LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. — A tugboat visit and presentation of a watercolor print are scheduled Friday evening, Sept. 2, at Rotary Park.
The city of Little Falls will welcome Arthur Cohn, director of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and co-founder of a Vermont history museum, at 5 p.m. at Rotary Park. Cohn will arrive on the C.L. Churchill tugboat, named ‘Tug of the Year’ in 2014 by the Waterford Tugboat Roundup. During his visit, he will present to the city a print of an 1825 watercolor of the Erie Canal as it passed through Little Falls. Mayor Mark Blask will be on hand to accept the print, which will hang in City Hall for all to view.
The Erie Canal opened in 1825 and during that first week in November, John Henry Hopkins, a 32-year old newly ordained clergyman from Pittsburgh, began a voyage by canal boat from Buffalo to Albany headed for Manhattan to attend a religious conference. It was on this trip that he created 37 watercolor and pencil sketches of canal scenes. One of these scenes was of the often-painted canal section in Little Falls.
Cohn came across the Hopkins collection last year while doing research at the Clements Library at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Duncan Hay, historian for the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor said, “We don’t have a lot of images of the very first version of the Erie Canal. Finding drawings tucked away in a manuscript collection in another part of the country is pretty exciting.”
This voyage that Cohn is making aboard the C.L. Churchill is aimed at bringing attention to next year’s 200th anniversary of the beginning of construction of the Erie Canal, with events planned each year through 2025.
Little Falls’ Lock 17 represented one of the greatest engineering challenges with its 40-foot drop. Both Lock 17 and City Hall, where the artwork will be displayed, celebrate their 100th anniversary this year.