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Letter: Build Seneca Chief replica to celebrate canal’s history

Build Seneca Chief replica to celebrate canal’s history

Congratulations to the Buffalo Maritime Center on construction of the canal boat Erie Traveler for Lockport. What a great idea to have such a unique replica built to showcase the work the group has been doing on the Flight of Five Locks. But shouldn’t Buffalo be doing something equally great to celebrate the bicentennial of the start of the Erie Canal itself, the event that made the city great?

To show that the Erie Canal was open for business, Gov. DeWitt Clinton took two casks of freshwater from Lake Erie, and traveled the newly built canal to New York City to pour them into the Atlantic Ocean. That trip, aboard a 60-foot packet canal boat, Seneca Chief, showed that Clinton’s Big Ditch was an amazing feat of human ingenuity that opened the door to Buffalo as the gateway to the west. It made New York the Empire State.

With the amazing Buffalo Maritime Center here in town, and such a historically important event to celebrate, why isn’t Buffalo having a replica Seneca Chief built in this city to re-enact Clinton’s voyage? Our city has embraced development of Canalside, historic mouth of the Erie Canal, and rightly so, but what could add even more to our waterfront is the building of the very boat that took the maiden voyage. What a sight that would be to witness the construction of the vessel as people toured the historic Commercial Slip downtown! After being built, it could continue as an ambassador for Buffalo as well.

Mark McQuestion


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