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Wayne Post
  • The Schooner Lois McClure delayed due to flooding

  • The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum's schooner Lois McClure scheduled to return to the Port of Palmyra on Tuesday, July 2 has been postponed indefinitely.

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  • The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum's schooner Lois McClure scheduled to return to the Port of Palmyra on Tuesday, July 2 has been postponed indefinitely. Area residents were set to view the historic boat as it continues its tour commemorating the War of 1812 Bicentennial.     
    Due to severe flooding in Central New York and eastern section with no end in sight, the water in the canal is too high for the schooner to safely navigate through the Erie Canal. The schooner is still in Schenectady, stuck with many other boats waiting to get into the Erie Canal. Historic Palmyra Executive Director Bonnie Hays said she is not confident that they will be able to make a stop in Palmyra this trip.
    This year’s thematic and interpretive message is “1813: The Shipwrights’ War, and Other Stories.”
    “The shipbuilding races and naval battles of 1813 helped to determine the outcome of the war of 1812, and left a legacy of shipwrecks beneath the waters of the great lakes, st. lawrence river, and lake champlain,” Art Kohn, special project director, explained. “Our dynamic outreach program explores history where it happened, on the anniversary of the cross-border war that ushered in 200 years of peace.”
    Many ports on the tour played significant roles during the War of 1812. In recent years, a tangible legacy of shipwrecks from the War of 1812 has been discovered at the bottom of the lakes and waterways where naval history was made. These shipwrecks, and related sites on land form a powerful connection to the little-known war, which closed the final chapter in North American boundary disputes and ushered in two centuries of peaceful alliance between the United States, Britain, and Canada.
    Tuesday evening, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Alling Coverlet Museum, 122 William St. in Palmyra, Kohn and some of the Lois McClure crew will present a program based on this year’s themes, as well as the Erie Canal. All are welcome to this free Historic Palmyra community event. Call 597-6981 for details.
    The 2013 journey began in June on the Champlain Canal. It continued west across the Erie Canal to Buffalo where the 200th anniversary of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s victory at the Battle of Lake Erie — an event of special interest to Senior Captain Roger Taylor, a descendant of the Commodore — was commemorated. The schooner then entered Lake Ontario via the Oswego Canal, and will travel down the St. Lawrence and Richelieu, returning to Lake Champlain in October.
    Lois McClure was built by LCMM shipwrights and volunteers on the Burlington waterfront, based on two shipwrecks of 1862-class canal schooners discovered in Lake Champlain. Since 2004, Lois McClure has cruised Lake Champlain, the Hudson and St. Lawrence Rivers, and the Erie Canal System, and has visited over 115 communities and welcomed aboard more than 150,000 visitors.  Many of the historic canals on which the schooner travels were constructed not long after the War of 1812, and were viewed in part as “homeland security” if it became necessary to transport troops or military supplies. Happily, however, the canals, and the canal boats on them, have served the network of shared trade, commerce and recreation enjoyed by Canadians and Americans.
    Page 2 of 2 - LCMM’s authentic replica 1862 canal schooner Lois McClure has no means of propulsion other than sail, so 1964 tugboat C. L. Churchill serves as power. As with all wooden vessels, constant care and maintenance is needed to ensure safe and effective operation.
    Free admission is offered throughout the tour; thanks to the generous support of sponsors including the New York State Canal Corporation, State of Vermont, National Park Service, Lake Champlain Basin Program, the farm families of Cabot Creamery, and Lake Champlain Transportation. Local hosts and supporters include Historic Palmyra’s Five Museums, Historic Palmyra’s Pirates of the Erie Canal Weekend slated for Aug. 9 and 10 , and the village of Palmyra.  
    Lake Champlain Maritime Museum is located on the shore of Lake Champlain. For more information, visit www.lcmm.org.
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