Reflecting on the past

We are at our berth at the Hudson Crossing Park, Schuylerville and it is great to be back on the canal. It’s different this time as we know the lock keepers and people in all the communities we have been thus far. That will change when we head west out the Erie where we are stopping mostly in communities we haven’t visited before.

I’ve begun re-reading Captain Theodore Bartley’s journals, the most complete picture of life on a canal boat we have encountered. This year I have begun during the 1876 navigation season and find almost each entry providing a gem of knowledge about his life, travels and family. It’s May, 1877 and Captain Bartley has just left Larabee’s Point after unloading the coal he brought up from Newburgh. While there, twelve year old George fell overboard and had to be rescued. They leave Shoreham in tow of the tugboat Reed to St. Johns, Quebec where Captain Bartley has developed relationships with sawmills to haul their lumber to New York City.

The opportunity to travel these same waterways and visit the same communities with Captain Bartley’s 140-years ago perspective has been one of the most extraordinary aspects of this remarkable experience.

Art Cohn
Executive Director