Campaign To Save Historic Canal Vessels

The Preservation League of New York State is seeking support for its efforts to protect the historic Tug Urger and other Erie Canal vessels that provide an authentic link to the past. The League recently learned that the New York State Canal Corporation under the New York Power Authority (NYPA) has plans to beach the tugboat Urger, flagship of the Erie Canal and beloved “teaching tug”. This vessel has introduced thousands of school children and members of the public to New York’s navigable waterways, reinforcing the role of the Erie Canal in making New York the Empire State. The Tug Urger used to travel up and down the canal system for school field trips and public events.

The Canal Corporation and NYPA want to pull it from the water and make it a dry-land exhibit at a NYS Visitor Center off the Thruway in Montgomery County. NYPA’s plans would permanently disable the Urger and prevent it from returning to service. The League is launching an advocacy campaign to call attention to the plight of the Urger and call on the Canal Corporation and New York Power Authority to work with stakeholders to develop a plan for the fleet of historic canal vessels, more than a dozen of which are slated to be scuttled off Long Island to create artificial reefs for sport fishing and recreational diving. According to Jay DiLorenzo, president of the Preservation League, “The Erie Canal is an engine for recreation and tourism with significant economic benefits for canal communities, businesses and New York State.

The Preservation League has been working for years to help communities in the Erie Canal Corridor address their unique preservation challenges and revitalize Canalside assets. #SaveTheUrger. Through more than $600,000 in grants, technical services, workshops, awards and the Industrial Heritage Reuse Project, the Preservation League has helped individuals, not-for-profits and municipalities throughout the canal corridor. Loans from the Endangered Properties Intervention Program (EPIP) have added more than $300,000 in support. “As we mark the 100th. Anniversary of the Barge Canal, it seems like a remarkably poor time to remove historic resources from the National Historic Landmark NYS Canal System” continued DiLorenzo. “It’s hard to imagine the future of the canal system without the Tug Urger and other significant historic vessels on the water. These vessels convey the sense of the New York State pride, stewardship, and heritage that are integral to a thriving, living waterway,” said Bob Radliff, Executive Director of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. “The canal tugboat Urger has served the New York State Barge Canal for more than a century and until very recently has been a highly effective traveling educational exhibit” said Mark Peckham, maritime historian and retired director of the NYS Bureau of Historic Sites. “The Urger symbolizes the pride New Yorkers feel about the National Historic Landmark canal system. It is essential that she continues to be maintained and operated with pride” according to Dan Wiles president of the Board of Directors of the Canal Society of New York State, “The 1901 Urger already had a storied career even before plying Barge Canal waters in the 1920’s serving as a fishing boat on Lake Michigan.  As one of the State’s maintenance workhorses, its presence overlaps nearly all the years of the Barge Canal, now celebrating its centennial. It has been appreciated by generations across these many years and across New York State. It is one of the essential links between that past and the future. We all need it to continue this mission on the waterway, being shared by communities throughout the Canal Corridor” In addition to the effort to save the Urger, the League is also calling on the Canal Corporation and the New York Power Authority to work with stakeholders to develop a plan for the remainder of the fleet of historic canal vessels, which currently numbers 57.

More information and a petition is located on the Preservation League’s website  The Preservation League of New York State invests in people and projects that champion the essential role of preservation in community revitalization, sustainable economic growth and the protection of our historic buildings and landscapes. We lead advocacy, economic development and education programs across the state.

Sign The Petition Here

 

Corning Glass Barge 2018

Glassmaking innovations in Corning have shaped the modern world, from the first electric light bulbs for Thomas Edison and the invention of optical fiber for telecommunications, to the glass used in modern flat screen displays. That story all began with a voyage on New York State’s waterways.
In 1868 the Brooklyn Flint Glass Company relocated to Corning via New York’s waterways. It evolved into the company that is today known as Corning Incorporated. In celebration of the 150th anniversary of this pivotal journey, The Corning Museum of Glass will launch the GlassBarge, a 30 x 80 canal barge equipped with Corning’s patented all-electric glassmaking equipment. The journey begins in Brooklyn Bridge Park on May 17th. 2018 and will then travel north on the Hudson and then begin its trip westward along the Erie Canal before making its way to the Finger Lakes.
Once on the Canal the GlassBarge is scheduled to make stops at Albany, Little Falls, Sylvan Beach, Baldwinsville, Fairport, Lockport, Buffalo, Medina, Brockport, Pittsford, Seneca Falls and Watkins Glen. A ceremonial last leg of the trip will take place by land concluding in Corning with a community-wide celebration on Sept. 22nd.
In addition to sharing the story of glassmaking in Corning, the GlassBarge tour will emphasize the continued role of New York’s waterways in shaping the state’s industry, culture and community. GlassBarge is the 2018 signature event for the statewide celebration of the Erie Canal Bicentennial The GlassBarge journey will also be celebrated back in Corning with the re-installation of the Crystal City Gallery, which shares the story of how Corning became one of the premier centers for glass cutting in the United States.
June 22nd. Troy -Riverfront Park
June 23 & 24th. Waterford – Waterford Canal Welcome Center
June 27th. Amsterdam – Riverlink Park
June 28th. Canajoharie – Riverfront Park
June 30th – July 1st. Little Falls – Little Falls Marina Rotary Park
July 3rd. Illion – Village of Illion Marina
July 5th. Rome – Bellamy Harbor Park
July 7th & 8th. Sylvan Beach – Dock wall in Sylvan Beach
July 13th – 15th. Baldwinsville – Paper Mill Island
July 18th. Lyons- Canal Wall behind the Fire Department
July 20th – 22nd. Fairport – Packets Landing
July 24th. Holley – Holley Canal Park
July 28th – 29th. Lockport – Upson Park.
July 31st. The Tonawanda’s – Gateway Harbor of the Tonawanda’s
August 3rd – 5th. Buffalo – Canalside
August 8th. Middleport – Middleport Harbor
August 11th – 12th. Medina – Medina Canal Basin
August 17th – 19th. Brockport – Brockport Welcome Center
August 22nd. Spencerport – Spencerport Depos & Canal Museum
August 25th – 26th Pittsford – Carpenter Park at the Port of Pittsford.
August 28th. Palmyra – Erie Canal Lock 29
September 1st. – 3rd. Seneca Falls – Seneca Falls Canal Harbor
September 14th – 16th Watkins Glen – Seneca Lake Pier
September 22nd. Corning
For more information on the Corning Museum of Glass GlassBarge click here or e-mail glassbarge@cmog.org.
For mor https://www.cmog.org/glassmaking/demos/hot-glass-demos/glassbarge e information, email glassbarge@cmog.org

Art Of The Erie Canal

The Art of The Erie Canal
The Erie Canal, the foremost engineering marvel of the 19th century, sparked the imagination of artists in America and abroad. On display through September 23, 2018 This companion exhibition to Enterprising Waters: New York’s Erie Canal looks at the art inspired by the canal and the opportunities it afforded artists both trained and untrained working in a variety of media, such as paintings, photographs, sketches, transfer-printed earthenware and beadwork. A selection of 60 works comes from the collections of the New York State Museum, the Arkell Museum at Canajoharie and other cultural institutions and private lenders from across the state.
These works represent just a small sample of the wealth of Erie Canal art made over the course of its first 150 years.
The New York State Museum gratefully acknowledges the lenders that have contributed to the Art of the Erie Canal exhibition:
Albany Institute of History & Art, Alexandra Anderson. Arkell Museum at Canajoharie, Dolores Elliott, Erie Canal Museum, Fenimore Art Museum, Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, New-York Historical Society, Onondaga Historical Association, Private Collection, Rochester Historical Society, and the Union College Permanent Collection

Champlain Canal Centennial Roundtables

Four roundtables celebrating the Champlain Canal Centennial have been scheduled for May. Each will feature a presentation, an informational sharing session, networking opportunities and a discussion period.

The roundtables are designed to bring together museum professionals, historical societies, archivists, local historians and community members to foster collaboration and to create unique thematic experiences for visitors

May 4th. 2018 from noon to 3pm. at the Waterford Harbor Visitor Center located at 1 Tugboat Alley, Brad Utter will present Community Building: The Growth of Canal Communities. Brad Utter is Senior Historian / Curator for Science and Technological History at the New York State Museum. His research focuses on the New York State Canal System and its impact on the community. He was curator for the exhibit marking the 200th. anniversary of the canal, Enterprising Waters New York’s Erie Canal

May 8th, 2018 from noon to 3pm, at the Silos, Maple Street, Hudson Falls, Jeanne Williams and Kim Harvish will present Immigration, Industrialization, and Innovation. Jeanne Williams is Executive Director of the Feeder Canal Alliance and Kim Harvish is educator at the Chapman Historical Museum. Williams focuses on the past, present, and future of the Feeder Canal that was once the economic engine of the area. Harvish uses the resources of the Chapman Historical Museum to integrate local history into programs that incorporate visual literacy components and primary documents

May 17th. 2018 from noon to 3pm. at the Schuyler Room of the Saratoga Town Hall 12 Spring Street Schuylerville. Craig Williams will present Building the Champlain Barge Canal: Treasurers in the NYS Archives. Craig Williams is a retired senior historian at the New York State Museum and a trustee of the Canal Society of New York State. He has spent over 50 years researching and documenting New York’s canal heritage. Using the unique resources of the New York State Archives along with oral histories. Williams will present stories about the engineering achievements and the people involved in the construction of the Champlain Canal.

May 19th. 2018 from 1pm. to 4pm. at the Crandall Public Library, 251 Glen St. Glens Falls. Erica Wolfe Burke will present Researching the People of the Feeder Canal. Erica Wolfe Burke is an archivist and special collections librarian at the Folklife Center at the Crandall Public Library. She assists families and genealogists researching upstate New York ancestry and has offered a series of family history workshops. Her presentation will culminate in a community archiving event with the Folklife Center as the repository for the images shared.

Preregistration is required for all events. $15 includes material and lunch. “Researching the People of the Feeder Canal” is free and does not include lunch.

Preregister by emailing mgibbs@lakestolocks.org. For questions call (518) 597-9660

Barge Canal Centennial Celebrations Planned For Rochester

We currently travel on the third generation of the Erie Canal, commonly referred to as the “Barge Canal” 2018 celebrates the centennial of the opening of this version of the Canal system. The fact that we travel today on infrastructure designed and built 100 years ago is a great testament to the engineers and builders of the Barge Canal and the foresight of NYS to embark of its construction

The Canal Society of New York State in conjunction with the New York State Canal Corp and in partnership with the Centennial Celebration Committee are hosting two events to mark the centennial opening of the Erie Barge Canal in 2018.

When: Saturday May 5th. Canal Conversation & Symposium

Theatre at Stong Museum of Play Rochester

Join the conversation at this daylong public forum in which presenters discuss canal history and its continued value today and for the future. Registration $40, includes breakfast, coffee breaks and lunch.

Thursday May 10th. Centennial Celebration: Watering of the Erie Barge Canal

East Guard Lock just west of Kendrick Rd.

Witness the re-creation of the first inflow of water into the 20th century Erie Canal as “Teddy Roosevelt” sponsors, and other dignitaries greet the public and ceremoniously commemorate the event using the authentic shovel used 100 years ago on May 10th. 1918. Dignitaries will also unveil a bronze plaque to celebrate the designation of the NYS Canal System as a National Historic Landmark. FREE

Canal by Coach Tour: Following the festivities join Canal Society of New York State President Emeritus Tom Grasso and other experts for a guided tour by motor coach of the remarkable canal sites in eastern Monroe County Registration: $60. Includes lunch, bus, printed guide and more.

History:

On the morning of May 10th. 1918 a group of engineers, contractors, workers and a few prominent citizens gathered on the east side of the Genesee River in Genesee Valley Park to inaugurate a monumental, audacious and revolutionary accomplishment in New York State’s long and storied canal history. Water for the first time was let into the newly completed expansion of the Erie Canal or “Teddy Roosevelts Ditch”. Five days later the new Erie-Barge Canal was opened for through traffic from the Great Lakes to the Hudson River. A new era had begun.

Sponsors: New York State Canal Corporation, Canal Society of New York State, Create a Brand, City of Rochester, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, Bergman Associates, and John & Eve Graham.

To register for either of the events, click here

http://www.newyorkcanals.org             http://www.bargecanal100.com

Middleport Preserving Co.

A large four story building that stood on the northwest side of the canal had a rich history and several different names.  It started as a flour mill which was destroyed in 1859 and came back to life in 1883 as the Ontario Preserving Company.

The property was leased to the company by Buel P. Barnes who stipulated that it could only be used as a canning factory.  Mr. Barnes at that time owned the flour mill on the corner of North Hartland and Sherman Road and wanted to make sure he had no new competition. Managed by Mr. Charles Francis with Mr. Jay S. Vary as superintendent, processor and chemist, the plant was known for packing peas which were shelled every morning by local housewives and picked up by horse and wagon before noon so they could be processed by evening.

As the cost of peas made the product no longer profitable for the plant, it switched to pineapples, naval oranges, strawberries, cherries as well as a large variety of other fruits and vegetables.  The plant had the first acetylene gas units to replace the old kerosene lamps as well as a steam engine to provide additional power and  Middleport’s first sprinkler system for fire protection.

The plant was an active employer of around 500 local residents and several additions had to be made to the building to house the new equipment.  In 1891, the Sprague-Warner Company of Chicago,Illinois purchased the plant and the name was changed to the Batavia Preserving Company.  The Middleport plant continued to preserve fruits while another plant in Batavia handled most of the vegetables.  The plant was again sold in 1913 when the Batavia Preserving Company decided to leave Western New York.

After several more owners who ran it as a canning company, the last name on the building was Longview Farms Inc. which was run by Louis Catalano and R.C Walthew.  After a destructive fire in the 1960’s, the building became a safety hazard and was demolished in 1967.

Information for this article came from a 1966 essay written by Elmer Vary, longtime resident of Middleport

Schenectady County Erie Canal History Events Set

New York State is celebrating the bicentennial of the Erie Canal’s creation this year with a campaign to “Reimagine the Canal.”

A series of conversations focused on economic and environmental sustainability of the historical Mohawk river towns will be held in Schenectady County beginning March 8th.

These events will kick-off with a presentation by some of the region’s leading experts on the Erie Canal, followed by dialogue on how re-imagining the canal and river can help community revitalization and sustainability in the region.

Thurs., March 8, 7 pm, The first speaker will be David Brooks, education director at the Schoharie Crossing Visitors Center. Brooks’s talk “Through the Mire” looks at the environmental factors and impact of constructing the canal. Location: ECOS Headquarters, Niskayuna Community Center, 2682 Aqueduct Rd. The ECOS annual all-member meeting will be held at 5:30 pm to discuss 2018-19 priorities and elect new board members (membership required to vote, but all are welcome).

Wed., March 21, 6 pm, there will be a presentation by Brad Utter, the senior historian and curator for science and technology at the New York State Museum in Albany who curated the museum’s current exhibit, “Enterprising Waters:New York’s Erie Canal.” He will talk about the exhibit and how he put it together, as well as his favorite stories about the canal and those who conceived and built it. Location: McChesney Room, Schenectady County Public Library, 99 Clinton St., Schenectady.

Tues., April 24, 7 pm, Jack Kelly of Ulster County, author of the book Heaven’s Ditch: God, Gold and Murder on the Erie Canal (St. Martin’s Press) will speak. Kelly is a journalist, novelist and historian whose book, according to a New York Times review, “engagingly juxtaposes the challenges confronting the dreamers who envisioned a link between the Atlantic, the Great Lakes and the apocalyptic cauldron brewing upstate…. [as] Mormons and Freemasons, joined with Welsh and Irish laborers recruited from Manhattan’s Five Points, carved the canal from rock and mud, thrusting them into a volatile existence.” Location: Schenectady Community College, 78 Washington Ave, Schenectady.

RSVP is encouraged, but not required for the March events. Tickets for the April 24 event will be available for sale on ECOS’ website in April.

These events are part of the Discover the Mohawk initiative sponsored by the City of Schenectady, Schenectady County Metroplex Authority, and LandArt Studio, the Environmental Clearinghouse.

This post originated from the NY History Blog

 

 

 

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.