Art Contest at Schoharie Crossing!

The Friends of Schoharie Crossing are inviting painters residing in New York State to showcase their work in a competitive, juried exhibition. The theme of the exhibition is Lock in the Fun: Recreation at Schoharie Crossing.

To recognize the centennial of the NYS Barge Canal, Schoharie Crossing will be hosting this second annual exhibition of talented artists in the newly renovated Visitor Center. This year the focus will be on paintings only. Jurors have accepted the task of reviewing the artwork and prizes will be awarded to those honored by the jurors. 

The Erie Canal historic site and NYS Park is a great place for recreation such as walking, cycling, kayaking, fishing, birdwatching, picnics, and more. The site supplies views of nature as well and the historic canal structures are juxtaposed among the natural world of plants and animals along the Schoharie Creek and Mohawk River. The trails along old towpaths of the canal allow for a journey back in time. Flora and fauna thrive within the waterways, wetlands and open spaces of Schoharie Crossing, lending great inspiration for any artist.

Schoharie Crossing encompasses over two hundred acres and spans over three miles in length. From the western end of the site at the Aqueduct boat launch, across the Schoharie Creek and east to Yankee Hill Lock and the Putman Canal Store. The site contains portions of the original 1820’s Erie Canal as well as features two sets of double locks from the Enlarged Era Canal and is adjacent to the Erie Canal of today; the Mohawk River. Lock E12 at Tribes Hill on the river is situated close to the site and provides access to witnessing the newest century old canal of today.

The deadline for submissions is May 1, 2018 and submissions can be made online. The exhibit’s opening celebration will take place during the Schoharie Crossing Canal Days festivities, July 14th and 15th, 2018, and artwork will be displayed through August. For more information on how to enter, visit the Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site page of the New York State Parks website, call Schoharie Crossing at (518) 829-7518, or email SchoharieCrossing@parks.ny.gov

 

History in your Backyard Series: A behind the scenes look at the Revolutionary War

History in Your Backyard Series: A behind the scenes look at the Revolutionary War

 

We make history fun and exciting!

Have you ever wanted to get an insider’s look into history?  Would you like to see recently uncovered artifacts that provide insight into the region’s long history, explore a historic home that served as a Revolutionary War field hospital, or interact with a “real” soldiers at a military encampment?  You can do all of this plus enjoy wine tasting, take a boat ride, and enjoy an incredible local farm to table lunch just by signing up at www.akibatravel.com. This inaugural guided tour will take you to of some of the region’s hidden gems for a one-of-a-kind experience.

Mohawk Maiden Cruises

Learn archaeologist’s techniques and view recently discovered artifacts from the Revolutionary War era; experience harsh camp life of Revolutionary War soldiers at Saratoga Battlefield’s Annual Encampment; take a boat cruise on the historic Champlain Canal; and, discover the unmarked destinations and under-told stories that provide a new look into our region’s past. We will even visit a historic home that was once a Revolutionary War field hospital and view remnants of blood stained floors, a 1777 cannon ball lodged in a beam, and the basement where the Baroness Riedesel, wife of the General Riedesel hid with her three children during the siege.

This day-long trip will begin at 8:30AM at 12 Spring St. Schuylerville, NY, and return by 5:00PM.  Farm-to-table lunch is included in the price with an add-on option for a dinner reception after the tour. Cost is $75 per person. Price includes: transportation, boat ride, guides, lunch, access to all attractions and more.

Call: 518-322-2067 or visit www.akibatravel.com for more information.

This program is presented by Akiba Travel LLC.

The Bicentennial Canal Theatre Project

The Bicentennial Canal Theatre Project is proud to present on August 18th, at 8pm an outdoor theatre production on the historic Derrick Boat 8 located at the H. Lee White Maritime Museum

The Oswego Canal Play, a one act play written by Oswego native Rick Sivers is based on historical characters that lived in Oswego in the 1830’s, a time when the Erie and Oswego Canals played an important role in the development of American as people migrated west.

One night only, admission is FREE to the public. Bring your own seating, alternative rain-date will be Saturday the 19th.  

The event is supported in part by the City of Oswego, The H. Lee White Maritime Museum and Pathfinder Bank. This event is appropriate for the entire family

 

 

Spencerport Heritage Days

Spencerport Heritage Day August 19th – 10am-3pm

Take a step back in time! Spencerport Heritage Day is in its third year.  This event is the official August event on the Ogden Bicentennial/Spencerport Sesquicentennial celebrations calendar.   It is a day of celebrating history and looking back at how we used to live and what items looked like in the past.   We have spinning and yarning demonstrations, a variety of displays, historic games and activities to suit people young and old. We will have bands playing all day.  The Golden Eagles String Band will be entertaining us with their Folk songs and Erie Canal songs from 10am-12pm.  From 1pm-3pm, The Crawdiddies, an Americana Band will be performing for us.

All Day Events include:

Displays and Demos

Before and After Photos Spinning and Weaving

Old Tools Ogden Historical Display

Spencerport Fire Pumper

Entertainment 10am-12pm Golden Eagles String Band 1pm-3pm The Crawdiddies

Activities

Historic Games Yarn Doll Making

Toy and Musical Instrument Making

Writing with a Quill Pen

Historic Spencerport Village Walks

Fishing on the Canal FREE ENTRY Snacks and Refreshments on Sale For more info, please call Simon on (585) 352-0942

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“This project is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by the Genesee Valley Council on the Arts at the Livingston Arts Center, a member supported organization.”

O’GHOSTS! COME BACK AGAIN!

 

O’GHOSTS! COME BACK AGAIN!

An American Labor Story on the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of the Erie Canal.

By

Hugh Pratt

       One day, walking on the historic site of the opening of the Erie Canal in Buffalo, New York, I imagined I heard the voices of the 9000 ditch diggers who began excavating the Erie Canal two hundred years ago on July 4th, 1817. Some nights, if only in my dreams, I woke up to their plea to lend my ears to the nightmare thousands of young immigrants lived together as they authored with shovels, hands, and muscle, the world-famous Erie Canal. Now, after two centuries, they were asking if anyone would listen to their story? No one cared to listen two hundred years ago. Will the passing of time make any difference?

Anniversaries let us think of the dead. How often we think of our deceased mothers and fathers. For a moment, they are alive again. Oh, how much we wish we could freeze that moment in history. Thomas Wolfe in Look Homeward Angel cried out at the end of his novel saying, “O Ghosts, Come back again.” How much he wanted to return to his own past. Wherever our ghosts reside, that is a sacred part of us. Ghosts are eternal. And on this day, July 4, 2017, the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Erie Canal, we may be able to realize how much we care about those ghosts of the Erie Canal and those who made it happen two centuries ago.

The original Erie Canal was completed in 1825. There are only a few pieces of this canal left, but its spirit lives on in its modern version. And this life force is still flowing through some forty or fifty little port towns, large cities along the canal, as well as though mountains, rivers, and the countryside of Up State New York. Today, the Erie Canal is not just one Erie Canal. It is made up of many Erie Canals. Each little canal port has its own Erie Canal, its own history, Its own founders, and indeed, its own ghosts. And there is a prevailing spirit that runs through it all.; a conflicted force of inhumanity against humanity.

Perhaps this 4th of July will awaken the story of the thousands of workingmen who jabbed, jogged, nudged, scoped, shoveled, grubbed, and poked though swamps, mountains, escarpments, dark and terrifying forests to build this river of hope. Since there were no unions working conditions were horrific.   Awakened at three A.M. the diggers, working with only their bare hands and a few shovels, worked fourteen to sixteen hours a day. Many fainted from exhaustion as they shoveled through dismal swamps full of poisonous snakes and leeches which crawled up their legs. The contractors fed them whiskey hourly to keep them working and in the hot sun they became seriously ill.

The building of the Erie Canal was a million steps of inhumanity for most of those who did the heavy lifting. These men lived along the canal in small shanties, in some cases no larger than dog kennels and some lived like cattle in a barn.

Peter Way in Common Labor described them “as a dying mass that seemed to well up from the muck in which they worked, scorched by the sun, choked by the rain, and bitten by chill frost. Their days were measured out by the dull thud of shovel in dirt, by the chink of mallet on rock, by the muffled explosions of powder blast; their nights were marked by a pool of light spilling from shanty windows, by fumes of bubbling stew and acid rotgut hanging in the air. They were unequally unmatched in this world, a condition that left them with little influence during history, though they were the stuff of its making.”

In two hundred years no dirt grubber’s face has come down through the centuries to remind us of the laborers who helped build this historical monument we now call the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. For years their names have been locked away in New York State Historical Archives. Nowhere along the canal is there a plaque, or marker, or wall with the names of those who excavated the canal.

There are no statues, no portraits, no images of them anywhere. There are no places along the interstate 90, from Buffalo to Albany, where we can stop to have a cup of coffee and read about the ghosts of those who gave so much of their lives for this state and the nation.

   When the Erie Canal was completed in 1825 there were big celebrations in Buffalo and New York City. Many speeches were given praising the contractors, the engineers, and others who were also the creators of the Erie Canal. No public words recognized the ditch diggers that day. Or, any day.

On this 200th anniversary of the birth of the Erie Canal they will also be little said of those who dug the Erie Canal. But there are labor unions, activists, labor organization, colleges, and educational organizations all over the country that are fighting their hearts out to develop a moral social vision for labor which can bring a bright light into the story of labor in America.

So, on this coming July 4, 2017, the anniversary of the Erie Canal, many of us will walk along those historical waterfronts of our own Erie Canal and think about the ghosts of our own Ole Erie. Perhaps we may hear their voices, if only in our dreams. Then maybe, just maybe, our ghost will give us a message. And maybe, just maybe, some important people will hear this message, and just maybe, a new age for American labor will begin. O Ghosts. Come back again.

                                                                                             The End

Caption for the photo provided by Joni Lincoln, Director: Bart Wasilenko as Thomas Eddy, left and Bill Daughtery as DeWitt Clinton

   On June 26 and 27th, Clinton’s Ditch play will be performed at Divaney’s in Weedsport and on June 29 and 30, at Giardina Park in Montezuma. Show time is 7:30 P.M. at both places.

 

 

 

The Underground Railroad, Wayne County NY and the Erie Canal

New Underground Railroad History Book Now Available

 

There is a direct connection between the Underground Railroad and the Canals of New York. Many African Americans used the Canals as routes for escaping from Slavery. The canals gave some the pathway to Freedom, many others settled in canal towns throughout the Canal Corridor. Safe houses existed in many communities and a new book has just been released about the Underground Railroad and the importance that Wayne County played at that time in history.

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Corning Glass Museum Glass Barge

The Corning Glass Museum Glass Barge is coming to the Erie Canal. The museum has taken their mobile hot shops across the globe. This all-new world class performance venue brings floating Hot Glass Demos to the Museum’s New York State neighbors along the Erie Canal and its connected waterways.

In 2017, the Glass Barge will be featured at three public waterfront events on the Erie Canal to help celebrate the kickoff of the canal’s bicentennial. The Corning Glass Museums, Hot Glass Demo Team will be providing free public hot glass programming including daily glassmaking demonstrations with invited guest artists.

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Historic Palmyra

Located in the village of Palmyra located at mile marker 253 on the Erie Canal, Historic Palmyra is a must see on any trip within the Erie Canal Corridor. With 5 museums within easy walking distance from Palmyra’s Marina, Palmyra has been a vital community throughout the history of the Erie Canal, and is as important today as it was 200 years ago.

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The USS Slater begins her 20th year afloat in Albany NY

The USS Slater is open to the public for the ship’s 20the season. Since she first arrived in Albany, the USS Slater has been described as one of the best restored, most historically accurate World War II ships in the world. A National Historic Landmark, the USS Slater is the only remaining World War II Destroyer Escort afloat today in the US.

Destroyer Escorts originally were designed to battle Nazi U-Boats while escorting conveys across the Atlantic. There versatility proved useful in the Pacific defending task forces from Kamikaze attacks. Numerous Destroyer Escorts continued to serve during the Korean and Vietnam wars. The current US Navy Fleet’s Frigates are descendants of these small ships.

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