In the mid 1980’s a small group of Visionaries came upon an overgrown, rubbish-strewn parcel of land along the old Erie Canal at Chittenango Landing. With the help of an 1895 map, a photo and archaeology surveys, they learned of the site’s history and the possibility for preservation, restoration and reconstruction.
These visionaries looked back over 100 years and could see canal cargo boats being built on land and others being repaired within the dry docks. They envisioned boat builders shaping the wood timbers, they could hear the blacksmith’s hammer striking the anvil and the boarding house cook calling the men to the noon day meal. Young mule drivers, called hoggees could be seen tending to the needs of the tired animals and then running into the store-warehouse for penny candy. View
As the founders stood on the abandoned site, they also foresaw the land cleared, the dry docks restored and the buildings constructed just as they had been in the 19th century – filled once again with bustling activity.
The founders understood the importance of Chittenango Landing as it related to the Erie Canal. They understood the major role the Erie Canal had in defining the shape and future of much of the United States as we know it today. They knew the importance of passing this information onto future generations, not by books alone, but by seeing, touching and experiencing life as our ancestors once did.
Over the years, those visionaries of the Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum worked through sweat, blood, and even tears to create this living museum. It was their goal then, as it is our goal today, to demonstrate the importance of the Erie Canal and especially the Chittenango Landing boat yard and dry docks, to future generations. View Chittenango Landing Historic Photograph Collection and Robert E. Hager Canal Boat Diagrams at New York Heritage Digital Collections