Lake Champlain Maritime Museum Logo; Click to return to our Home Page.

The Launching of the Lois McClure and Her Inaugural Tour of Lake Champlain - July 3, 2004

WHAT: Launching of the 1862-class canal schooner, Lois McClure
WHERE: Burlington Waterfront Park, Burlington, Vermont
WHEN: Saturday, July 3, 2004, 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. – Followed by the Burlington Independence Day Celebration

DETAILS: Lake Champlain is one of the most historic waterways in North America – both the site of major strategic battles during the American Revolution and a hub of commercial trading between Canada, New York, and Vermont after the Champlain Canal opened in 1823. Upon the opening of the Champlain Canal, sailing canal boats became a major means of commercial transportation on the lake. Two canal schooners, belonging to the 1862-class and having sunk near Burlington Harbor in the late 1800’s, were discovered in the 1980’s and became part of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s archeological studies.

Three years ago the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum began the process of building a reconstruction of an 1862-class canal schooner with the generous support of Mac and Lois McClure. Named in her honor, Lois McClure is the first canal schooner to be built in over a century. Using a combination of historical documents and photographs, archeological data, underwater research, and boat building expertise, Lois McClure is in its final preparations prior to launching into Burlington Harbor on July 3rd, 2004!

The 88-foot long Lois McClure will be launched from the public boat ramp adjacent to the Coast Guard Station on the Burlington Waterfront and then head to Perkins Pier for the Burlington Fireworks Celebration. Lois McClure will remain at Perkins Pier for several weeks; available to the public for dockside visitation when not out on the lake conducting “lake trials” in preparation for the Inaugural Tour of Lake Champlain.

WHAT: Launching Lois McClure begins a new phase of learning from the replica. The Inaugural Lake Tour will reconnect communities around the Champlain Valley to the vibrant commercial era of the 19th century. Lois McClure will visit port towns in New York and Vermont with historical ties to the canal boat era, providing on-board school programs and dockside tours to the public highlighting life aboard a canal boat, schooner operations, boat building techniques and more.

July 4 – August 18, Perkins Pier, Burlington, VT – Trip preparation & public dockside tours
August 21 – 25, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum at Basin Harbor, VT – “Rabble In Arms” Lake Champlain Maritime Museum event & public dockside tours
August 26 – 27, Westport Marina, Westport, NY – public dockside tours
August 28 – 29, Town Dock, Vergennes, VT – Vergennes Day & public dockside tours
September 2 – 5, Town Pier, St. Albans, VT – School programs & public dockside tours
September 6, Tudhopes Sailing Center, Grand Isle, VT – Public dockside tours
September 9 – 13, Spirit of Plattsburgh Dock, Plattsburgh, NY – Battle of Plattsburgh, school programs & public dockside tours
September 16 – 19, Town Pier, Essex, NY – School programs & public dockside tours
September 22 – 23, Lock 12 Marina, Whitehall, NY – Whitehall Canal Conference & public dockside tours
September 25 – 28, Town Pier, Port Henry, NY – School programs & public dockside tours
September 30 – October 3, Teachout’s Wharf, Shoreham, VT – School programs & public dockside tours
October 7 – 10, Westport Marina, Westport, NY – Foliage Festival & public dockside tours
October 12 – 17, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum at Basin Harbor, VT – Public dockside tours
October 19 – October 30, Perkins Pier, Burlington, VT – Public dockside tours through end of season

DETAILS: The Captain and crew of Lois McClure will spend two months navigating the schooner around Lake Champlain, just as was done in the 1800’s. Schoolchildren and visitors alike will have the opportunity to learn what life was like aboard a canal boat, the specific cargos that were transported, how the boat was constructed, as well as how a canal schooner was operated in 1862. In most locations, Lois McClure will be open to the public on the weekends from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and will operate school programs during the week.

In the spring of 2005, Lois McClure will host schools from all over the region for an in-depth look at 19th-century commerce, canal boat life and boat building and sailing. Upon completion of the school year, Lois McClure will embark on her “Grand Journey” – a voyage that will start on Lake Champlain and head down the Hudson River to New York City.