Erie Canal played in making New York the “Empire State.”

Throughout the summer months, the Urger represented the Canal Corporation at many Canal-related events and festivals throughout the system, as well as being a featured vessel at this year’s World Canals Conference.

During the winter months, the Urger is in dry dock in Lyons, New York, where canal staff will be preparing it for the 2011 navigation season.

Celebrating more than 100 years of service, the tug Urger is the Canal Corporation’s flagship vessel. It was christened the Henry J. Dornbos in Michigan on June 13, 1901, and saw service as a fishing boat in the Great Lakes for two decades.

In the early 1920s, the tug was sold, renamed the Urger, and entered the New York State Canal fleet. Stationed in Waterford, the Urger served more than 60 years hauling machinery, dredges, and scows on the Erie and Champlain Canals until she was retired from service in the late 1980s.

In 1991 Capt. Schuyler M. Meyer, Jr., founder for the private non-profit State Council on Waterways, was given a permit to operate the tug as a floating classroom along the canal system, teaching elementary school students about the original Erie Canal and today’s expanded, modern-day inland waterway. Upon Capt. Meyer’s passing in the mid 1990s, the Canal Corporation continued the program and used the Urger as the official ambassador for the New York State Canal System, serving as the focal point of its educational program since 1994.

The Urger has been on the State and National Registers of Historic Places since September, 2001.

The Tug Urger Educational Program is available to all New York State schools at no cost. Class size and presentations are limited and are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For more information on how to take advantage of this educational program or to schedule a visit to your community, call 518-471-5349 or visit the Canal Corporation’s Website and click on “Tugboat Urger.”

The New York State Canal System is comprised of four historic waterways, the Erie, the Champlain, the Oswego and the Cayuga-Seneca Canals. Spanning 524 miles across New York State, the waterway links the Hudson River, Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes and the Niagara River with communities rich in history and culture.

Photo: State canals Director Carmella R. Mantello is shown speaking with local school children who are touring the 109 year-old Tug Urger in Waterford Harbor. The historic state vessel cruises the 524-mile state canal system each season teaching young students about the early canal era and today’s modern-day inland waterway.

Lyons Erie Canal Improvements Opened


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The New York State Canal Corporation and the Village of Lyons, Wayne County, have officially opened the Lyons waterfront improvements along the Erie Canal at North Side Canal Park. The opening event also welcomed the 2010 World Canals Conference International Flotilla which was en route to Rochester.

The project, partially funded through an Erie Canal Greenway Grant, provided new docks on both sides of the Erie Canal and additional improvements to the boating area and park.

The flotilla was bound for Rochester as part of the 2010 World Canals Conference September 20-24. Included in the flotilla were boats from the Canal Corporation’s historic and working fleet, historic tugboats, and a variety of recreational pleasure craft. From the junction of the Erie Canal and Genesee River the fleet traveled north along the Genesee River, in a grand parade to Corn Hill Landing in Rochester.

Directions to the North Side Canal Park in Lyons: Take NYS Thruway (I-90) to Interchange 42 (Geneva, Lyons, Route 14) toward Sodus Point. Turn left to Route 14 North. Turn left onto Water Street. Municipal parking is available adjacent to the Firehouse.

Boating Museum Donates Important Canal Marker


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The Finger Lakes Boating Museum commemorated the important role of the Cayuga-Seneca Canal in the development of Geneva by donating an historical marker for the city’s waterfront. City and boating museum officials dedicated the marker in a ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday on the lakefront near the Geneva Area Chamber of Commerce building. Bill Oben, President of the Boating Museum, made the presentation to Mayor Stu Einstein.

The dedication ceremony coincided with the stopover in Geneva of the Lois McClure, an 88-foot canal schooner moored for three days on the lakefront just west of the Chamber. The McClure is a full-scale working replica of an 1862 canal schooner, a unique example of working vessels that carried goods throughout Northeastern waterways during the 19th century.

“The scheduled arrival of the schooner Lois McClure in Geneva harbor this week is a wonderful reminder of the significant role the Cayuga-Seneca Canal played in the development of Geneva and the region beyond throughout the 19th century,” said Oben. “The last vestiges of the canal along the Geneva waterfront disappeared long ago as the old waterway was filled in to make way for the arterial highway. As we plan the future home of the Finger Lakes Boating Museum on the site of the original entrance to this historic canal, it’s appropriate to recognize this with placement of an enduring marker identifying the former location of this important transportation artery.”

Oben said the historical marker at the original canal entrance will be similar to others already along the waterfront that note significant people and places in Geneva’s history. Geneva Granite donated the granite base for the plaque.

The plaque on the marker will read as follows: “At this point in 1828, water from Seneca Lake was first released into the newly constructed Cayuga-Seneca Canal, forming a navigable link to the Erie Canal. This waterway enabled commerce to flow between Seneca and the Hudson River and soon became an economic engine that brought wealth and prosperity to the City of Geneva and other municipalities along its path. Eventually supplanted by rail and truck transportation, this channel was abandoned in the 1920s and ultimately filled in.”

The boating museum reached agreement with the City of Geneva last fall to establish a permanent home on the Geneva waterfront in association with the Visitor Center. The facility, which will be located on the current Chamber site, is being enabled by a $3.5 million grant provided to the city by State Sen. Michael Nozzolio.

The boating museum has assembled a collection of 100 wooden boats built in the Finger Lakes over the past 100 years, as well as numerous related artifacts and extensive reference material. The collection is being moved to a storage facility in the Geneva Enterprise Development Center on North Genesee Street arranged by the Geneva Industrial Development Authority.

Portions of the collection will be displayed on a rotating basis within the new facility. Also planned are interactive workshops and displays to engage visitors in the design, construction and use of the boats and an active on-water program including sailing and small boat handling.

The boating museum is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation and was chartered by the New York State Department of Education in 1997 to “research, document, preserve and share the boating history of the Finger Lakes region.”

Additional information about the boating museum may be found on its website.

The canal schooner Lois McClure, whose homeport is Lake Champlain, is making a 1,000-mile journey across New York’s canals as it stops in 20 ports of call. The tour will culminate in September with a trip to the World Canals Conference in Rochester. The schooner also stopped in Geneva in 2007 on a similar tour.

The expedition is made possible by a partnership between the New York State Canal Corporation, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, and the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership. This voyage is an opportunity for the public to learn more about the region’s interconnected waterways and the many activities found along the New York State Canal System and Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, highlighting the Canal System’s roles in transportation, recreation and tourism. Tours of the boat with interpretive presentations, wayside exhibits and educational materials will be provided free of charge to the public at each stop.

The schooner is a full-scale replica of an 1862 sailing canal boat. Constructed in Burlington, Vt., and launched in 2004, the Lois McClure is an exact replica of canal schooners found shipwrecked in the waters of Lake Champlain. The unique sailing-canal boats were the tractor-trailers of the 19th century, designed to sail from lake cities to canal ports using wind power. Upon reaching a canal, the masts were lowered and centerboards raised, transforming the vessel into a typical canal boat.

The schooner is named for Lois McClure, who was born in 1926 and grew up in Burlington, Vt. In 1954, McClure married James Warren McClure, an owner and publisher of the Burlington Free Press, and later a major stockholder and Vice President of the Gannett Company, Inc. In 1971, the McClures left Burlington for Rochester, where Lois McClure continued her education. In 1978, after J. Warren McClure retired, they moved to Key Largo, Fla., spending summers in Charlotte, until they returned to Vermont in 2002.

In the 1970s, the McClures began to make significant financial contributions to organizations in the Burlington area and elsewhere. After her husband became ill in the 1990s, Lois McClure took on the leadership role in their philanthropy, a role she has continued since her husband’s death in 2004. The schooner was named in McClure’s honor for her major contribution to the schooner construction and support of many other community projects.

Photo: Bill Oben (left), president of the Finger Lakes Boating Museum, presents Geneva Mayor Stu Einstein with a copy of the historical marker that the boating museum donated to the city to mark the entrance to the Cayuga-Seneca Canal. In the background is the Lois McClure, a replica of a canal boat that stopped in Geneva on a tour of New York State canal waterways.

Utica Harbor Lock Reopens, Dredged Soon


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The New York State Canal Corporation has announced the start of dredging of the City of Utica Harbor and the re-opening of the refurbished Utica Harbor Lock. The recently completed rehabilitation of the lock by the Canal Corporation will allow dredging to occur for the first time in 30 years. The dredging will allow use of the harbor for future recreational, tourism and economic development opportunities.

Utica’s location on the Erie Canal middle section (the first to open in 1820) stimulated its industrial development. The Chenango Canal, connecting Utica and Binghamton, opened in 1836, and provided a further stimulus for economic development by providing water transportation of coal from Northeast Pennsylvania. With the opening of the Canal, Utica’s population increased threefold over a span of ten years. By the late 19th century, Utica had become a transportation hub and a commercial center but was somewhat limited in its industrial capacity due to low water power on the Mohawk River.

The New York State Canal Corporation is a subsidiary of the New York State Thruway Authority. In 1992 State legislation transferred the Canal System from the New York State Department of Transportation to the Thruway Authority. Canal operating and maintenance activities are supported by Thruway toll revenues.

Illustration: Bird’s eye view of the city of Utica, Oneida County, New York 1873. Drawn by H. Brosius.

Registration for 5th Canal Splash! Now Open


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The New York State Canal Corporation, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and Parks & Trails New York have announced that the Fifth Annual Canal Splash! will take place during the weekend of August 13-15, 2010. This year’s Canal Splash! will offer a series of locally organized events designed to highlight the history, beauty, culture and recreational appeal of the New York State Canal System and Canalway Trail.

Any Canal Corridor community, business, club or non-profit organization may participate in the Canal Splash! and may register its event at www.nyscanals.gov/exvac/special-events/splash/index.html. Examples of local events include, but are not limited to, nature or history walks along the Canal or Canalway Trail; museum gallery features or exhibits; group bicycle rides on the Canalway Trail; rowing regattas; Canalside business or restaurant specials; kayak or canoe tours; cruise boat tours; Canal festivals, concerts and more.

The Canal Corporation encourages those along the Canal to help create awareness and generate additional exposure for their communities, businesses or events by participating in this year’s Canal Splash!. Last year’s Canal Splash! featured more than 120 events and attracted tens of thousands of visitors during the three day, multi-location celebration.

Canal Splash! will be promoted through a printed guide that will be distributed widely during July and August and will drive people to the online listing. In order to gain maximum exposure, it is encouraged that events be registered no later than June 3, 2010 to be included in the printed guide.

For more information about the Fifth Annual Canal Splash! or to register an event, please refer to www.nyscanals.gov/exvac/special-events/splash/index.html or contact the New York State Canal Corporation at (518) 436-3055.

The New York State Canal System is comprised of four historic waterways, the Erie, the Champlain, the Oswego and the Cayuga-Seneca Canals. Spanning 524 miles across New York State, the waterway links the Hudson River, Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes and the Niagara River with communities rich in history and culture.

History Groups Among Recipients of Canal Grants


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The New York State Canal Corporation has announced the recipients of the 2010 Canal Corporation Tourism Matching Grant Awards Program and the list includes several public history organizations. A total of $30,000 is being awarded to a total of 16 projects for local and regional initiatives to promote the New York State Canal System and Canalway Trail as a year-round recreational resource and tourism destination. A full list of the 2010 grant recipients is below, but it includes the Niagara County Historical Society, Schenectady Heritage Area, and Historic Palmyra among other groups whose goals include historical tourism.

The grant program was open to designated Tourism Promotion Agencies (TPAs), Chambers of Commerce, Nonprofit organizations and canal communities in New York State for the development of Canal System promotional material consistent with regional themes set forth in the Canal Recreationway Plan and recommendations contained in the state’s “A Report on the Future of New York State Canals”.

The grants provide up to $2,500 for the development of promotional materials that promote the Canal System and/or Canalway Trail, or specific Canal-related events, festivals or attractions.

Special consideration was given this year to applications that involved collaborative partnerships among several TPAs and/or private industry to create multi-county, regional thematic canal destinations and self-guided tours consistent with historical, cultural, urban and environmental assets and attractions contained along or within the Canal System and the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.

Additionally, all awarded projects incorporated Canal Corporation logos and the New York Canal System’s promotional theme: “Cruise the Past, Unlock the Adventure”. Materials will be made available to the public at no charge.

The New York State Canal System is comprised of four historic waterways, the Erie, the Champlain, the Oswego and the Cayuga-Seneca Canals. Spanning 524 miles across New York State, the waterway links the Hudson River, Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes and the Niagara River with communities rich in history and culture. For more information regarding events, recreational and vacation opportunities along the Canal System, visit www.nyscanals.gov or call 1-800-4CANAL4.

The New York State Canal Corporation is a subsidiary of the New York State Thruway Authority (Authority). Since 1992, following State legislation transferring the Canal System from the New York State Department of Transportation to the Authority, Canal operating and maintenance activities have been supported by Thruway toll revenue.

2010 CANAL CORPORATION TOURISM MATCHING GRANTS (listed by Canal)

Agency Name – Contact – Grant Award

Canal System-wide

• Canal New York Marketing and Business Alliance, Inc., Victoria Daly, $2,500.00

Erie Canal

• Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway Coalition, Inc., Eric Hamilton, $2,500.00

• Schenectady Heritage Area, Maureen Gebert, $2,500.00

• Stockade Association, Lyn Gordon, $800.00

• U.S. Water Ski Show Team, Kara Pangburn, $2,000.00

• Town of Niskayuna, Lori Peretti, $500.00

• Historic Palmyra, Bonnie Hays, $1,050.00

• Fairport Village Partnership, Scott Winner, $2,500.00

• Niagara County Historical Society, Douglas Farley, $1,117.50

• Lockport Main Street, Inc., Heather Peck, $2,400.00

• Chamber of Commerce of the Tonawandas, Joyce Santiago, $2,500.00

Champlain Canal

• Lakes to Locks Passage, Inc., Janet Kennedy, $2,500.00

• Hudson Crossing Park, Inc., Marlene Bissell, $2,500.00

• Rensselaer County, Christine Golden, $1,427.84

Oswego Canal

• Oswego County Dept. of Community Development, Tourism and Planning, Janet Clerkin, $2,500.00

Cayuga Seneca Canal

• Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance, Sarah Osterling, $700.00

Canal Splash Event: Erie Canal Tour of Cayuga County


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The Old Brutus Historical Society, Weedsport; Lock 52 Historical Society, Port Byron; and the Montezuma Historical Society, will present an all day canal sites tour as part of the statewide Canal Splash day. “Following The Flow: The Tale of Two Erie Canals; A Narrative Driving and Walking Tour Featuring Historic Canal Sites and Villages Along the Erie Canal in Cayuga County, NY, will be a day long celebration of the Erie Canal following its route through the three canal villages of Weedsport, Port Byron, and Montezuma.

Participants will learn about the original Erie Canal, and its replacement, the Enlarged Erie. We will tour five canal sites and see the remains of canal structures. We will also learn about the canal side businesses, a murder, the largest grain mill in the state (in 1830) and even a little about the Montezuma Swamps (and much more).

The tour is organized so that you can do it at your own pace, or, by joining one of two guided groups. The tours consists of two walking segments; one in Montezuma and the other in Port Byron; and driving between other stops that are located alongside the road. Both walking tours cover about 1.6 miles.

The guided tours are structured so that you can pick and chose what stops you wish to see. There is no cost for attending the tours. The organizers are asking that people pre-register if they wish to attend the guided tour.

Details on times and stops are available on the blog site at http://www.canalsplash.blogspot.com/

This event is part of a yearly Canal Splash Celebration of the extraordinary history and culture of the New York Canal System and the Erie Canalway Trail that is coordinated by the New York State Canal Corporation and the Erie Canalway National Corridor.

Photo: Erie Canal’s Centreport Aqueduct, West of Weedsport in Cayuga County. Courtesy http://www.eriecanal.org/

Symposium: Early Transportation in The Mohawk Valley


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The 2009 Western Frontier Symposium, “Moving Frontiers: Early Transportation in the Mohawk Valley,” will be held this weekend, October 17 – 18, 2009, at Fulton Montgomery Community College in Johnstown. This year’s symposium will explore the ways that transportation changed the culture, economy and social life in the Mohawk Valley from 1700 to 1890. As turnpikes, canals and railroads made it easier to move people and goods, New York¹s colonial frontier became the central corridor into America’s midlands.

The events keynote speaker will be Daniel Larkin, noted author of books on railroad and canal engineering, and editor of Erie Canal: New York’s Gift to The Nation. He will talk about the central role of Mohawk Valley transportation and technologies in shaping the New York State we know today.

Other symposium scholars will present fascinating insights into various aspects of the region’s transportation history – from native American trails and early canals, through the glory days of the Erie Canal and into the railroad age and the first bicycle craze.

Participants can learn about early roads, the businesses that served merchants and travelers, and the impact of these movements on the Palatine and Dutch settlements of the Mohawk Valley and then spend a day at historic sites throughout the region, viewing special exhibits related to transportation history and discussing specific topics with additional speakers in the field.

All presentations are free and open to the public, thanks to the generosity of the New York Council for the Humanities a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities

Tickets for Special Events & Packages are available for a fee. (Pre-registration required.)

The event is sponsored by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Fulton-Montgomery Community College, NYS Archives Partnership Trust, Mohawk Valley Heritage Corridor Commission, Arkell Museum at Canajoharie, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor & related Mohawk Valley historic sites

For additional details visit the website: www.oldfortjohnson.org/symposium.html

Historic Vessels Arrive in Plattsburgh For Events


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The historic canal motorship Day Peckinpaugh arrived in Plattsburgh today as it travels the Champlain and Hudson Corridor on its 500-mile Quadricentennial Legacy Voyage. The 259-foot canal boat, built in 1921, will be joined by the replica 1862 canal schooner Lois McClure and 1901 Tug Urger at the Wilcox Dock in Plattsburgh on August 11-12 and at the Burlington waterfront on August 14-16. The public is invited to step on board free of charge (see tour schedule below for hours). Continue reading

3.1 Million For Historic Erie / Champlain Canal Tug Boat


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The New York State Museum has received a $3.1 million federal transportation grant to make mechanical upgrades to the Day Peckinpaugh, paving the way for the historic canal boat’s transformation into a permanent floating museum, dedicated to sharing the history and heritage of the state’s canal system.

As the first motorship of its kind specifically designed for the dimensions of the 20th-century Erie Barge Canal, and the last surviving vessel of its kind remaining afloat, the Peckinpaugh has become an iconic fixture on the state’s waterways. Built in 1921 in Duluth, Minnesota to carry grain from the Midwest to New York City, it was the harbinger for nearly a hundred other canal motorships that were seen everywhere on the waterway until 1950. In 1994, the Peckinpaugh made its final commercial voyage, with communities from Rome to Oswego turning out to wave goodbye.

Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Peckinpaugh was saved from the scrap heap in 2005 through the efforts of the New York State Museum, in partnership with the New York State (NYS) Canal Corporation; NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor Commission; the National Park Service and the Canal Society of New York State.

The Peckinpaugh is scheduled to have temporary exhibits installed for the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain quadricentennial celebration tour in August and September. This was organized by the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor, in conjunction with the State Museum, Saratoga National Historical Park and the New York State Canal Corporation. This new federal grant will provide funds for the rehabilitation work necessary before permanent exhibits can be installed and the Peckinpaugh is ready for continuous tours.

The grant was among more than $81 million in federal funding for 59 transportation projects across New York State, announced by Governor David Paterson. Funds will be allocated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP) projects. TEP finances transportation improvements with cultural, aesthetic, historical and environmental significance. It’s hoped the projects will make necessary improvements to local walkways, bicycle paths and other transportation routes while spurring economic development and job creation.

The value of a waterborne traveling exhibition, dedicated to sharing the history of the canal system, became apparent when more than a million visitors turned out to visit the 1976 Bicentennial Barge, which reached several dozen communities over a five-month journey. It is estimated that as much as 85 percent of the state’s population live in regions within a half-hour drive of the state’s waterway network.

The Peckinpaugh will follow a schedule of visits from New York City to Plattsburgh to Buffalo to Ithaca. When it is not touring during the navigation season it will be available for tours at the historic Matton Shipyard at Peebles Island State Park in Waterford. During the winter season it may also be open at its winter berth on the Waterford Flight.

Plans call for the Peckinpaugh’s permanent exhibitions to be installed and ready for visitors by summer 2010. The National Park Service will coordinate the development and operation of the exhibitions in the 130-foot long open cargo hold of the motorship, which at one time carried 160 tons of dry cement. While maintaining the Peckinpaugh’s industrial character, initial plans call for the creation of a gallery that is nearly as large as some gallery spaces in the State Museum. The gallery will be universally accessible and compliant with the American Disabilities Act..

This grant will help to mitigate a decade of neglect that left many of the boat’s mechanical systems in disrepair when it was largely abandoned in Erie, Pa. between 1995 and 2005. It follows a $290,000 grant in 2006 from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation’s Environmental Protection Fund that has been used to stabilize the Peckinpaugh. Additional work will include the replacement of fuel tanks, ballast piping and valves, the possible addition of a new ballast tank and the rebuilding of fresh water, sanitary and electrical systems. Plans also include some hull plate replacement, repair and painting.