History will be entering the Mohawk Valley via the canal waterway this month as the 1862 replica canal schooner Lois McClure embarks on a tour.
The schooner entered the state Canal System on Thursday in Oswego, and is scheduled to get to Rome on Sept. 11, then stop in Frankfort and Little Falls later that week before continuing its journey to its homeport in Vergennes, Vt. The journey highlights the maritime heritage of New York and Canada, focusing on the War of 1812.
“As a major sponsor of her four-month voyage commemorating the War of 1812, we celebrate the rich maritime heritage of the Empire State and surrounding regions,” state Canal Corp. Director Brian Stratton said in a news release.
The Lois McClure, an authentic replica of an 1862 canal boat, is scheduled to travel through 40 communities along the connected waterways through the Oswego Canal, eastern Erie Canal, Champlain Canal and Lake Champlain. The ship will complete its voyage at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vermont.
“When we have an opportunity to host an extraordinary vessel like the Lois McClure, it affords a rare opportunity for people to step aboard and back through time,” said Howard Milstein, chairman of the state Thruway Authority and Canal Corp.
Schooner first mate Erick Tichonuk has said that in a day and age when it’s increasingly difficult to get and hold people’s attention, the Lois McClure has a way of drawing people in and capturing their interest.
“What this boat does is it’s really the best history book, textbook ever made,” he said. “It’s a tangible link.”
Tichonuk, also co-executive director of the museum, said they’re thrilled to again be traveling the waters.
“The friends we’ve made and places we’ve seen on past transits have produced great memories and a tremendous sense of enthusiasm on the part of the crew to be traveling through once again,” he said.
For information, visit www.lcmm.org and click on Schooner Lois McClure.