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Historic replica schooner Lois McClure to anchor at Old Erie Canal Heritage Park in Port Byron

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The Canal Society of New York State announced a new permanent exhibit coming to the Old Erie Canal Heritage Park. Starting next spring, visitors can admire the Lois McClure, a full-scale replica of a 19th-century canal schooner, at this historically rich site accessible from the New York State Thruway and State Route 31.


Constructed based on submerged remnants of 1860s canal boats, the Lois McClure was crafted at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and served for two decades as a floating classroom. Its routes spanned from Lake Champlain to New York Harbor and into Western New York. The McClure’s relocation coincides with the upcoming Erie Canal Bicentennial in 2025, furthering the park’s mission to educate visitors on New York’s pivotal waterways.

Craig Williams, President of the Canal Society, expressed gratitude to various partners for facilitating the McClure’s journey to its new home, where it will be showcased beside historic canal structures. The Thruway Authority and the Canal Corporation highlighted the Erie Canal’s economic and historical significance, praising the schooner’s forthcoming role in ongoing education about the canal system’s maritime legacy. The Canal Society, established in 1956, continues to foster public knowledge about the canal through exhibits like the 1853 Erie Lock and the 1894 Erie House, drawing national and international visitors.