In mid-October, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s schooner “Lois McClure” returns to the lake, concluding a four-month journey to ports in Canada, on the Great Lakes, the Erie Canal, and the Lake Champlain Basin. A welcome home reception will take place at Vergennes Falls Park on Friday, Oct. 12, from 3-4 pm. Public boarding of the “Lois McClure” will follow from 4-6 pm on Friday and on Saturday and Sunday, 10 am-5 pm. The Friday reception will feature dignitaries from Vermont, New York, and Canada who were instrumental in making the tour possible. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and Aaron Annable, consul for public affairs of the Consul General of Canada in New England, will speak. Historic exhibitions, music by the Lake Champlain Brass Quintet, and refreshments from local companies will round out this festive occasion.
“The Bicentennial of the War of 1812 provided us with an opportunity to explore this important chapter in the history of our region, and the world,” explained Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM) co-founder Art Cohn, who was at the wheel of the schooner’s companion tugboat “C. L. Churchill” during the journey. “Vergennes, like many of the ports on this tour, played a significant role during the War of 1812. In recent years, a tangible legacy of shipwrecks from this conflict has been discovered at the bottom of these lakes and waterways, explored and documented by Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and others. These shipwrecks and related sites on land form a powerful connection to this little-known war, which concluded North American boundary disputes and ushered in two centuries of peaceful alliance between the United States, Britain, and Canada.”
LCMM’s replica canal schooner “Lois McClure” will be anchored overlooking the place where Macdonough’s fleet was built and launched. Maritime artist Ernie Haas worked with LCMM archaeologists to create a painting that depicts the shipbuilding activity as it might have appeared in the spring of 1812. The painting will be on view during the weekend.