BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) It may be the first week of winter, but construction crews are making noticeable progress on a new ‘longshed’ not far from the battleships and submarine on the shore of the Buffalo River at Canalside.
“It’s about a 5,000 square foot building pretty much a replica of what was here in the early 1820’s,” said Steve Ranalli, president of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation. “It’s built out of a timber framed construction. We’re enclosing it right now and this’ll be home for the Buffalo Maritime Center to build their packet boat for the next couple years.”
When it opens in July, the Buffalo Martime Center will begin moving in the supplies, and then starting by next fall, the public will be able to watch as volunteers and craftsmen begin constructing a 70 foot boat like this inside.
“It’s a replica of the 1825 packet boat known as the Seneca Chief, and that was the boat that was built here in Buffalo and it carried Governor DeWitt Clinton down the Erie Canal to New York City carrying a bucket of water where they married, or ‘wedded’ the waters back in the day,” said Ranalli.
This is a $5 million New York State project which will be used for years leading up to 2025, the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Erie Canal.
“What’s really important is to continue to build the history down here,” said Ranalli. “We love all the programming, we love the concerts, and all the health and wellness and family festivals and activities we do, but with each step we want to continue to build history. So It’s important to put the building back in its location similar to what was here. We sort of bookend the Commercial Slip which is going to give the Commercial Slip a much more authentic feeling to what it was like back in the day.”