Work is well underway towards constructing a 4,000-square-foot, year-round facility known as the “Longshed”, which will one day house a replica 1825 packet boat (as it is constructed). The building of the packet boat – a likeness of the one once used by Gov. DeWitt Clinton that took part in a “Wedding of the Waters” ceremony, coincides with the Bicentennial of the Erie Canal.
The project is that of the Buffalo Maritime Center (BMC), which has received funding from Governor Cuomo, Private donors and BMC supporters – David and Joan Rogers, and Assemblymember Sean Ryan. Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, a subsidiary of Empire State Development, and the Buffalo Maritime Center, are working together towards fulfilling the project’s destiny.
The Longshed would appear as a wooden barn structure, emulating what was there when the Erie Canal was being built (i.e., evoking the former Newman & Scovill Groceries and Ship Chandlers store that was once there).
Once the longshed is constructed, the building of the replica packet boat will commence. At that time, the building of the vessel will become a public attraction unto itself. Currently, the designated location at the Commercial Slip Boardwalk, alongside the Erie Canal terminus, is fenced off accordingly.
After the project is complete, the 73′ packet boat will be berthed in the Commercial Slip where it will become an interactive museum of sorts, open to the public for an array of events and activities.