Community Connections: Utica

Utica held many surprises for us.  The best of these appeared with in 10 minutes of closing on Sunday, our final open day here.  One of my favorite parts of volunteering on Lois is learning visitor’s stories – how they are connected to the history of vessels like Lois, or how they or their families are connected to the waterways we travel on.

Ron Chamberlin and family with Art Cohn and the blocks
Ron Chamberlin and family with Art Cohn and the blocks (photo: Kerry Batdorf)

One particular visitor, Ron Chamberlin from Oriskany, was talking to Blake and I, and mentioned that he had an old block and tackle set at home.  “It would look great on this boat.  Do you think you could use it?”  After some conferencing with Art, he went home and shortly returned lugging a huge metal barrel that was overflowing with yards of rope and two massive blocks.  Ron related that the last time he had seen the blocks used was when he saw his father pull out a 1950s automobile from the woods and that they held fond memories for him.

It is always exciting to be able to incorporate things that have been shared with us into our presentation to visitors, whether it be physical items, such as these blocks, or stories and knowledge brought by people with first hand experience .  Traveling along the canal brings a lot of these things to the surface and we are truly grateful to have them shared with us.

Christina Koller
A member of Benjamin Whitcomb’s Independent Corps of Rangers since age 8, this is Christina’s second year as a volunteer aboard the Lois.  She will be attending Vasser College as a freshman this fall.