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(Buffalo Maritime Center press release and photos)
(Buffalo Maritime Center press release and photos)

Inauguration of Erie Canal boat 'Seneca Chief' celebrates new era for Buffalo maritime history


Tue, May 21st 2024 12:55 pm

Unveiling of historic vessel marks culmination of years of dedication & craftsmanship

Buffalo Maritime Center Press Release and Photos

The Buffalo Maritime Center is proud to announce the official Inauguration of the Erie Canal boat “Seneca Chief,” a significant milestone marking the culmination of years of dedication, craftsmanship, and completion of the boat.

Join us at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 25, at the Commercial Slip at Canalside (44 Prime St., Buffalo), as we celebrate the unveiling of this historic vessel and usher in a new era for Buffalo's maritime heritage.

The inauguration event will be a free, family-friendly celebration featuring music by the Greater Buffalo Firefighters Pipe and Drum Band, alongside esteemed guests and representatives from local and state officials, including Indigenous scholar Joe Stahlman; Bonnie Kane Lockwood, Western New York director representing Gov. Kathy Hochul; and Brian Stratton, director of the New York State Canal Corp., among others.

The Erie Canal boat “Seneca Chief” holds significant historical importance as the first boat to open the Erie Canal nearly 200 years ago. Constructed over the course of four years inside the Longshed at Canalside, this remarkable boatbuilding endeavor involved hundreds of dedicated volunteers and students, each playing a vital role in its restoration.

"This project marks just the beginning of our efforts to expand the Erie Canal narrative and foster connections across our community throughout the state as we approach commemorating the bicentennial in 2025," said Brian Trzeciak, executive director at the Buffalo Maritime Center.

(Buffalo Maritime Center press release and photos)


Click here for facts and resources about the project, including a list of speakers at the May 25 inauguration. For a list of upcoming appearances and sea trials, visit the Erie Canal boat “Seneca Chief” page of the BMC website. For an overview of the bicentennial voyage in 2025, including a timeline and itinerary of 28 stops across New York state, click here.

In partnership with the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, the New York State Canal Corp., and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp., the Buffalo Maritime Center extends its gratitude to the David & Joan Rogers Family Foundation for its generous support of the Erie Canal boat “Seneca Chief” community boatbuilding project.

More on the Buffalo Maritime Center

The Buffalo Maritime Center inspires meaningful connections and life lessons through community boatbuilding, preserving maritime culture, and exploring the waterways of Western New York. Launched in 2010 – previously known as the Center for Watercraft Studies at Buffalo State College – the nonprofit organization is the center point for reviving the maritime culture that earned Buffalo its identity as the “Queen City of the Great Lakes.” Visit BuffaloMaritimeCenter.org to learn more about BMC’s educational programs, boatbuilding projects, and the organization's dedication to building community. For what’s new and next at the BMC, connect on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, and join the mailing list.

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