Trailheads: Nautical Edition

First, a couple of quick programming notes. Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum and Washington Crossing Historic Park have events going on this weekend. Fort Pitt Museum and the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania will be open on Monday for Presidents Day.

Many thanks to Linda Bolla and Jennifer Rogers of the Erie Maritime Museum for their contributions to this post.

With the bicentennial of the Battle of Lake Erie coming up in September, Erie Maritime Museum and Flagship Niagara are happily looking forward to a big year. Happily, because they haven’t had time to get thoroughly exhausted yet, but I know they’re up to the challenge. At a press conference on Feb. 13, staff provided an update on plans for Tall Ships Erie 2013. This gathering of sailing vessels from all over the country promises to be even bigger than Tall Ships Erie 2010 (which was covered in a guest post here). Highmark is the title sponsor for the event, with additional partners signed on as sponsors for visiting ships. Mark your calendars for Sept. 5-8 and watch this space for more details. (If you’re interested in being a part of this major undertaking, volunteers are needed; click here for info.)

New volunteers about to tour the "winterized" Niagara (photo by John Baker)
If you’ve ever wanted to sign on for one of Niagara’s live aboard sailing school programs but couldn’t quite swing the tuition, you may be in luck. The Flagship Niagara League has just announced a three-year scholarship program funded by a generous bequest from Captain Arthur M. “Skipper” Kimberly, who passed away in 2011. Each applicant must complete appropriate paperwork and submit an essay on why he or she should receive a scholarship; awards will be made on the quality of the essay (assuming all other requirements are met). For the particulars, go here.

Photo of reproduction canal boat Queen of the West; the original was one of the first to reach Erie on the new canal
(photographed for Trailheads by Linda Bolla)
In addition to preparing for the bicentennial, the Museum is focusing attention on slightly more recent history with an exhibit on the Erie-Extension Canal, which opened in 1844. The Erie-Extension, part of Pennsylvania’s canal system but privately owned by the time it was completed, connected Lake Erie with Pittsburgh and commerce to the east and west. The canal basin at Erie helped to bring business to the city and spurred development of its harbor. The exhibit draws heavily from a private collection donated to the museum by attorney Elizabeth Malc-Dwyer, with additional items from the Hazel Kibler Memorial Museum’s collection and Erie Maritime Museum.

Malc-Dwyer’s interest in the Erie-Extension Canal was ignited when she discovered that the building in which her law office was located was on the bed of the old canal, at the site of the Sixth Street bridge. The exhibit, “The Erie-Extension Canal: Gateway to the Great Lakes,” will be on view through June and is included in regular Museum admission.

Detail of Bird's Eye View Map of Erie, 1870, showing Sixth Street Bridge (left)
(photographed for Trailheads by Linda Bolla)
Model of Sixth St. Bridge by William Miller
photo by John Baker


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