The Launch of the Erie Canal Boat, Seneca Chief

The replica of the Erie Canal Boat, Seneca Chief, built within the Longshed at Canalside over the course of four years, is off to the next leg of its journey. On Tuesday, May 7 at around 11am, throngs of onlookers gathered to witness the canal boat as it exited the building, as it was towed by a semi-trailer truck with a flatbed. As the semi honked its horn, signaling that the departure of the 73′ long 44 ton vessel was officially underway, the crowds cheered.

The vessel was hauled to the Port of Buffalo, for its launch into the water. From there, it will make its way back to Canalside (Commercial Slip), where it will undergo further construction throughout the summer.

The Buffalo Maritime Center should be congratulated for pulling off this marvelous feat. From building the impressive shed, to constructing the historic replica, to launching the canal boat – on time, and with great fanfare – this herculean project has been a pleasure to witness.

The Seneca Chief will ultimately serve as a floating classroom at the Commercial Slip at Canalside, while The Longshed is transitioned into a new Visitors’ Center in advance of the 2025 Erie Canal Bicentennial Commemoration.

As for its highly anticipated maiden voyage…?

“This volunteer-driven, community boatbuilding project will reach completion in 2025 as it takes center stage during the Erie Canal Bicentennial, embarking on a voyage from Buffalo to the New York Harbor to commemorate Governor DeWitt Clinton’s inaugural journey 200 years prior. Departing on September 24, 2025, and making stops at 28 sites along the way, the boat will arrive in New York City on October 26, 2025, coinciding with the canal’s official opening anniversary.” – Buffalo Maritime Center

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