A view of the Lois McClure from across the canal. The design of this boat is based on the sunken canal schooner General Butler. It is an exact replica, built by the Lake Champlain Transportation Company in Burlington, Vermont in 2004. The boat measures 88 feet in length and it has a beam of 14-1/2 feet.

Crew-member Ellen Gurwitz talks about the living quarters on the boat with visitor Taylor Roeck. She explained that families who owned these boats lived on them year-long in a cramped space in the rear of the boat. Thus, laundry was hung out to dry on lines strung between the masts.

The tugboat, the C.R. Churchill, nestles alongside the Lois McClure. Photographs by Walter Horylev.

More than 2,000 tour replica schooner

Lois McClure, the 88-foot replica of an 1862 schooner arrived on Friday, August 3 in Brockport and left August 6 after close to 2,300 visitors toured the schooner. It left Brockport on its next stop on the "Grand Canal Journey." Before leaving, the captain and crew accepted some Brockport mementos and a bouquet of sunflowers, the Village of Brockport's official flower.

"The Lois McClure lived up to more than its hype," said Hanny Heyen, chair of the Lois McClure Committee. "It was a wonderful historic event that will leave a lasting impression for years to come."

William Andrews, Village of Brockport's historian emeritus, said, "The visit provided an occasion to manifest Brockport's community spirit through the involvement of so many organizations, volunteers and other participants."

The on-shore activities such as story-telling; bicycle tours on former 1860s village roads; musical entertainment; merchants, artists and authors selling their wares and historical presentations and exhibits focused on mid-19th century Erie Canal life. Visitors also toured the Emily L. Knapp Musuem and Library of Local History, the three-year-old Welcome Center and participated in activities at the Sweden Senior Center, as well as the Western Monroe Historical Society's "Morgan Manning Memories." The Greater Brockport Development Corporation held a wine-and-cheese gala, and the Brockport Museum sponsored the chicken barbecue on Sunday night.

Mayor Wexler summed up the successful weekend by stating, "We felt honored to be chosen as the port of call for the Lois McClure's longest visit on the Erie Canal. It gave us the opportunity to showcase our historic village, its people and their contributions." Submitted material.

© August 12, 2007
Westside News Inc.