July12, 2007

Ship's Log - Lyons


Peter is a long-time member of the Museum who also volunteered extensively during the construction of the Lois. He was a member of the crew when Lois made her historic entrance into Lower Manhattan during the 2005 trip, an occasion he recalls with great pride. For many years, Peter has enjoyed building, repairing, and sailing a variety of boats. While he is a reasonably good hand, new mates reluctantly accept that he is a shameless and unapologetic punster. Peter teaches in an alternative high school in Essex Junction, Vermont. He and his wife, Laura, reside in Monkton and enjoy sailing Lake Champlain aboard their sloop, Evonce.

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Photo by Kerry Batdorf
Sailing Rig Stowed at Lyons Canal Corp Facility

Thursday, July 12
After departing the Cayuga-Senaca Canal, we bore west into the Erie Canal proper. We passed through Locks 25 and 26 and traveled through extensive wildlife management Areas, where we observed nesting osprey. In late afternoon, we made up along the wall at Clyde, a canal town known historically for its production of glass. Although we were not scheduled for visitors, we enjoyed a lovely evening chatting with residents of a nearby neighborhood, including the mayor who presented the crew with commemorative town pins.

Friday, July 13

We departed Clyde bound for Lyons under excellent conditions. The terrain during much of this passage was densely wooded with occasional small homesteads. We encountered few other craft, a fact we found surprising given the excellent weather. At Lyons, we passed through Lock 27, and with support of the canal crew at the Lyons Canal Maintenance Facility, we off-loaded our spars and sails, which will remain ashore until we make our return from Buffalo. Without her rig, Lois is now simply a canal boat. Our initial task completed, we toured a decommissioned steam-powered "dipper dredge", used for decades in maintaining the canal. This massive rusting steel structure, complete with huge gears, vast boilers, and complex steam engines, vividly called to mind the might of early 20th Century industrial power. Apparently, efforts are underway to protect this unique relic.

Photo by Kerry Batdorf
Peppermint Oil Shipping Crate

We returned to Lyons where we made up along the town park. Our mission was to join the annual Lyons "Peppermint Days", a town festival in honor of Lyons' former role as a producer of fine peppermint oil extracts. It is challenging to describe the extremely positive reception we were afforded at Lyons. Throughout our stay we were met at every turn with excitement, warmth and generosity. The Lyons Fire Department literally opened its doors to us, so that we had the comfort of its facilities. Mayor Corrine Keisle was attentive to a fault, offering a welcoming dinner, and later, a reception and formal presentation in our honor, complete with a sampling of New York wines. No trip to Lyons would be complete without a tour of the historic Hotchkiss Prize Medal Essential Oils building, a tiny facility where peppermint and other essential oils were processed and distributed world- wide, at one time via the canal. Many thanks to Jack McCranels who so graciously donated an original Hotchkiss peppermint oil shipping crate for our cargo hold display.

Saturday, July 14
Our Saturday work included welcoming hundreds of Lyons residents aboard, and, as always, we learned at least as much about local canal history from them as we were able to offer from our perspective. Our somewhat rainy Saturday evening was not at all dampened by the excellent Lyons fireworks display.

Photo by Kerry Batdorf>
Great Embankment

Sunday July 15
We struck the shore-side exhibits and made way for Pittsford, passing through Locks 27-30. As we made our passage, we found the canal looking unusually "man made" with the Great Embankment shore line constructed of concrete readily apparent. This Great Embankment raises the canal well above the surrounding lands, streets and houses. We also encountered more pleasure craft, more densely populated settlements, parks, and other indications of the suburbs of Rochester.

Generosity Abounds!

Local Area Sponsors

Lyons Civic Club for the reception following the Peppermint Days Parade.

Lyons Fire Department for sharing their shower and bath facilities.

Peppermint Days Committee for their part in hosting our visit.

Jack McCranel for the Hotchkiss 'First Prize medal' Peppermint Oil Shipping Crate

Phone: 802-475-2022