September 8, 2005 Lois McClure
Ship's Log
 
 

CREW MEMBER

Art Cohn
Art Cohn is the Executive Director of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. He is a professional diver and has coordinated and participated in Lake Champlain's archaeological projects for the past twenty years. Cohn is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology at both the University of Vermont and Texas A&M University. He serves aboard Lois McClure as a tugboat operator and able- bodied crew member.


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GREETINGS FROM THE CREW!

Troy, New York
Art Cohn

After I took some time away for our diving project at Valcour Island, the Valcour Bay Research Project, I rejoined the schooner at Waterford, New York. We had hoped to dry dock and re-paint the schooner’s bottom, but Hurricane Katrina put a damper on those plans; we needed a dry window for our bottom paint to dry. The change of plan, however, did provide our crew with the opportunity to explore historic Waterford and its stone “flight of three locks”, the Visitors Center, and walk along a section of the old Champlain Canal.

From Waterford, we headed south through the Federal Lock, the last lock before tidewater on the Hudson, to the City of Troy. The Troy waterfront was a major collecting point for canal boats going to or from the Champlain Canal and Troy has many historic connections to our story. In September 1823, Gleaner of St. Albans was the first vessel to transit the newly completed Champlain Canal. The citizens of Troy were the first community to greet the northern travelers with parades, speeches and salutes of cannons. Later, Troy and its Burden Iron Works became one of the leading industrial centers in the country with much of the iron being supplied from Lake Champlain and most of it transported by canal boat.

In addition, one of our Lake Champlain shipwrecks was carrying a load of kitchen woodstoves, iron kettles and teapots. During our study, we recovered two kettles and a teapot from the canal boat and placed them in conservation. As the rust and debris came off these objects, the name “Noyes & Hutton, Troy, New York” appeared. Clearly, cargos were going both ways on the Champlain Canal.

Troy is a fascinating place with rich industrial architectural legacy. I was able to visit the Burden Iron Works Museum housed in the offices of that once world-famous enterprise. This evolving museum has objects from Troy’s industrial past including a model of the world’s largest waterwheel that once powered the Burden works, several Troy-produced Meneely bells and examples of a number of woodstoves produced by Troy manufacturers.

Our hosts in Troy were RiverSpark, a multi- ccommunity organization raising awareness of the river and the region's history. During our stay we docked at two venues, Troy’s Riverfront Park and the Troy Town Dock. On Saturday we found ourselves the backdrop to Troy’s very successful Farmers Market. In the midst of fresh produce and breads from Crown Point Bakery we had over 500 people come aboard the schooner. That evening, the folks from RiverSpark hosted a wonderful reception aboard the schooner and reaffirmed that many groups are working hard to preserve and enhance the Hudson River's history.

The next morning our crew gathered around Captain Roger for our briefing. Then down the river we traveled with our tugboat C.L. Churchill on the hip of Lois McClure for the short trip to Albany, the capital of New York State.


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