Schooner Lois McClure 2014 Tour
1814: From War to Peace
in port at Mechanicville, August 1st
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum's schooner Lois McClure will be in port at Mechanicville at the Town Dock on August 1st, and will be open to the public from 10 AM to 3 PM during her tour commemorating the War of 1812 Bicentennial. This year’s thematic and interpretive message is 1814: From War to Peace. “The shipbuilding races and naval battles of 1814 helped to determine the outcome of the War of 1812, and left a legacy of shipwrecks beneath the waters of the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River, and Lake Champlain,” explains Art Cohn, Special Project Director. “Our dynamic outreach program explores history where it happened, on the anniversary of the cross-border war that ushered in 200 years of peace. We will be sharing new information about the crucial role of the New York City shipwrights who came to Lake Champlain to build the fleet that Commodore Macdonough took into battle.”
Visitors can board the schooner free of charge to explore the 88-foot long boat “from stem to stern.”Many ports on the tour played significant roles during the War of 1812. In recent years, a tangible legacy of shipwrecks from the War of 1812 has been discovered at the bottom of the lakes and waterways where naval history was made. These shipwrecks, and related sites on land form a powerful connection to the little-known war, which closed the final chapter in North American boundary disputes and ushered in two centuries of peaceful alliance between the United States, Britain, and Canada. The schooner will carry copies of a newly released book, Coffins of the Brave: Lake Shipwrecks from the War of 1812, which presents more than a dozen underwater studies of 1812 warships.
In addition to concluding the War of 1812 trilogy, the 2014 program will carry information about environmental stewardship and the incredible historic canal system that is still operational today.
The 2014 journey begins in June on Lake Champlain, and continues south through the Champlain Canal and the Hudson River to New York City where the NYC shipwrights will be acknowledged. The schooner returns to Lake Champlain for the 200th anniversary of the critical Battle of Plattsburgh in September, then travels down the Chambly Canal in Quebec to connect Canadians with our shared heritage before returning to Lake Champlain in the fall.
Lois McClure was built by LCMM shipwrights and volunteers on the Burlington waterfront, based on two shipwrecks of 1862-class canal schooners discovered in Lake Champlain. Since 2004, Lois McClure has cruised Lake Champlain, the Hudson and St. Lawrence Rivers, and the Erie Canal System, and has visited over 200 communities and welcomed aboard more than 200,000 visitors. Many of the historic canals on which the schooner travels were constructed not long after the War of 1812, and were viewed in part as “homeland security” if it became necessary to transport troops or military supplies. Happily, the canals and the canal boats on them have instead served the network of shared trade, commerce and recreation enjoyed by Canadians and Americans.
LCMM’s authentic replica 1862 canal schooner Lois McClure has no means of propulsion other than sail, so 1964 tugboat C. L. Churchill serves as power. This season LCMM celebrates the tenth year of schooner operations, and Churchill’s 50th birthday.
Free admission is offered throughout the tour thanks to the generous support of sponsors including the New York State Canal Corporation, State of Vermont, National Park Service, Lake Champlain Basin Program, I Love NY, Parcs Canada, the farm families of Cabot Creamery, and Lake Champlain Transportation.