House heritage displays in Canalside visitors center
A recent News article featured the City of Lockport’s continued celebration of its Erie Canal heritage, most recently with plans for a replica of a canal boat. I commend Lockport’s leaders, but I am consistently perplexed by Buffalo’s and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp.’s failure to recognize the canal’s importance to the heritage of Buffalo.
Yes, Lockport has real locks, not an ersatz canal, but it was Buffalo that was the western terminus of the canal that changed America. Canalside should have a brick-and-mortar Buffalo Erie Canal Visitors Center that could house its own canal packet boat, displays featuring the workers who built the canal, working models of the canal and its locks, names of famous and ordinary folks who embarked on their westward migration via the canal, and other canal-oriented elements.
Lighter, quicker, cheaper has worked admirably for many Canalside elements, but appropriate recognition of Buffalo’s Erie Canal heritage calls for an Ellis Island-type, brick-and-mortar visitors center.
Angelo F. Coniglio